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Knowing Otherwise
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Table of Contents

ContentsAcknowledgmentsProloguePart 1: Mapping Implicit Understanding1. Theories of Implicit Understanding2. Racialized Common Sense 3. An Aesthetics of SensuousnessPart 2: Navigating Transformations4. Negative Affect and Whiteness5. Enacting Solidarity 6. A Knowing That Resided in My BonesReferencesIndex

About the Author

Alexis Shotwell is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada.

Reviews

"With its original interpretations of the importance of tacit knowledge to race and (trans)gender, Knowing Otherwise makes a significant contribution to social and political philosophy, epistemology, and especially feminist philosophy and critical philosophy of race. This book examines implicit knowledge to show how affective, emotional, and bodily understandings can contribute to political transformation. Shotwell convincingly demonstrates how the unspoken, and perhaps the unspeakable, frames the explicit knowledge that undergirds political activity."

-Shannon Sullivan, The Pennsylvania State University


"Exploring sensuous knowing that resists explicit formalization but is crucial to the possibility of a critical grasp of the world and the possibility of change, Alexis Shotwell investigates socially embedded, bodily, affective praxis that both registers and opens up truly `knowing otherwise.' Looking for sites of rupture of settled feeling and common sense, she explores the workings of shame that can move subjects beyond ineffective antiracist and antisexist guilt and asks how transformative social change may yet be possible. Her grasp of intersectional feminist philosophy, critical theory in the Marxist tradition, critical race theory, trans cultures and scholarship, philosophical approaches informed by Buddhist thought, and aesthetic theory after Kant is deep and creative. Knowing Otherwise is a wonderful, thoughtful, moving book."

-Donna Haraway, University of California, Santa Cruz


"Alexis Shotwell's Knowing Otherwise draws on eclectic literatures and ideas across political theory, cultural studies, aesthetics, and feminist and critical race theory to expand our vision of epistemology. Outlining the various forms of nonpropositional knowledge, she takes up their possibilities for personal and political transformation. Many of us have long been dissatisfied with philosophy's emphasis on the spoken word but lacked a framework for grasping how extralinguistic knowledge can really be understood-and especially for grasping its political import. Shotwell fills this gap.

"This is a courageous and ambitious book, and anyone who can meaningfully connect the likes of John Searle and Michael Polanyi with Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Audre Lorde, and Avery Gordon deserves to be named Young Philosopher of the Year. The writing is clear as a bell, while the argument is profoundly heterodox and original. Shotwell shatters conventional thinking about forms of knowledge without sacrificing nuance and while remaining true to her radical political intuitions. This is honest and attentive philosophy, rich at the level of example and responsible to political practice. It will be useful to analytic epistemologists, cognitive scientists, political theorists, feminist and critical race scholars, and anyone wanting to understand how knowing otherwise shapes participation in race and gender politics."-Cressida J. Heyes, University of Alberta


"Western philosophy has mostly been reluctant to acknowledge what many Eastern philosophers have found obvious, which is that bodily experience can constitute a source of radical insight. The suggestion that the body thinks has roots in Marxist thinking and in the work of some feminists, but Alexis Shotwell's engaging exploration, defense, and illustration of this idea goes well beyond any previous consideration in European and North American philosophy. Knowing Otherwise will certainly benefit philosophers and will provide philosophical strength and inspiration to activists for social justice."

-Susan Babbitt, Queen's University


"In Knowing Otherwise, Alexis Shotwell intervenes at the overlap of epistemology and social, political, moral, and anti-oppression philosophy to present a sustained consideration of how implicit understanding shapes possibilities for both oppressing and acting against oppression. . . . [This book] stands out for its adamant awareness of claims in a remarkable array of fields of scholarship, within epistemology and without."

-Ami Harbi, PhaenEx


"In Knowing Otherwise, Alexis Shotwell intervenes at the overlap of epistemology and social, political, moral, and anti-oppression philosophy to present a sustained consideration of how implicit understanding shapes possibilities for both oppressing and acting against oppression. . . . [The book] stands out for its adamant awareness of claims in a remarkable array of fields of scholarship, within epistemology and without. It bridges and brings into conversation theorists across diverse traditions. . . . The style of the text is natural and intellectually honest as Shotwell starts conversations among these diverse thinkers, then shows how such conversations helped generate her analysis. . . . One of the accomplishments of the book will be in granting theorists and moral, social, and political philosophers not positioned as epistemologists more access to questions of how knowledge conditions, motivates, and sustains action toward justice."

-Ami Harbin, PhaenEx


"Shotwell teases out connections among the implicit understandings that might be negotiated and transformed in one's habitus. She also addresses ways these understandings might pave paths toward responsible solidarity and, ultimately, social transformation."

-C. L. Lalonde, Choice


"Alexis Shotwell's book presents a complex account of the workings of our minds that are largely or even completely outside our awareness."

-Anne Jaap Jacobson, Philosophical Review

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