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Profile: Alison Wylie (University of Washington, Durham University)
  1. Alison Wylie (2003). Why Standpoint Matters. In Robert Figueroa & Sandra G. Harding (eds.), Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology. Routledge 26--48.
    Feminist standpoint theory has been marginal to mainstream philosophical analyses of science–indeed, it has been marginal to science studies generally–and it has had an uneasy reception among feminist theorists. Critics of standpoint theory have attributed to it untenable foundationalist assumptions about the social identities that can underpin an epistemically salient standpoint, and implausible claims about the epistemic privilege that should be accorded to those who occupy subdominant social locations. I disentangle what I take to be the promising core of feminist (...)
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  2. Alison Wylie (2012). Feminist Philosophy of Science: Standpoint Matters. Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophy Association 86 (2):47-76.
    Standpoint theory is an explicitly political as well as social epistemology. Its central insight is that epistemic advantage may accrue to those who are oppressed by structures of domination and discounted as knowers. Feminist standpoint theorists hold that gender is one dimension of social differentiation that can make such a difference. In response to two longstanding objections I argue that epistemically consequential standpoints need not be conceptualized in essentialist terms, and that they do not confer automatic or comprehensive epistemic privilege (...)
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  3. Harold Kincaid, John Dupré & Alison Wylie (eds.) (2007). Value-Free Science?: Ideals and Illusions. Oxford University Press.
    It has long been thought that science is our best hope for realizing objective knowledge, but that, to deliver on this promise, it must be value free. Things are not so simple, however, as recent work in science studies makes clear. The contributors to this volume investigate where and how values are involved in science, and examine the implications of this involvement for ideals of objectivity.
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  4.  27
    Alison Wylie & Sergio Sismondo (2015). Standpoint Theory, in Science. In James D. Wright (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier 324-330.
    Standpoint theory is based on the insight that those who are marginalized or oppressed have distinctive epistemic resources with which to understand social structures. Inasmuch as these structures shape our understanding of the natural and lifeworlds, standpoint theorists extend this principle to a range of biological and physical as well as social sciences. Standpoint theory has been articulated as a social epistemology and as an aligned methodological stance. It provides the rationale for ‘starting research from the margins’ and for expanding (...)
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  5.  60
    Alison Wylie (2015). A Plurality of Pluralisms: Collaborative Practice in Archaeology. In Jonathan Y. Tsou, Alan Richardson & Flavia Padovani (eds.), Objectivity in Science. Springer International Publishing 189-210.
    Innovative modes of collaboration between archaeologists and Indigenous communities are taking shape in a great many contexts, in the process transforming conventional research practice. While critics object that these partnerships cannot but compromise the objectivity of archaeological science, many of the archaeologists involved argue that their research is substantially enriched by them. I counter objections raised by internal critics and crystalized in philosophical terms by Boghossian, disentangling several different kinds of pluralism evident in these projects and offering an analysis of (...)
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  6.  86
    Alison Wylie, Kelly Koide, Marisol Marini & Marian Toledo (2014). Archaeology and Critical Feminism of Science: Interview with Alison Wylie. Scientiae Studia 12 (3):549-590.
    In this wide-ranging interview with three members of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil) Wylie explains how she came to work on philosophical issues raised in and by archaeology, describes the contextualist challenges to ‘received view’ models of confirmation and explanation in archaeology that inform her work on the status of evidence and contextual ideals of objectivity, and discusses the role of non-cognitive values in science. She also is pressed to explain what’s feminist about feminist (...)
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  7. Alison Wylie (2011). Critical Distance : Stabilising Evidential Claims in Archaeology. In Philip Dawid, William Twining & Mimi Vasilaki (eds.), Evidence, Inference and Enquiry. OUP/British Academy
    The vagaries of evidential reasoning in archaeology are notorious: the material traces that comprise the archaeological record are fragmentary and profoundly enigmatic, and the inferential gap that archaeologists must cross to constitute them as evidence of the cultural past is a peren­nial source of epistemic anxiety. And yet we know a great deal about the cultural past, including vast reaches of the past for which this material record is our only source of evidence. The contents of this record stand as (...)
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  8. Alison Wylie (2011). Women in Philosophy: The Costs of Exclusion—Editor's Introduction. Hypatia 26 (2):374-382.
    Philosophy has the dubious distinction of attracting and retaining proportionally fewer women than any other field in the humanities, indeed, fewer than in all but the most resolutely male-dominated of the sciences. This short article introduces a thematic cluster that brings together five short essays that probe the reasons for and the effects of these patterns of exclusion, not just of women but of diverse peoples of all kinds in Philosophy. It summarizes some of the demographic measures of exclusion that (...)
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  9.  49
    Alison Wylie (1999). Rethinking Unity as a "Working Hypothesis" for Philosophy: How Archaeologists Exploit the Disunities of Science. Perspectives on Science 7 (3):293-317.
