Abstract

Since the 1980s, feminist epistemologists have traced the cultural biases that have denied epistemic value to certain epistemic styles and agents while they have explored ways to reclaim the devalued epistemic modes—including more practical, emotionally invested, and community-situated modes of knowing—that many of us have found to be meaningful ways of engaging the world. At the same time, feminist critics have sought not merely to reverse received epistemic hierarchies but to explore more pluralistic epistemologies that appreciate as well as examine critically the diverse ways that humans engage the world. This paper examines how Simone Weil’s concept of paying attention can contribute to such a critical and pluralist epistemology. By reading Weil’s account of “a certain kind of attention” together with feminist and decolonial critiques of modern epistemic norms, I show how Weil points toward an epistemic framework that would open our intellectual communities to a greater plurality of epistemic styles and agents and, ultimately, would make possible richer knowledge practices that are more responsive to world problems.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2154-154X
Print ISSN
0276-2080
Pages
pp. 79-95
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-20
Open Access
No
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