Articles  |    |  July 1, 1995

Artificial intelligence and women’s knowledge: What can feminist epistemologies tell us?

Article by Alison Adam.
Published in Women’s Studies International Forum.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science which seeks to model intelligent human behavior on a computer. In this paper the way in which symbolic AI is predicated on a traditional rationalist epistemology is described. Traditional criticisms of AI converge on the possibility of creating true artificial intelligence, whereas a feminist argument looks instead to the cultural setting of AI — whose knowledge and what type of knowledge is to be represented. Feminist epistemology can be used to support and to extend these arguments in two main directions, both of which have links to other philosophical or sociological traditions. The first direction focuses on the knowing subject and the second is concerned with the distinction between “knowing that” and “knowing how,” or the prepositional/skills distinction.