    As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against global (...)
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  10.  18
    George P. Nicholas & Alison Wylie (2009). Archaeological Finds: Legacies of Appropriation, Modes of Response. In James O. Young & Conrad Brunk (eds.), The Ethics of Cultural Appropriation. Wiley 11--51.
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  11.  89
    Alison Wylie (2013). Editor's Pick: Hypatia, On A Collective Undertaking. The Philosophers' Magazine 62 (62):107-111.
    This article is a profile of the journal Hypatia for TPM: its founding, its mission, and central themes that figure in its close to 30 year publication history. When the first issues of Hypatia appeared in the mid-1980s they were the culmination, in the mid-1980s, of a decade-long process of visionary debate in the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) about what form a journal of feminist philosophy should take, and extended discussion of how to make it a reality. The (...)
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  12. Alison Wylie (2006). Introduction: When Difference Makes a Difference. Episteme 3 (1-2):1-7.
    Taking seriously the social dimensions of knowledge has put considerable pressure on the assumption that epistemic agents can usefully be thought of as autonomous, interchangeable individuals, capable, insofar as they are rational and objective, of transcending the specificities of personal history, experience, local context. If this idealization is abandoned as the point of departure for epistemic inquiry, then differences among concretely situated knowers come sharply into focus: differences in cognitive capacity, experience, and expertise; in access to information and the interpretive (...)
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  13.  55
    Lynn Hankinson Nelson & Alison Wylie (2004). Introduction: Special Issue on Feminist Science Studies. Hypatia 19 (1).
    Feminist analyses of science have grown dramatically in scope, diversity, and impact in the years since Nancy Tuana edited the two-volume issue of Hypatia on “Feminism and Science” (Fall 1987, Spring 1988). What had begun in the 1960s and 1970s as a “trickle of scholarship on feminism and science” had widened by the mid-1980s “into a continuous stream” (Rosser 1987, 5). Fifteen years later, the stream has become something of a torrent. The essays assembled for this special issue of Hypatia (...)
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  14. Alison Wylie (1996). Unification and Convergence in Archaeological Explanation: The Agricultural “Wave-of-Advance” and the Origins of Indo-European Languages. Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):1-30.
    Given the diversity of explanatory practices that is typical of the sciences a healthy pluralism would seem to be desirable where theories of explanation are concerned. Nevertheless, I argue that explanations are only unifying in Kitcher's unificationist sense if they are backed by the kind of understanding of underlying mechanisms, dispositions, constitutions, and dependencies that is central to a causalist account of explanation. This case can be made through analysis of Kitcher's account of the conditions under which apparent improvements in (...)
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  15.  44
    Alison Wylie (2006). Socially Naturalized Norms of Epistemic Rationality: Aggregation and Deliberation. Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (S1):43-48.
    In response to those who see rational deliberation as a source of epistemic norms and a model for well-functioning scientific inquiry, Solomon cites evidence that aggregative techniques often yield better results; deliberative processes are vulnerable to biasing mechanisms that impoverish the epistemic resources on which group judgments are based. I argue that aggregative techniques are similarly vulnerable and illustrate this in terms of the impact of gender schemas on both individual and collective judgment. A consistently externalist and socially naturalized approach (...)
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  16.  26
    Alison Wylie (2011). Epistemic Justice, Ignorance, and Procedural Objectivity—Editor's Introduction. Hypatia 26 (2):233-235.
  17.  50
    Alison Wylie (1986). Arguments for Scientific Realism: The Ascending Spiral. American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (3):287 - 297.
    Although I have little sympathy for Nagel's instrumentalism, his "dictum" on the debates over scientific realism (as Boyd refers to it) is disconcertingly accurate; it does seem as if "the already long controversy...can be prolonged indefinitely." The reason for this, however, is not that realists and instrumentalists are divided by merely terminological differences in their "preferred mode[s] of speech", indeed, this analysis appeals only if you are already convinced that realism of any robust sort is mistaken. The debates persist, instead, (...)
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  18.  63
    Alison Wylie (1994). Discourse, Practice, Context: From HPS to Interdisciplinary Science Studies. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:393 - 395.
    One of the most widely debated and influential implications of the "demise" of positivism was the realization, now a commonplace, that philosophy of science must be firmly grounded in an understanding of the history of science, and/or of contemporary scientific practice. While the nature of this alliance is still a matter of uneasy negotiation, the principle that philosophical analysis must engage "real" science has transformed philosophical practice in innumerable ways. This short paper is the introduction to a symposium presented at (...)
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  19.  21
    Alison Wylie (2005). The Promise and Perils of an Ethic of Stewardship. In Lynn Meskell & Peter Pels (eds.), Embedding Ethics. Berg 47--68.
