Research

My research focuses on making sense of perspective in knowledge. I am especially interested in how to flourish within the various abilities and constraints that we encounter as particular, historically and socially situated, human knowers. My published work includes an analysis of agent-awareness in Ernest Sosa’s virtue epistemology (Erkenntnis, 2019) and an essay on willful hermeneutical ignorance and its relevance to climate science denial (under review). I am also working on examining the use of perspective metaphors in theories of the first person perspective. My current research direction focuses on the intersection of social epistemology and feminist epistemology.

Publications

Mason, S. “Agent-Awareness in Reflective Knowledge”. Erkenntnis, Vol 84: 239-255 (2019).
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10670-017-9956-5

Mason. S. “Climate Change Denial as Willful Hermeneutical Ignorance”. [Under Review].

In Progress

“Structural Epistemic Injustice: Resisting Oppression through Revised Epistemologies”  Global Structural Injustice and Minority Rights Conference, Northeastern University; Boston, MA: March 13-15, 2020

“Getting Some Perspective on the First Person Perspective”  American Philosophical Association, Central Division Meeting; Chicago, IL: February 26-29, 2020

Abstract of conference version:

Perspectives talk is ubiquitous in philosophy. The notion of a perspective is employed in discussions of phenomena as varied as self-consciousness, higher-order knowledge, agency, practical rationality, and epistemic rationality. Usages such as the “first person perspective,” “the perspective of the agent,” and “an epistemic perspective” are familiar enough that it is easy to forget that these locutions employ the concept of perspective as a metaphor. In this paper, I argue that the use of the perspective metaphor has non-trivial implications for how the phenomena theorized about is conceptualized. I begin with a brief discussion of what metaphors are and how they work, focusing on ontological metaphors. I then argue that there are two distinct concepts of a perspective that serve as distinct source domains for perspective metaphors: an indexical objective (IO) perspective, and an holistic interpretative (HI) perspective. These two source domains form the basis for quite different ways of conceptualizing phenomena in the target domain. In the final section, I apply this analysis to a particular context where perspective metaphors are frequently employed: that of the first person perspective. Each of these source domains suggests different problems and possibilities in thinking about the first person perspective.

“Survivor Standpoints: Evaluating Standpoint Theory through Research on Modern Slavery”  Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World Annual Conference; Conway, AR: July 2019