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date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers a kind of “Cartesian epistemology” according to which, so far as knowing goes, knowers could be completely disembodied, that is, pure Cartesian egos. Cartesian epistemology thus attributes little, if any, cognitive significance to a knower's embodiment. This article examines a number of recent challenges to Cartesian epistemology. It focuses on feminist epistemology. But while feminist philosophers have been the most visible and vocal critics of Cartesian epistemology, they are not the only ones. Psychologists like Richard Nisbett and empirically minded analytic philosophers like Stephen Stich have also raised objections, and this article talks about these as well. While all of these critics tend to position themselves as radical opponents of “mainstream” epistemology, this article intends to show that the criticisms they make are consonant with a number of mainstream developments, particularly externalism and naturalized epistemology.

Keywords: Cartesian epistemology, feminist epistemology, feminist philosophers, externalism, naturalized epistemology

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