Title: ‘Being-in-the-Room: Epistemic Deference and Elite Capture’
Abstract: Standpoint epistemology refers to a set of contentions: that knowledge is socially situated, that marginalized people have some positional advantages in gaining some forms of knowledge, and that research programs ought to reflect these facts. These seem to me to be entirely unobjectionable, and indeed to follow from any minimally plausible story about the epistemic consequences of social structure. Yet this theory is often the subject of controversy. I take the problem to be related to the norms of putting the theory into practice, particularly their reliance on schedules of deference, and considering the political consequences of this approach (elite capture) and also consequences I take to be morally corrosive. I propose an alternative, which I call the “constructive” approach to giving standpoint epistemology practical expression, and try to motivate adopting it.