  20.  3
    Alison Wylie (2014). Community-Based Collaborative Archaeology. In Nancy Cartwright & Eleonora Montuschi (eds.), Philosophy of Social Science: A New Introduction. 68-82.
    I focus here on archaeologists who work with Indigenous descendant communities in North America and address two key questions raised by their practice about the advantages of situated inquiry. First, what exactly are the benefits of collaborative practice—what does it contribute, in this case to archaeology? And, second, what is the philosophical rationale for collaborative practice? Why is it that, counter-intuitively for many, collaborative practice has the capacity to improve archaeology in its own terms and to provoke critical scrutiny of (...)
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  21.  26
    Alison Wylie (1995). Doing Philosophy As a Feminist: Longino on the Search for a Feminist Epistemology. Philosophical Topics 23 (2):345-358.
  22.  94
    Frank Ankersmit, Mark Bevir, Paul Roth, Aviezer Tucker & Alison Wylie (2007). The Philosophy of History: An Agenda. Journal of the Philosophy of History 1 (1):1-9.
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  23.  13
    Alison Wylie (1999). Science, Conservation, and Stewardship: Evolving Codes of Conduct in Archaeology. Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (3):319-336.
    The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has developed an extensive body of ethics guidelines for its members, most actively in the last two decades. This coincides with the period in which the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has taken a strong stand on the need for its affiliates to develop clear. enforceable codes of conduct. The ethics guidelines instituted by the SAA now realize the central recommendations of the AAAS, and in this they illustrate both the importance (...)
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  24.  69
    Alison Wylie (2011). Pornography Embodied: Joan Mason-Grant Remembered (1958–2009). Hypatia 26 (1):130-131.
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  25.  4
    Alison Wylie (2011). What Knowers Know Well: Women, Work, and the Academy. In Heidi E. Grasswick (ed.), Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. 157-179.
    Research on the status and experience of women in academia in the last 30 years has challenged conventional explanations of persistent gender inequality, bringing into sharp focus the cumulative impact of small scale, often unintentional differences in recognition and response: the patterns of 'post-civil rights era' dis­crimination made famous by the 1999 report on the status of women in the MIT School of Science. I argue that feminist standpoint theory is a useful resource for understanding how this sea change in (...)
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  26.  4
    Alison Wylie (1994). The Trouble With Numbers: Workplace Climate Issues in Archeology. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 5 (1):65-71.
    My aim here is to focus attention on a shift, over the last decade, in how gender inequity in understood in North American academic settings, and to draw out some implications for the analysis of the status of women in archaeology.
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  27.  69
    Alison Wylie, Elizabeth Potter & Wenda K. Bauchspies (2010). Feminist Perspectives on Science. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Feminists have a number of distinct interests in, and perspectives on, science. The tools of science have been a crucial resource for understanding the nature, impact, and prospects for changing gender-based forms of oppression; in this spirit, feminists actively draw on, and contribute to, the research programs of a wide range of sciences. At the same time, feminists have identified the sciences as a source as well as a locus of gender inequalities: the institutions of science have a long tradition (...)
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  28.  4
    Alison Wylie (1987). The Philosophy of Ambivalence: Sandra Harding onThe Science Question in Feminism. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (sup1):58-73.
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  29.  23
    Alison Wylie (1995). Unification and Convergence in Archaeological Explanation. Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (Supplement):1-30.
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  30.  3
    Alison Wylie (1993). Facts and Fictions: Writing Archaeology in a Different Voice. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 17:5-25.
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  31.  3
    Alison Wylie (1993). 'Invented Lands/Discovered Pasts': The Westward Expansion of Myth and History. Historical Archaeology 27 (4):1-19.
  32.  7
    Alison Wylie (2000). Feminism in Philosophy of Science: Making Sense of Contingency and Constraint. In Miranda Fricker & Jennifer Hornsby (eds.), Cambridge Companion to Feminism in Philosophy. Cambridge University Press 166--184.
  33.  3
    Alison Wylie (1992). Feminist Theories of Social Power: Some Implications for a Processual Archaeology. Norwegian Archaeological Review 25 (1):51-68.
    Recent feminist analyses of power constitute a resource for theorizing power that archaeologists cannot afford to ignore given the importance of ‘post‐processual’ arguments that social relations, in which power is a central dimension, are as constitutive of system level dynamics as is the environment in which cultural systems are situated. I argue that they are important on two fronts: they articulate a dynamic, situational conception of power that resists reification, and they suggest a strategy for circumventing the polarized debates over (...)
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  34. Alison Wylie (1996). Ethical Dilemmas in Archaeological Practice: Looting, Repatriation, Stewardship, and the (Trans) Formation of Disciplinary Identity. Perspectives on Science 4:154-194.
     
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  35. Alison Wylie (1991). Gender Theory and the Archaeological Record. In Margaret W. Conkey & Joan M. Gero (eds.), Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory. Basil Blackwell 31-54.
