A Critical View of Quine s Naturalized and Feminist Epistemology in the Lens of Louise Antony

Quine s naturalized epistemology inspires philosophers to construct a systematic mindset that facilitates a concise understanding of the world as well as the people living in it. As such, there is a diversified approach that philosophers take in constructing such conception of meaning through the nature of knowledge. Antony focuses on nature and the sources of knowledge as well as what can impede the acquisition of knowledge. With regard to this, natural epistemology is construed as true belief a component that is required for knowledge. It is inspired by the typical social dimension in the search for knowledge within the institutions of truth and meaning. Antony postulates that Quine emphasized reason and objectivitym arguing for the need to demand a feminist view in the study of epistemology. Feminism, in addition, facilitates the interplay with the naturalized epistemology. This relationship is fostered on the understanding that knowledge, in the naturalized perspective, is determined by the situation and context. Although this premise is empirically weak because it suggests wrong empirical evidence, its strength lies in its ability to knowledge results from the social context a factor that justifies epistemology.

Naturalized epistemology underscores reasons for skepticism and cynicism towards the traditional concept of epistemology. These considerations fall within the precincts of   contemporary efforts and failures in making mathematics analogous to pure logic. In view of this, Quine postulates that the objective understanding of knowledge rests on the dimension of truth and meaning argued from the understanding of objectivity and reason. Therefore, the usefulness of naturalized epistemology resonates with the scientific attempts to construct knowledge as a set of logic.

It is imperative to note that a translation of logic forms the useful foundation in understanding naturalized epistemology. Quine s account thus pursues the traditional concept of finding meaning as well as truth. Antony underscores the interplay between naturalized epistemology and feminism. Accordingly, feminist epistemology addresses a feminist concept of the science of knowledge in line with relativism. This feminist insight is therefore independent of the naturalized understanding of epistemology because it is built on the theories of knowledge that feminist have developed. However, the motivation of feminist epistemology interplays with naturalized epistemology on the ground that it brings in the element of subjectivism and partiality which arguably distorts the relevant evidence in the light of truth. Antony connects these two branches of epistemology by assuring the feminist philosophers in the whole facet of radical intellectual ideology of patriarchal and class stratification of the society. This attempt thereby lies on the traditional analysis of epistemology (187).

Naturalized Epistemology
Naturalized epistemology lies in the philosophic understanding that is based on the theoretical paradigm of knowledge. It essentially emphasizes the role natural methods of science play in the construction of knowledge. As such, Antony shares that naturalized epistemology shifts its primary focus on empirical evidence and process of acquiring knowledge. However, this appraisal is weak in the sense that naturalized epistemology targets aspects of generalization in the pursuit for knowledge. Inspired by this critique, it is important to outline that naturalized knowledge fails to be circularly established on the ground that knowledge is acquired through cognitive approaches. In addition, naturalized epistemology opposes the whole understanding of modern science due to the inability of its naturalized methods in acquiring knowledge which fails to acknowledge the question about the value that such knowledge has or lacks.

The effort of Quine to pursue the naturalized epistemology failed to provide any advantage over other models of psychology in relation to cognitive processes. As such, naturalized epistemology focuses on how human beings acquire knowledge through naturalized scientific methods rather than on mere speculative analysis of knowledge itself. In light of this, Quine exhorts all philosophers to ground their efforts on the science of studying knowledge and therefore overlook the naturalized aspect of circularity as well as its more flaws. This appeal underscores the concise tolerance of circularity. According to Antony, Quince highlights the problem of circularity as evidenced in naturalized epistemology. This implies that naturalized epistemology should be studied on the ground that seeks to validate natural sciences.

In these scenario, Quine underscores that an empirical analysis and study should be used due to its relevance in focusing on science, objectivism, and therefore should able to evaluate all evidence included. However, it is clear that Quine outlines that the validation of this nature ends up as by-products of the traditional nature of knowledge. Instead, naturalized epistemology should emphasize on construing the possible connection between science and observation which evidently give birth to a form of epistemology that relies on scientific investigation of knowledge.

In addition, Quine s view of natural epistemology transcends the evident discrepancies between natural truth and epistemology. Accordingly, natural epistemology should eliminate the normative approach which, without it, there is absolutely no rational justification of scientific evidence. The factors that underpin natural epistemology only become comprehensible when there is the presupposition of normative approach. Without normative approach, natural epistemology fails to provide a concise criterion for determining which kind of knowledge is right or wrong. The idea of naturalized epistemology therefore rests on the premise that a scientific account of representing epistemology becomes an impossible area to be justified.  Antony explains this by claiming that knowledge seems to be scientifically constructed based on the purity of the natural terms and how human beings subscribe to their beliefs about truth and knowledge.

