From Falsehood to Truth, and From Truth to Error [Book Review]

Analysis 83 (2):405-416 (2023)
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Critical notice of Puddifoot, Katherine. 2021. How Stereotypes Deceive Us. NY: OUP.--------- Kathy Puddifoot makes a compelling and enlightening case for a striking pair of claims: 1) false stereotypes sometimes steer us to the truth, while 2) true stereotypes often lead us into error. This is a wonderful book, a seamless integration of epistemology with ethics, of philosophy with social science, and of “mainstream” or “Western analytic” approaches with marginalized and underappreciated contributions from critical social traditions, especially black feminism. The integrations are so seamless, in fact, as to give the reader the impression that Puddifoot is simply picking up conversations already underway. Instead, she has done a tremendous service in bringing representatives from wide-ranging, often-siloed disciplines into dialogue. Another virtue of Puddifoot’s book is how thoroughly it maps out the actual and possible views and logical spaces revolving around each topic she addresses. How Stereotypes Deceive Us could therefore be used to introduce budding epistemologists to the field, as it offers clear and careful explanations of leading approaches to a range of topics, including virtue epistemology, theory of mind, and more.

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Alex Madva
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona


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