Allison Jaggar's Love-Knowedge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology

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In Allison Jaggar's “Love and Knowledge: Emotions in Feminist Epistemology,” the author poses a standpoint theory of emotions and that the emotions of those oppressed, especially, are helpful and not detrimental to acquiring knowledge. The goal of her paper is to “begin bridging the gap [between motion and knowledge] through the suggestion that emotions may be helpful and even necessary rather than inimical to he construction of knowledge.” From this, it becomes apparent that that the bridge she is looking to build involves a method for identifying biases of dominant groups that ultimately lead to false views of the world. The underlying notion here is that one's perspective can be altered by one's situation in the world, particularly, how one's situation in life can affect his or her emotional perspective and response. Before going on to explain the concept of emotional perspective and response, it should first be noted that the type of emotions Jaggar thinks are important to feminist theorists are outlaw emotions—emotional responses that do not coincide or support the norms and values that society has been conditioned to accept. There is definite value in her argument, but because she just scratches the surface of how emotions could be incorporated into the process of acquiring knowledge, there are a few areas of her theory that are problematic. For the sake of brevity, this paper will discuss what is, perhaps, the biggest flaw in the Jaggar reading—standpoint theories seem to be oblivious to differing experiences of particular individuals within groups and instead speaks of experiences of these groups as shared ones. Allison Jaggar asserts that theories that make the distinction between emotion and reason in association with acquiring knowledge are mistaken because they falsely assume that emotions are involuntary responses that can be separated from
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