That We May Be Whole: Doing Philosophy of Religion with the Whole Self

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

January 2020

Publication Title

The Lost Sheep in Philosophy of Religion: New Perspectives on Disability, Gender, Race, and Animals


In this article I draw on feminist theories of epistemic oppression and standpoint epistemology to argue that we cannot afford to continue to pretend that we actually occupy it or that those of us who are capable of remaining uninvested and disinterested manage to draw closer to it than others. In the first section I sketch the dangers of attempting to do philosophy of religion from this fictional perspective. In particular, I will argue that it creates in gaps in our collective knowledge—or what we might call, following Kristie Dotson, ‘reliable ignorance.’ This ignorance, although not necessarily, initially culpable, when embraced and reinforced, becomes pernicious. It is pernicious in at least two respects. First, it causes us to do epistemic violence to our philosophical peers. Failing to see certain people as knowers, we quiet their testimony or force them to smother it themselves. Second, it distorts the results of our philosophical inquiry. They end up false at best, or positively harmful at worst. In the second section I will gesture towards some attitudes and a practices that would help move philosophy of religion toward greater epistemic justice and more accurate theories.