Quine s argument of naturalized epistemology is understood to champion an epistemological system that natural science is a factor that should be pursued as a venture that continues with the nature of science. Although this presents an argument among philosophers who reflect the questions of analytic traditions of epistemology, such questions surround the dimension whether philosophy in light of naturalized epistemology should be a form that is practiced and becomes normative. Significantly, natural epistemology as presented by Quine fosters the stability of meaning and knowledge.

Importance of Partiality in Epistemology
Naturalized epistemology provides for a good feminist epistemology on the ground that it facilitates a process that builds a pedestal for facts and truth about the ignored wisdom of women. In other words, the importance of partiality and subjectivity with regard to male methods of inquiry into the science of knowledge enhances what supports the epistemic ideal of an empirical conception of the mind (197). Accordingly, Antony suggests that Quine s model of empirical conception of the mind holds on three principles First, it examines the conception that within a naturalized epistemology, feminists call for their epistemology enforces the concept of partiality, which entirely  entails certain features of possession whereby these features are typical of all human beings. Second, a naturalized epistemology exposes the benefits for partiality in the sense that feminist epistemology appreciates the cognitive value of knowledge. Third, the possession of these properties leads to an innate knowledge which points out that feminist epistemology has a place in the science of philosophy since it guides the knower to be an agent of morality by virtue of knowledge. As a result, feminism and naturalized epistemology are equated by Antony on the basis that empiricism and general knowledge play an important role in both normative approach as well as normative understanding of mainstream epistemology (195).

The Interplay between Natural Epistemology and Feminist Epistemology
Antony connects natural epistemology with feminist epistemology by providing an argument that seeks to create room for feminist epistemology. The need for feminism is construed as a demand that emanates from the feminist insight and is inspired by various theoretical paradigms that feminists may develop. Therefore, it is arguable that the motivation of a feminine epistemologist facilitates a discovery of partiality in the truth beliefs as well as the entire scope of meaning. Feminist epistemology forms a conceptual change of the contemporary framework of epistemology therefore providing an understanding that there is a significant need for feminist epistemology built around the attempt to expose as well as disintegrate the masculine intellectual ideology that is oppressive within a patriarchal and racial society (189).

The need for feminist epistemology is possibly seen in the need to have female mathematicians and scientists so that empiricism and not rationalism may be favored in the whole scope of the study of knowledge. Arguably, Antony articulates this by citing further examples which feminist epistemology rejects, and these includes intuition over reason, as well as subjectivity over objectivity. The implications of this relationship is presented by Antony to show that Quine maintained a stance that the impression of the entire methods of analytic  philosophy fosters a false premise because it leads to changing the individual women (188).

The framework of both naturalized and feminist epistemology is constructed by Antony to lie on a complementary base.  Understanding the two paradigm of epistemology leads to the construction of a politically clear account of objective values in the theory of knowledge. With regard to this, a vital concept in feminist epistemology emanates with a possible problem of conceptualizing bias in terms of gender. Accordingly, it is a theory of knowledge that attempts to offer solutions to the problem of bias in understanding the acquisition of knowledge. It is therefore important to understand the element of bias in this context.

The Paradox of Bias
 Bias forms some partiality, prejudice and belief that present patriarchy as the value forms of conceptualizing epistemology. According to Antony, this patriarchal bias presents a distorted understanding of epistemology that is less facilitated and therefore leads to the development of an insufficient understanding of the world. Essentially, this bias disparages the traditional epistemology as well as its overall commitment to the neutrality of the ideals of epistemology (82-83).

Accordingly, patriarchal prejudice is evident in philosophy and science in general which emphasizes that the issue of objectivity in science must come from the viewpoint of maleness. In light of this, the male biases present in epistemology raises the question of value ideals. Antony underscores that  impartiality is the foundation which raises the objection of patriarchal biasness (189). The conceptualization of these biases portends that it is impartiality that creates a problem with biasness but arguably, impartiality of this kind is good because it provides a generalized ideal of epistemology which, in the attempt to be rejected, postulates a dilemma that fails to measure up the ideals of impartiality.
In the view of Antony, Quine was an analytic philosopher who argued against the concept of impartiality and thus explained the need to construct feminist epistemology. Within this analytic philosophy, objectivity is an ideal element of the practice of epistemology. This conceptualization echoes the rational argument of naturalized epistemology such that the ideals of impartiality can be desired or undesired. For example, it is obvious that seekers of knowledge, being on a particular position, in essence, does not disregard the ideals of objectivity. In exactness, knowledge is possibly achievable but without the element of context and situation, the instances of impartiality cannot be avoided.

