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Resisting RealitySocial Construction and Social Critique$
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Sally Haslanger

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199892631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199892631.001.0001

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Ontology and Social Construction 1

Ontology and Social Construction 1

(p.83) 2 Ontology and Social Construction1
Resisting Reality

Sally Haslanger

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the concept of social construction and to show how debates over such philosophical notions as “truth”, “knowledge,” and “reality”, can be relevant to feminist and anti-racist politics: does it make sense to claim that there is a “male reality”? What would that mean? The chapter examines a strategy of argument claiming that because knowledge is socially constructed, there is no objective or independent reality. The chapter argues that this strategy does not force us into either scepticism or idealism, but there are implications for what it means to be real, and for conceiving an “independent” reality. The intention is not to offer an argument for an independent reality; rather, it is to understand and evaluate some of the arguments that seem to challenge such a commitment.

Keywords:   Catharine MacKinnon, ontology, objectivity, reality, social construction, rape, feminism, male reality, feminist metaphysics

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