Experience, Knowledge, and Responsibility

  • Lorraine Code


Two central, interconnected tasks that face feminist philosophers working in theory of knowledge are that of finding appropriate ways of knowing women’s experiences and the structures that shape them; and that of developing theoretical accounts of knowledge which retain continuity with those experiences. To perform the first task adequately, it is necessary, among other things, to break out of stereotyped perceptions of woman’s ‘nature’ which work, persistently, to constrain possibilities of knowing well. In this connection, I shall argue that ways of knowing can be judged ‘appropriate’ partly on the basis of responsibility manifested by cognitive agents in making knowledge claims, and in acting upon assumptions that they know. Adequate performance of the second task requires a shift in perspective about the purpose of ‘the epistemological project’. It involves moving away from theoretical positions which advocate a purity in knowledge that would leave experience behind in a search for an epistemic ideal of unrealisable clarity.


Moral Judgement Moral Theory Intellectual Virtue Feminist Philosopher Epistemic Responsibility 
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© Morwenna Griffiths and Margaret Whitford 1988

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  • Lorraine Code

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