So far, I get the gist of the problem... female voices and perspectives have been excluded from epistemology and science in particular. This has lead to 'ways of knowing' that have placed women into inferior positoins in society and society using science to dominate women and other groups. Women, as a result, are seen as irrational etc.
Duh -- I get that and have seen that well before I started reading feminist philosophy.
There are some feminist philosophers who advocate discarding important parts of the philosophical cannon because they did not support feminist positions... I won't go that far, as it seems wrong to expect those dead-white-males to have modern sensibilities. It also seems to me that simply expelling these philosophers would entail rejecting large portions of the background material that supports my ways of thinking.... since I AM female, isn't it the case that I'd have to deny the background to my own epistemology? Thankfully, there are some feminists doing history of philosophy who have interpreted key parts of the cannon so that I can keep some of my favorite dead-white guys.
My feminist philosophy of science prof has written an inciteful, but not yet published paper asking if there are limits to the perspectives science ought to consider? Religious voices surely have things to say about science, as do wiccans and 3rd graders. Should they be included in the scientific community? Is the true advocacy of feminist philosophy of science, science by democracy? If so, we are in trouble....
So, my quandry is this -- I understand that feminist epistemology advocates expanding the basis for Knowldge. What I don't understand is how adding a wholistic perspective would change the science we do now? Accoriding to my prof, feminist philosophers of science are short on alternatives... If we don't need to declare the scientific enterprise corrupt, then what we do need to do is to work to include more trained females in science and philosophy of science/episemology.
Off the top of my head, I can see more than a few things that need to change in order to do this...
1) Increase and encourage girls to explore science and math... and keep that up in their teen and early college years. Doing this is complicated and will involve lots of money and female role-models... and it may not work.
2) Within the structure of higher education, graduate education needs to be more family-friendly. This means higher pay for graduate students, more uniform health-care coverage, reasonable productivity expectations and an overall acceptance that students (male and female) may have lives outside of their schooling.
What ought to be illegal as hell is the way my first-ever graduate advisor questioned me about my family status during our first meeting... I'll talk about that AFTER I defend... I sincerely think that his impression of me after that meeting influenced my time in the department in a negative way -- but, since he's gone and I still need them, it wouldn't be fair or prudent to get into it here.
3) The professional life of an academic also should be more family friendly. Among other things, tenure expetations should be adjusted to allow for parental leave (mothers AND fathers). I also think that major conferences ought not be scheduled over Christmas break. This is because it is often difficult for parents to leave when their school-aged children are out of school. Expecting someone to attend the APA or MLA over break assumes that there is another parent staying home to take care of the kids -- and this expectation is often far from the case for many academic families.
What scares me is feminisim's seeming reaction to the Larry Summers (former Harvard president) incident.... If the end result of feminist philosophy of science is to stop scientific inquiry of any sort, because 'those questions shouldn't be asked' -- isn't it the case that feminist philosophy of science is just as oppresive and narrow-minded as the cannon of philosophy?
Anyway, those are my thoughts now... I'm not sure how this is going to turn into an epistemology paper... but, I'll let you know.