Current feminist theory in validating
Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification.
It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups.
“Masculine” traits are therefore regarded as virtues in men and (often) vices in women, while “feminine” traits are regarded as vices in men and virtues in women. Many feminist theorists, often influenced by postmodernism, stress the contextual and performative aspects of gender (West & Zimmerman 1987; Butler 1990).
In virtue of the different background beliefs against which they interpret a patient's symptoms, a patient may think he is having a heart attack while his doctor believes he just has heartburn.
Feminist epistemology conceives of knowers as situated in particular relations to what is known and to other knowers.
What is known, and the way that it is known, thereby reflects the situation or perspective of the knower.
They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures.
They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender and feminist values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations, (3) promote theories that aid egalitarian and liberation movements, and (4) defend these developments as cognitive, not just social, advances.
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For example, men are expected to be assertive and athletic; women, deferential and modest.