However, Antony articulates that feminist epistemology can be linked to naturalized epistemology because of the strategic input to address the problem of bias in the science of knowledge. Accordingly, on the basis that bias is found to be distorting the application of knowledge, it is clear that the social context of epistemology utilizes impartiality. In other words, there is the understanding that people are all biased and therefore the question of impartiality eliminates the concept of distorted pursuit of knowledge. In this account, there is reason for fighting impartiality in the search for knowledge (210). Similarly, Antony asserts that the utility of bias presents another link between feminist and naturalized epistemology. With regard to this, naturalized epistemology reflects the value of knowledge ideals which holds significance in studying epistemology from a naturalized perspective. In light of this, there should be empirical investigations of the person seeking knowledge. Although this view misses out on the value attached to partiality,  the value of knowledge was however addressed from the dimension of rationalism. Essentially, Antony connects these two branches of epistemology by highlighting that it is imperative not to reach a comprehensive system of knowledge because peoples minds are always open and unbiased.

Naturalized epistemology shuns the model of neutrality and thereby goes ahead to provide an empirical norm upon which the biasness in terms of right and wrong can be differentiated. In stratified and patriarchal societies, what everybody knows becomes the objective truth, thus the dominant conception holds the assumption of the truth and meaning (213). This paradigm also connects with feminist epistemology due to its typical promotion of opinions formed by the others. Although this leans on the dimension of nonobjective truth,  Antony points out that the characteristic of social context of discovering meaning  and truth is determined by natural forces of politics, religion and social background. Built on this assertion, both natural epistemology and feminist epistemology relieves the case of conforming to it a pain of constantly disagreeing with it (212).

To succinctly articulate the defense for feminist epistemology and the aims surrounding it, there is a paradox that exists which strengthens the analytical framework of naturalized epistemology. This of course lies in the bigger problem of how to account for the conception of bias between objectivity and bias. Arguably, this understanding falls short in showing how the whole feminist view of epistemology postulates the question of knowledge within biases. Accordingly, objectivity as well as impartiality is figured to supposedly articulate the ideals of being biased. In light of this, objectivity illuminates the masculine conception of knowledge which tends to serve as a shield of men especially those who are in power. In addition, the paradox of bias is evident in how impartiality and objectivity pave the way for the knower to mask the objective pursuit of knowledge and neutrality and still are dictated by the biases in the society (190).

It is significant that natural epistemology avoids the premise of bias. It is grounded on the principle of neutrality and objectivity. In this view, it considers that the basis of feminist epistemology stems from naturalized epistemology because it suggests that objectivity in the science of truth distinguishes truth from falseness - a factor that discovers how meaning, knowledge and truth are constructed. The guidelines for all actions of epistemology are simplified because from both naturalized and feminist epistemology, proponents rely on amassing enough powers in order to tell the truth because it is in this way that people will listen  (214).

The feminist approach to knowledge as well as the naturalized approach upholds neutrality and objectivity which are critical to the attitudes of the knower towards the whole paradigm of bias. Evidently, Antony brings the connection in light of the fact that human knowledge must be stimulated by bias. This formulates an understanding that people must evaluate empiricism in the search for knowledge   a factor that impacts on the biases that help in evaluating theories of knowledge. Essentially, biases are not outrightly bad but the positivism and negativism of biasness should be understood as an empirical question of truth and knowledge.

The implication of feminist epistemology against the rational naturalized epistemology stems from the experiences of man and evaluates the notion of impartiality by claiming that all principles of truth should be empirically evidenced. Similarly, naturalized epistemology does not emphasize certain standards of epistemology. In this regard, both forms address impartiality that eventually influences the results of epistemic investigation (215).

Naturalized epistemology justifies the insights of feminist epistemology on the basis of the ideological functions of objectivity without necessarily undercutting the role of patriarchal bias through what is called oppressive falsehood (218). Antony gives a radical formulation of the paradox of bias which is the major concern of feminist philosophers like Quine. Antony also brings another connection by establishing that a call for feminist epistemology should be a practice that can contribute to the objective partiality of truth, knowledge and meaning,  thus articulating the objectives of rationality in naturalized epistemology. Although there is no clarity in the epistemological fields, both naturalized and feminist epistemology share a unified conclusion built on the premise that naturalized epistemology helps the feminist epistemologist to express the male experiences of knowledge which seem oppressive in a stratified society. Naturalized epistemology allows a realistic perspective of truth while it, at the same time, brings out the question of meaning. Antony questionably thinks in line with how epistemology as a whole should embrace the strengths of naturalized and feminist epistemology and equally works on improving their weakness in a bid towards creating a world that is well known in the minds of human beings. In so doing, Antony wants the feminist epistemologists to be given a chance to positively contribute to the philosophical practice of knowledge because this will portend an aspect of success.


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