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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 55, Issue 3, 2018

Elena O. Trufanova
Pages 76-90

On Hegemony, Acceptance of the Differences and Social Construction of Knowledge

The paper analyzes current situation in epistemology that is characterized by the appearance of the so called alternative epistemologies opposing the classical epistemology. The ties between alternative epistemologies and Karl Marx’ class consciousness concept and its development in the neo- and postmarxist works (by A.Gramsci, E.Laclau, Ch.Mouffe) is demonstrated. The research is focused on the concept of “false consciousness” that serves as a basis of the concepts of ideology and hegemony. The concept of hegemony in neo- and postmarxism is analyzed, it is shown how its application is reflected in the research of scientific knowledge: some authors claim that science is an agent of hegemony and it helps to maintain the illusion of the objectivity of the existence of certain phenomena. The proponents of this position – social constructionists, feminist philosophers et. al. – suggest to accept the equal value of the positions of different social groups each of which holds its own special discourse that helps to express the “knowledge” specific to this certain group. It is shown that such position sees “knowledge” as no longer universal, the knowledge is equaled to local understanding of the world. The conclusion is drawn that the position of K. Marx that gives basis to many claims of postmarxists and social constructionist is more favorable in comparison to them, because Marx whilst speaking of class consciousness assigns an important role to the individual subject. It allows to combine both universalistic understanding of knowledge and account not only for group differences, but for each individuality.

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