Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Rebecca Lloyd-Waller

Second Advisor

Joel Richeimer

Abstract

The standard conception of objective knowledge and the objective knower has historically excluded many individuals, including women and other subjugated groups. Standard objectivity or objectivism often attempts to take on a transcendental “god’s eye view” that ignores individual subjectivities and socio-historical locatedness. This “god’s trick,” as Donna Haraway calls it, is an impossible maneuver. By using Haraway’s model of active vision and situated knowledge and Lorraine Code’s efforts to view subject and object in a reciprocal relationship and conversation, I look to better understand what it means to have truly objective knowledge. I suggest a theory of object arrival in which the object is an arrivant, a term used by Sarah Ahmed and originally presented by Derrida. The arrivant is a continuously arriving and contingent object. It comes from place to be in another place, and is influenced by that path, its history, its surroundings, and a knower’s arrival to it, just as you too are influenced by your socio-historical locatedness. The arrivant can be used as a tool to be self-critical and avoid certain prejudices or tendencies that would inhibit objective knowledge. Finally, I employ Miranda Fricker’s work on epistemic justice and many of the tenets behind virtue epistemology to discuss practical methods for granting authority and making responsible epistemic decisions in the scientific world and everyday interactions. Objective knowledge is essential to justice and a responsibility for us all.

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