The Project of Political Epistemology: Its Grounds and Method

  • Alireza Shomali


In order to provide a theoretical justification for initiating the project of political epistemology, I begin this chapter with a critique of the commonsensical and traditional ontology of truth. According to the traditional ontology consciousness and reality are two separate “things.” Thus, truth as the representation of independent reality transcends human beings’ sociopolitical involvements. Empiricists and rationalists have historically promoted the traditional ontology of truth and ignored the constitutive role of the social and political involvement of the subject/ knower with reality and in the processes of meaning making and truth formation. In the first section of this chapter, I explore G. W. F. Hegel’s immanent critique of empiricism and rationalism. Against empiricism, Hegel contends that any sensory experience is already for-us; that is, our point of view, interests, projects, sociopolitical positions, and so forth are constitutive of it. Contrary to rationalism, Hegel argues that we cannot abstract reason or logic from nature and objective reality. Reason is concrete, and rationality is intersubjective, social, and interactive.


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© Alireza Shomali 2010

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  • Alireza Shomali

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