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Shifting Ground: Knowledge and Reality, Transgression and Trustworthiness (Studies in Feminist Philosophy)by Naomi Scheman
Synopses & Reviews
This volume of essays by Naomi Scheman brings together her views on epistemic and socio-political issues, views that draw on a critical reading of Wittgenstein as well as on liberatory movements and theories, all in the service of a fundamental reorientation of epistemology. For some theorists, epistemology is an essentially foundationalist and hence discredited enterprise; for others-particularly analytic epistemologists--it remains rigorously segregated from political concerns. Scheman makes a compelling case for the necessity of thinking epistemologically in fundamentally altered ways. Arguing that it is an illusion of privilege to think that we can do without usable articulations of concepts such as truth, reality, and objectivity, she maintains (as in the title of one of her essays) that epistemology needs to be "resuscitated" as an explicitly political endeavor, with trustworthiness at its heart.
While each essay contributes to a specific conversation, taken together they argue for addressing theoretical questions as they arise concretely. Truth, reality, objectivity, and other concepts that problematically rest on shifting ground are more than philosophical toys, and the ground-shifting these essays enact is a move away from abstruse theorizing-analytic and post-structuralist alike. Following Wittgenstein's injunctions to just look, to attend to the "rough ground" of everyday practices, Scheman argues for finding philosophical insight in such acts of attention and in the difficulties that beset them. These essays are an attempt to grasp something in particular, to get a handle on a set of problems, and collectively they represent a fresh model of passionate philosophical engagement.
About the Author
Naomi Scheman received her BA from Barnard College and her PhD from Harvard University. She has been teaching since 1979 at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Professor of Philosophy and of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and she is a guest researcher at the Umeå Centre for Gender Studies in Sweden. A collection of her essays was published in 1993 by Routledge as Engenderings: Constructions of Knowledge, Authority, and Privilege, and she is co-editor, with Peg O'Connor, of Feminist Interpretations of Wittgenstein.
Table of Contents
Part I: Knowledge
1: Non-Negotiable Demands: Metaphysics, Politics, and the Discourse of Needs
2: Feminist Epistemology
3: On Waking Up One Morning and Discovering that We Are Them
4: Terminal Moraine
Part II: Reality
5: Against Physicalism
6: Feeling Our Way toward Moral Objectivity
7: Queering the Center by Centering the Queer: Reflections on Transsexuals and Secular Jews
Part III: Transgression and Trustworthiness
8: Forms of Life: Mapping the Rough Ground
9: The Trustworthiness of Research: The Paradigm of Community-Based Research, co-authored with Catherine Jordan and Susan Gust
10: Narrative, Complexity, and Context: Autonomy as an Epistemic Value
11: Epistemology Resuscitated: Objectivity as Trustworthiness
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