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Srinivasan, Amia. Normativity without Cartesian Priviledge
2015, Philosophical Issues: 25 (1): 273-299.
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Added by: Jie Gao

Summary: This paper aims to explore the implication of rejecting Cartesianism for our relationship to the normative realm. It is argued that it implies that this relationship is more fraught than many would like to think. Without privileged access to our own minds, there are no norms that can invariably guide our actions, and no norms that are immune from blameless violation. This will come as bad news to those normative theorists who think that certain central normative notions – e.g. the ethical ought or epistemic justification – should be cashed out in terms of subjects’ mental states precisely in order to generate norms that are action-guiding and immune from blameless vi- olation. Meanwhile Anti-Cartesianism might come as good news to those normative theorists who resist cashing out norms in terms of mental states. For Anti-Cartesnianism implies that no norms – however closely tied to the mental – can be perfectly action-guiding or totally immune from blameless violation. More generally, once we have accepted that our relationship to our own minds lacks the perfect intimacy promised by Cartesianism, we are, for better or worse, left with the view that the normative realm is suffused with ignorance and bad luck.

Comment: This is a good paper for teachings on epistemic normativity, more specifically on normative externalism. Having pre-knowledge on epistemic internalism and extermalism would be helpful in understanding this paper, but not necessarily required.

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Ukpokolo, Isaac E. . Enriching the Knowledge of the Other Through an Epistemology of Intercourse
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 193-204
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Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: Ideas, knowledge, and cognitive claims we have about “the other” or “the different” traditionally stems from what can be referred to as mainstream Cartesianism of epistemic duality, an orientation that has primary consideration for subject-object dichotomy; the knower and the known; the I and the thou; and the center and the periphery. In such considerations, what is of the center perceives what is not as an “other.” This disposition about the other constitutes a gap in cognition resulting in poverty of knowledge – knowledge of the other attained from a distance. Furthermore, this condition presents some rigid boundary between episteme (the knowledge) and doxa (the opinions), between the “self” and the “other,” between reality and appearance, between noumena and the phenomena, or between space and time. The present work attempts an alternative epistemology that avoids the impossibility of obtaining genuine knowledge beyond the self, proposing an epistemology of intercourse which alone, I believe, is capable of re-presenting a robust understanding of the entirety of reality (a holistic cognition of reality that is a continuum). According to this proposal, “knowledge” is “intercourse.” The knower is subsumed in the known and vice versa. Only then can the knower know the other for what it is and appreciates the non-difference between the knower and the known. This way, a just relationship between the self and the other would evolve.

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