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The Bias Paradox: Why It's Not Just for Feminists Anymore

Deborah K. Heikes
Synthese
Vol. 138, No. 3 (Feb., 2004), pp. 315-335
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20118395
Page Count: 21
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The Bias Paradox: Why It's Not Just for Feminists Anymore
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Abstract

The bias paradox emerges out of a tension between objectivism and relativism. If one rejects a certain the conception objectivity as absolute impartiality and value-neutrality (i.e., if all views are biased), how, then, can one hold that some epistemic perspectives are better than others? This is a problem that has been most explicitly dealt with in feminist epistemology, but it is not unique to feminist perspectives. In this paper, I wish to clearly lay out the nature of the paradox and the various attempts to avoid it. I also intend to show why it is a problem for any epistemological view that rejects absolute objectivity. Finally, I wish to briefly outline a possible solution to the paradox, a solution that requires recognizing that rationality necessarily requires both objective and subjective elements.

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