HomeΦιλοσοφια: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 37 no. 1 (2008)

Empiricist and Feminist Epistemology: An African Experience

Bolatito A. Lanre-abass

Discipline: Philosophy



Current developments in feminist epistemology stem from the recognition that knowledge is socially constructed and therefore, must be seen in the context of the social relations in which its production occurs. This version of epistemology stresses the view that individual experiences and knowledge claims are possible only within a community.

The concern of this paper is to examine the empiricist account of knowledge. It questions the adequacy of the empiricist attempt to base knowledge on perceptual experience, pointing out that experience has a wider focus than what empiricists allow.

Feminist epistemology takes off as a critique of empiricist epistemology on the grounds that the empiricist conception of knowledge fails to acknowledge the fact that knowledge operates in sociohistorical contexts. This accounts for a major limitation in the empiricist conception of knowledge. In order to underscore the thesis of feminist epistemology, the Yoruba women's experience is used, drawing on such factors as women's reproductive experiences and how these experiences can bear upon epistemological inquiry.