Waltraud Ernst

The paper offers a historical outline of the main positions and protagonists of feminist epistemology as a specific field in philosophy at the end of the twentieth century, in the context of a feminist critique of knowledge in academia in general as part of international feminist movements. The main question discussed is whether there is a specific feminist concept of philosophical and scientific knowledge. If so, what is its innovative aspect? What are the philosophical problems in arguing for feminist knowledge? Is there a specific insight or methodological approach? A further question is what role, if any, feminist epistemology plays in the interdisciplinary field of Gender Studies. The discussion will centre on how feminist epistemology relates to non-scientific practices. In particular, the role of the concept of objectivity in feminist epistemology will be elaborated. This will illuminate the connection between the feminist knowledge project with other emancipatory projects and outline how feminist constructivism might play a prominent role in this context in the twenty-first century.

Waltraud Ernst and Vivienne Lo