Sunday, March 28, 2010
While I consider this objection as philosophical, nothing indicates that the problem of contextualization is strictly limited to philosophy. To clarify, why does philosophy lay any claims to this feminist re-imagining of epistemology? It seems that other disciplines, like psychology, have addressed these claims already, which would suggest that feminist theory and any contributions did not come from the “ivory tower” of philosopher. This would substantiate general claims that philosophy may have more use in the analysis of other criticisms, as the feminist influence is not specific to philosophy, but applying a critical attitude, one can comprehend the importance of the contribution as they relate to political influences and discursive power. Another question raised against Alcoff might read “how does this not lead to relativism?” While the charge is brought, Alcoff seeks to contextualize, not offer a form of relativism where truths are merely able to be substituted for one another without consequence. If relativism isn’t the goal, it does raises yet another question: what is the overall end to this suggestion? I believe that Alcoff would purport that the adding of descriptive genealogies of old philosophers and affirmative action style submissions to the overall discourse would work to disarm the privileges that certain discourse have due to an unreflective analysis of such discourses. Her solution mirrors Foucault’s solution to power relocation in a sense that by presenting alternate views, the power that an unjust discourse has will be weakened in the face of disputing claims. Her Foucault-ian solution also substantiates her inclusion of Dewey in the article, who would also call for more data and perspectives to be allowed into the “arena” (as he favors democratic intentions). Alcoff would acknowledge the privilege that epistemology seems to yield among other disciplines, at the expense that understanding why it has privilege and how analyzing it and previous engagers in its practice would broad the horizon of criticism, which, if contextual, would lead to a higher form of self-criticism of the philosophical discipline.