Shifting Ground: Knowledge and Reality, Transgression and Trustworthiness

Naomi Scheman

Research output: Book/ReportBook

10 Scopus citations


This volume of chapters brings together the text's views on epistemic and socio-political issues, views that draw on a critical reading of Wittgenstein as well as on liberatory movements and theories, all in the service of a fundamental reorientation of epistemology. For some theorists, epistemology is an essentially foundationalist and hence discredited enterprise; for others-particularly analytic epistemologists-it remains rigorously segregated from political concerns. The text makes a compelling case for the necessity of thinking epistemologically in fundamentally altered ways. Arguing that it is an illusion of privilege to think that we can do without usable articulations of concepts such as truth, reality, and objectivity, it maintains (as in the title of one of her chapters) that epistemology needs to be "resuscitated" as an explicitly political endeavor, with trustworthiness at its heart. While each chapter contributes to a specific conversation, taken together they argue for addressing theoretical questions as they arise concretely. Truth, reality, objectivity, and other concepts that problematically rest on shifting ground are more than philosophical toys, and the ground-shifting these chapters enact is a move away from abstruse theorizing-analytic and post-structuralist alike. Following Wittgenstein's injunctions to just look, to attend to the "rough ground" of everyday practices, the text argues for finding philosophical insight in such acts of attention and in the difficulties that beset them. These chapters are an attempt to grasp something in particular, to get a handle on a set of problems, and collectively they represent a fresh model of passionate philosophical engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages264
ISBN (Electronic)9780190267483
ISBN (Print)9780195395112
StatePublished - May 27 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2011 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Epistemic issues
  • Epistemology
  • Socio-political issues
  • Wittgenstein


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