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Alexis Shotwell's Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender and Implicit Understanding

University of Windsor
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  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science


PhaenEx 6, no. 1 (spring/summer 2011): 147-154 © 2011 Ami Harbin Sensuousness and Social Change An Encounter with: Alexis Shotwell. Knowing Otherwise: Race, Gender, and Implicit Understanding. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011. 180 pages. AMI HARBIN Sensuous knowledge is precondition, ingredient, and result of a mutual transformation of the self and social worlds (Shotwell 126). Epistemology is a broad field, including analytic, naturalized, feminist, and other formulations, and overlapping with social, political, and moral philosophy, philosophies of language, science, medicine, and cognitive science. It is broad enough to allow those who write in one field to remain unaware of claims made in others. For this reason, questions historically neglected in philosophical epistemology can remain underexplored for much longer than they should, when only a few scholars see the need to pursue them. The question of how to characterize the non-articulated, non-propositional knowledge which shapes our political lives and motivates political action is one example of such a neglected area. Such neglect is pernicious when it means that more formulated aspects of knowledge, like the ways in which agents form, articulate, and debate beliefs about how we ought to act, become dominant, seeming like the only or most relevant aspects of knowledge for moral and political action. Of course we do form, articulate, and debate beliefs about how we ought to act, and doing so can be necessary for individual and joint moral education and action. But we are also, for example, regularly - 148 - PhaenEx disturbed to find ourselves, even when motivated to act well against racist injustice, re- embodying racist norms in ways that express and perpetuate implicit rather than explicit understandings of whites as superior to other racial groups. It seems some kinds of racist kn

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