Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ignorance, Power, and Politics: Perspectives from Feminist and Political Epistemology

online course
when 9 January 2023 - 13 January 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 800

In recent years, the study of ignorance has developed into a dynamic field that spreads across many subdisciplines of philosophy. What ignorance is, what its normative, ethical, and political dimensions are, how ignorance connects to oppression and injustice, and what kinds of responsibilities toward knowledge we have are some of the questions with which political epistemologists and feminist epistemologists have grappled.

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the core concepts, questions, and theories in the philosophical study of ignorance. In the course, we will study and critically discuss a range of texts in political epistemology, feminist epistemology, critical race studies, philosophy of social media, and philosophy of science.

Key questions:

- What is ignorance?
- What are the social and political dimensions of ignorance?
- Is ignorance always oppressive? If so, why? and if not, when not?
- Does ignorance have positive aspects/functions? Can ignorance fulfil liberatory goals?
- When is an agent culpably ignorant of their actions, meaning when is ignorance itself blameworthy?
- How can we identify and combat complex cases of ignorance in science scepticism and social media deception?

Course leader

Solmu Anttila is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at VU. Their PhD examines the foundations of political epistemology and also the fundamentals of the emerging field of normative political epistemology.

Target group

This course is aimed at master’s and advanced bachelor’s level students in Philosophy, Political Science and other social sciences, and PPE.

Course aim

By the end of this course:

Students will be making first steps towards navigating difficult philosophical concepts in traditional and social epistemology, as well as political and feminist theorizing on ignorance. In doing so, they will encounter various philosophical traditions and different forms of philosophical argumentation. What’s more, key concepts in epistemologies of ignorance correspond to pertinent societal issues, such as “white ignorance”, “epistemic echo chambers” or “science scepticism”. In addition to strengthening analytical skills and core philosophical competences, such as reading and argumentation, students will also learn to apply philosophical debates to every-day political and societal phenomena.

Fee info

EUR 800: -Students, PhD students and employees of VU Amsterdam: €500
-Students and PhD students: €600
-Professionals: €800
Applications received before 15 October €50 receive Early Bird Discount


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