On the alleged incompatibility between relativism and feminist psychology

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Abstract

This paper addresses the claim that research which makes relativist epistemological assumptions is incompatible with the moral and political commitments of feminism. This claim is treated as resting on four related but distinct arguments, that relativist feminist researchers: (a) have no basis for choosing between different accounts; (b) have no way to encompass real, material, worldly phenomena; (c) are unable to express commitment to a political position or set of values; (d) are less persuasive to colleagues and to the wider community because of the contingent and self-referential nature of relativist claims. The principal aim of this paper is to highlight a range of limitations with these anti-relativist arguments and thereby support the case for a coherent relativist feminist psychology. The paper concludes with some indication of the virtues and strengths of such an approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-106
Number of pages16
JournalFeminism and Psychology
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

Keywords

  • Criticism
  • Epistemology
  • Feminism
  • Objectivism
  • Politics
  • Postmodernism
  • Realism
  • Relativism

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