Book Chapter

Relativising Epistemic Advantage



Ashton N (2020) Relativising Epistemic Advantage. In: Kusch M (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Relativism. Routledge Handbooks of Philosophy. London: Routledge, pp. 329-338.

In this paper I explore the relationship between social epistemology and relativism in the context of feminist epistemology. I do this by focusing on one particular branch of feminist epistemology - a branch known as standpoint theory - and investigating the connection between this view and epistemic relativism. I begin by defining both epistemic relativism and standpoint theory, and by briefly recounting the standard way that the connection between these two views is understood. The literature at the moment focuses on an aspect of standpoint theory called the epistemic advantage thesis, and on an aspect of relativism which has been called equality. I then show that the connection between relativism and standpoint theory actually turns on a different aspect of standpoint theory, known as the standpoint thesis, and on an aspect of relativism which has been called non-neutrality. I argue that shifting our attention to these other aspects reveals that standpoint theory is clearly and unavoidably relativist, but that this isn’t a problem - standpoint theory can capture everything that it set out to, even on a relativist understanding of the view.

Title of seriesRoutledge Handbooks of Philosophy
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online04/12/2019
Publisher URL…ok/9781138484283
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Dr Natalie Ashton

Dr Natalie Ashton

Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Philosophy