Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_95


The term “epistemology” originated to designate a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature, sources, and limits of knowledge, focused on articulating criteria for defining knowledge, for adjudicating knowledge claims, and for specifying “valid” knowledge generating procedures. Epistemology can also be understood to refer to societal discourses of knowledge that inform people’s understandings and that configure how different social agents are evaluated as knowledge producers, hence its relevance for psychological concerns. Whereas traditional debates in contemporary Western philosophy tend to focus on formal criteria for defining knowledge, critiques of knowledge from feminist theory, postcolonial critiques and other critical perspectives emphasize instead the situatedness and historicity of discourses of knowledge, their power-infused nature, and the politics of their social construction. Within psychology, the term has been extended in recent decades to denote the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alcoff, L., & Potter, E. (Eds.). (1993). Feminist epistemologies. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Antony, L., & Witt, C. (Eds.). (1993). A mind of one’s own: Feminist essays on reason and objectivity. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  3. Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M. V., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1997). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice and mind. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  4. Bordo, S. (1990). The flight to objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and culture. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  5. Coetzee, P. H., & Roux, A. P. J. (Eds.). (2003). The African philosophy reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness and the politics of empowerment. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Eze, E. C. (1997). Postcolonial African philosophy: A critical reader. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Falmagne, R. J., & Hass, M. (2002). Representing reason: Feminist theory and formal logic. New York, NY: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972–1978. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  10. Goldberger, N. R., Tarule, J. M., Clinchy, B. M., & Belenky, M. F. (Eds.). (1996). Knowledge, difference, and power: Essays inspired by ‘Women’s ways of knowing. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Harding, S. (1998). Is science multicultural?: Postcolonialisms, feminisms, and epistemologies. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Harding, S. (Ed.). (2004). The feminist standpoint reader: Intellectual and political controversies. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  13. Hofer, B., & Pintrich, P. (2002). Personal epistemologies: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  14. Lloyd, G. (1984). The man of reason: ‘Male’ and ‘female’ in western philosophy. London, England: Methuen.Google Scholar
  15. Sosa, E., Kim, J., Fantl, J., & McGrath, M. (Eds.). (2008). Epistemology: An anthology (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell Press.Google Scholar
  16. Sullivan, S., & Tuana, N. (2007). Race and epistemologies of ignorance. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  17. Tuana, N., & Morgen, S. (2001). Engendering rationalities. New York, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA