chapter  9
Are “Old Wives’ Tales” Justified?
Pages 28

Contemporary epistemological theories have validated this practice of what might be called “ep i s t emic discrimination” by developing definitions of knowledge and stipulating requirements for justification that traditional women’s beliefs have generally not met and, in fact, cannot meet. Cognitively successful agents are supposed to have the “right to be sure.”2 But the conditions required for earning this right virtually entail that our “ o l d wives” are banished to the epistemolog­ ical fringes. In this paper we shall argue that a more egalitarian epistemology is not only possible but also desirable on purely epistemic grounds. So, even though the investigation of why more men’s voices (rather than women’s) have the “ r i g h t to be sure” seems more ap­ propriate to a sociological study than to a philosophical one, we will show here that the delegitimation of traditional women’s knowledge is not only politically disturbing but also epistemologically specious.