The acquisition of knowledge has been a central factor driving advance. And since Descartes, western thought has placed the question of what we know, and how we know what we know at the centre of philosophy. But might this focus on knowledge be a mistake? Feminist and postmodernist critics argue that in seeking to validate knowledge philosophers have merely sought to justify their own interests and prejudices. Instead they argue all knowledge is limited by perspective whether by culture, class, gender, race or the many other factors that influence understanding.
Should we give up the idea that our beliefs can provide us with objective knowledge? Should we reject epistemology as an attempt to elevate and make undeniable our particular perspective, interests and prejudices and focus instead on the consequences of adopting a given framework of belief? Or is knowledge essential to culture and the notion that beliefs might be definitively true vital to progress?
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