Thursday, March 29, 2007

"The distinction between 'political' and 'performance-related' reasons for removing a United States attorney is, in my view, largely artificial"

I...I...I...I'm literally sitting here with my jaw hanging open. Literally. Right now. Hanging open. I don't know what to say about this. Sometimes there's nothing you can say that's clearer or more damning than the statement itself.

I thought it was no longer possible for me to be astonished by...what to call this...some toxic stew of badness and idiocy...apparently a denial of the very distinction between justice and politics.

Coincidentally, I've just been shredding "feminist epistemology" in my epistemology class, and was recently reading Susan Haack's nice summary of the view's failings in "Knowledge and Propaganda: Reflections of an Old Feminist." The real problem with feminist epistemology, as Haack notes, isn't that it's feminist, it's that it's political at all. Left-wing, right-wing, feminist, masculist, whatever--the mistake is made when politics of any kind is introduced.

A similar point can, of course, be made about moral theory...or about the pursuit of justice in the courts.

I guess we really are living in the age of the postmodern presidency.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really never understood how anyone could take "feminist epistemology" seriously. If you read it, it makes very little sense. It always seems to descend into bitching about how women don't get to play science games.

But then there's the hundreds of famous women who make intelligent and extremely valuable contributions to science, like Jane Goodall, for example.

Plus, female scientists have a serious advantage over male scientists. Not only are they smart, but they are mostly in addition hot (see: Jodie Foster in Contact).


lol I'm sure that'll piss someone off.

5:18 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Maybe he meant something that politics should be so intertwined with reason that the only reason to remove someone, politically, is that they are failing, performance-wise.

Yeah, maybe that's what he meant.

*covers ears and runs away singing*

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

W.S., you wrote:
"Left-wing, right-wing, feminist, masculist, whatever--the mistake is made when politics of any kind is introduced."

I thought that WAS the point of the feminist critique. Of course, you'd have to be a bit more specific on who it is you're "shredding" to know.

For someone like N. Tuana, I just read her as making the point that the history of science and philosophy shows that it has been notoriously masculinist, but all the while asserting a purely objective point of view.

I don't know anyone currently whining about not getting to play reindeer games. Didn't piss me off though, just seems like a Strawman setup.

3:32 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

There are lots of flavors of feminist epistemology.

No strawman. All I can say is: read more of it.

You're referring, I think, to stuff like e.g. feminist standpoint theory, which, inter alia, holds that women occupy a position that gives them greater access to objective knowledge.

Other varieties (often more on the "continental" side) want to deny any distinction between the epistemological and the political. At the extreme you get people like Andrea Nye (doing "feminist logic") who spew out a weird mish-mash of points like: logic is oppressive/"ableist" because bad arguments are called 'inVALID' which is like 'INvalid', and because arguments are said to come in "chains", which are, of course, used to enslave people.

And so on.

10:28 AM  

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