What do ‘affirmative consent,’ ‘indigenous knowledge,’ and the trial of Bill Cosby have in common? In addition to being our discussion topics of the day, each controversy revolves around an epistemological war of words.
It’s a battle of definitions, as efforts to change or affect the social and political environment stretch beyond the political sphere. From the world of TV fantasy, monsters, and superheroes, to the real world that sometimes seems more unreal than the fantasies, the promotion of anti-concepts like ‘affirmative consent’ has already produced a host of real world injustices, not the least of which have been those directed at Bill Cosby.
Just as ‘social justice’ is not justice, so too, ‘affirmative consent’ is not consent.
And so too ‘indigenous knowledge’ is not ‘knowledge,’ particularly in the context of being used as an argument that ‘scientific knowledge is offensive.’ Nor are ‘indigenous’ rights true rights accorded to the individual. Yet these are the very things being asserted by Quebec’s indigenous leaders, at least two Quebec cabinet ministers, and several university law professors.