The Amherst Lecture In Philosophy.

Lecture 16, 2023

“Situated Knowledge and Situated Values: Co-Designing Social Justice”
Sally Haslanger
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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An important feature of theoretical projects that aim to promote social justice is their com- mitment to empowering those in oppressive circumstances so that they can solve their own problems. One argument for this is that the oppressed have situated knowledge - both moral knowledge and empirical knowledge of the circumstances - that others lack. I argue in this lecture that another way to understand this commitment is by exploring how values evolve in the context of social practices and draw on the work of Marshall Ganz, and others, to provide a case study. If social values are contingent historically and materially grounded constructions, then change will involve a process of reconstructing existing values or constructing them anew in practice. I argue that such path dependency is compatible with values – and social justice – being objective, but not to be discovered by theory alone.

Preferred citation
Haslanger, Sally. “Situated Knowledge and Situated Values: Co-Designing Social Justice.” The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy 16 (2023): 1–26. < haslanger2023/>.