The way of life of Mr. Nowhere: examining Harding’s “Objectivity and Diversity”
In the following critique of Sandra Harding’s 2015 book Objectivity and Diversity I will raise three sets of interrelated issues. One: that Harding’s arguments for re-conceptualizing the term ‘objectivity’ may not be persuasive to those who continue to cling to the ‘view from nowhere’ understanding of the term. Two: that because of this entrenchment of the view from nowhere, Harding’s rhetorical strategy of referring to traditional knowledge as ‘science’ may result in further marginalization of already marginalized groups. And Three: that not all cases of multiple and conflicted selves are necessarily cases of increased access to knowledge and increased empowerment. Thus, while I am deeply sympathetic to the arguments being made in Harding’s book, I think this new scientific self that Harding proposes at the end of her book needs to be developed and clarified further.
KeywordsSocial epistemology Indigenous knowledge Traditional knowledge Feminist epistemology Sandra Harding Ian Hacking Objectivity Human looping
An early version of this paper was circulated and discussed at a reading group on Harding’s book I participated in in the Winter of 2016 at the University of British Columbia. I am indebted to my fellow participants—Alan Richardson, Michelle Pham, Bianca Crewe and Andrea Javor—for their comments on that early draft.
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