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Title:The bonds of friendship: Prolegomena to a feminist account of epistemology and responsibility
Author(s):Thompson, Audrey Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Page, Ralph C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:As the prolegomena to a feminist account of epistemology and responsibility, the dissertation undertakes to examine relationship as a key factor in our construction of interpersonal knowledge and responsibility. Friendship, as a relatively uninstitutionalized but by no means unstructured relationship, represents a particularly important focus for inquiry into relationship in that it is at once personal and public, though normally celebrated as a strictly private relationship. In addressing questions of epistemology and responsibility, the dissertation focuses primarily on friendship, looking at the expectations we develop of friendship, how we explain and understand as well as justify and honor those expectations, and at how such expectations fit with our other goals and commitments.
The project to which the dissertation addresses itself is the setting forth of an account of friendship in which both feminist and pragmatic philosophical and political analyses are brought to bear. This approach draws upon the methodology of John Dewey and Sara Ruddick, addressing everyday experience as problematic and addressing practical responses to situations as grounded in what Dewey calls funded experience. Accordingly, both sociological research and fiction play an important role in identifying distinctive concerns and assumptions associated with friendship in American culture. While the dissertation does not itself lay out an account of knowledge and responsibility, it seeks to lay the ground for such an account by identifying both philosophical and political dimensions of relationship and by reconceptualizing existing theoretical accounts of friendship as political and practical responses to particular social contexts.
By looking at friendship not as an ideal but as a problematic relation importantly caught up with other commitments, it becomes possible to reassess certain expectations and disappointments regarding friendship that appear invalid when judged in terms of ideals. The dissertation compares three distinctive cultural orientations towards value and meaning in friendship and seeks to illuminate these in terms of their function with respect to both the private and the public spheres. By addressing both structural and qualitative dimensions of friendship in Western, patriarchal and capitalist society, the author hopes to lay the groundwork for a feminist account of knowledge and responsibility in friendship.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Thompson, Audrey Ann
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9114439
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9114439

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