  36. Alison Wylie (2007). The Feminist Question in Science: What Does It Mean to 'Do Social Science as a Feminist"? In Sharlene Hesse-Biber (ed.), Handbook of Feminist Research. Sage 567-578.
     
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  37.  9
    Alison Wylie (1986). REVIEW: One World and Our Knowledge of It by J. F. Rosenberg. International Studies in Philosophy 18 (3):83-85.
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  38.  2
    Alison Wylie (1985). Between Philosophy and Archaeology. American Antiquity 50:478-490.
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  39.  2
    Alison Wylie, Kathleen Okruhlik, Leslie Thielen-Wilson & Sandra Morton (1989). Feminist Critiques of Science: The Epistemological and Methodological Literature. Women's Studies International Forum 12 (3):379-388.
    Feminist critiques of science are widely dispersed and often quite inaccessible as a body of literature. We describe briefly some of the influences evident in this literature and identify several key themes which are central to current debates. This is the introduction to a bibliography of general critiques of science, described as the “core literature,” and a selection of feminist critiques of biology. Our objective has been to identify those analyses which raise reflexive (epistemological and methodological) questions about the status (...)
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  40.  2
    Alison Wylie (1992). On "Heavily Decomposing Red Herrings": Scientific Methodology in Archaeology and the Ladening of Evidence with Theory. In Robert S. Cohen & Lester Embree (eds.), Metaarchaeology. Springer Netherlands 269-288.
    Internal debates over the status and aims of archaeology—between processualists and post or anti-processualists—have been so sharply adversarial, and have generated such sharply polarized positions, that they obscure much common ground. Despite strong rhetorical opposition, in practice, all employ a range of strategies for building and assessing the empirical credibility of their claims that reveals a common commitment to some form of mitigated objectivism. To articulate what this comes to, an account is given of how archaeological data may be ‘laden (...)
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  41.  2
    Alison Wylie (1982). Epistemological Issues Raised by a Structuralist Archaeology. In Ian Hodder (ed.), Symbolic and Structural Archaeology. Cambridge University Press 39-46.
    Insofar as the material residues of interest to archaeologists are cultural and, as such, have specifically symbolic significance, it is argued that archaeology must employ some form of structuralist analysis (i.e. as specifically concerned with this aspect of the material). Wylie examines the prevalent notion that such analysis is inevitably 'unscientific' because it deals with a dimension of material culture which is inaccessible of any direct, empirical investigation, and argues that this rests on an entrenched misconception of science; it assumes (...)
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  42.  2
    Alison Wylie (1992). On Scepticism, Philosophy, and Archaeological Science. Current Anthropology 33 (2):209-214.
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  43.  2
    Alison Wylie (1997). The Engendering of Archaeology Refiguring Feminist Science Studies. Osiris 12:80-99.
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  44.  2
    Alison Wylie (1992). The Interplay of Evidential Constraints and Political Interests: Recent Archaeological Research on Gender. American Antiquity 57 (1):15.
    In the last few years, conference programs and publications have begun to appear that reflect a growing interest, among North American archaeologists, in research initiatives that focus on women and gender as subjects of investigation. One of the central questions raised by these developments has to do with their "objectivity" and that of archaeology as a whole. To the extent that they are inspired by or aligned with explicitly political (feminist) commitments, the question arises of whether they do not themselves (...)
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  45.  25
    Alison Wylie (2006). When Difference Makes a Difference. Episteme 3 (1-2):1-7.
    Taking seriously the social dimensions of knowledge puts pressure on the assumption that epistemic agents can usefully be thought of as autonomous, interchangeable individuals, capable, insofar as they are rational and objective, of transcending the specificities of personal history, experience, and context. If this idealization is abandoned as the point of departure for epistemic inquiry, then differences among situated knowers come sharply into focus. These include differences in cognitive capacity, experience, and expertise; in access to information and the heuristics that (...)
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  46.  2
    Alison Wylie (1985). The Reaction Against Analogy. Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 8:63-111.
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  47.  1
    Alison Wylie (1989). Matters of Fact and Matters of Interest. In Steven Shennan (ed.), Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity. Unwin Hyman 94-109.
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  48.  1
    Alison Wylie (1982). An Analogy by Any Other Name is Just as Analogical: A Commentary on the Gould-Watson Dialogue,. Anthropological Archaeology 1:382-401.
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  49.  1
    Alison Wylie (1994). Evidential Constraints: Pragmatic Objectivism in Archaeology. In Michael McIntyre & Lee McIntyre (eds.), Readings in the Philosophy of Social Science. MIT Press 747-765.
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  50.  1
    Alison Wylie (1992). On a Hierarchy of Purposes: Typological Theory and Practice. Current Anthropology 33 (4):486-491.
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