(Series copy) The new Oxford Readings in Feminism series maps the dramatic influence of feminist theory on every branch of academic knowledge. Offering feminist perspectives on disciplines from history to science, each book assembles the most important articles written on its field in the last ten to fifteen years. Old stereotypes are challenged and traditional attitudes upset in these lively-- and sometimes controversial--volumes, all of which are edited by feminists prominent in their particular field. Comprehensive, accessible, and intellectually (...) daring, the Oxford Readings in Feminism series is vital reading for anyone interested in the effects of feminist ideas within the academy. Can science be gender-neutral? In recent years, feminist critics have raised troubling questions about the practice and goals of traditional science, demonstrating the existence of a pervasive bias in the ways in which scientists conduct and discuss their work. This exciting volume gathers seventeen essays--by sociologists, scientists, historians, and philosophers--of seminal significance in the emerging field of feminist science studies. Analyzing topics from the stereotype of the "Man of Reason" to the "romantic" language of reproductive biology, these fascinating essays challenge readers to take a fresh look at the limitations--and possibilities--of scientific knowledge. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science has been criticized on several counts. On the one hand, it is claimed that it results in relativism of the worst sort since the political commitment to feminism is prima facie incompatible with scientific objectivity. On the other hand, when critics acknowledge that there may be some value in work that feminists have done, they comment that there is nothing particularly feminist about their accounts. I argue that both criticisms can be addressed through a (...) better understanding of the current work in feminist epistemology. I offer an examination of standpoint theory as an illustration. Harding and Wylie have suggested ways in which the objectivity question can be addressed. These two accounts, together with a third approach, ‘model-based objectivity’, indicate there is a clear sense in which we can understand how standpoint theory both contributes to a better understanding of scientific knowledge and can provide a feminist epistemology. (shrink)
The “context of discovery” and “context of justification” distinction has been used by Noretta Koertge and Lynn Hankinson Nelson in debates over the legitimacy of feminist approaches to philosophy of science. Koertge uses the context distinction to focus the conversation by barring certain approaches. I contend this focus masks points of true disagreement about the nature of justification. Nonetheless, Koertge raises important questions that have been too quickly set aside by some. I conclude that the context distinction should not (...) be used to block feminist philosophy of science because the use of the context distinction is deeply ambiguous, masking underlying debates about naturalism and the nature of justification. (shrink)
A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
This collection of essays, first published two decades ago, presents central feminist critiques and analyses of natural and social sciences and their philosophies. Unfortunately, in spite of the brilliant body of research and scholarship in these fields in subsequent decades, the insights of these essays remain as timely now as they were then: philosophy and the sciences still presume kinds of social innocence to which they are not entitled. The essays focus on Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx; on (...) the 'adversary method' model of philosophic reasoning; on principles of individuation on philosophical ontology and philosophy of language; on individualistic assumptions in psychology; functionalism in sociological and biological theory; evolutionary theory; the methodology of political science; and conceptions of objective inquiry in the sciences. In taking insights of both Liberal and Marxian women's movements into the purportedly most abstract and value-free areas of Western thought, these essays chart sexist and androcentric assumptions, claims and practices in the cognitive, technical cores of Western sciences and their philosophies. They begin to identify the distinctive aspects of women's experiences and locations in male-supremacist social structures which can provide resources needed for the creation of post-androcentric thinking in research, scholarship, and public policy. Such uses of feminist insights remain controversial today, and even among some feminists. These authors were all junior researchers and scholars two decades ago; today many are among the most distinguished senior scholars in their fields. Their work here provides a splendid opportunity for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in philosophy and the social sciences to explore some of the most intriguing and controversial challenges to disciplinary projects and to public policy today. (shrink)
Feminist perspectives have been increasingly influential on philosophy of science. Feminism and Philosophy of Science is designed to introduce the newcomer to the central themes, issues and arguments of this burgeoning area of study. Elizabeth Potter engages in a rigorous and well-organized study that takes in the views of key feminist theorists - Nelson, Wylie, Anderson, Longino and Harding - whose arguments exemplify contemporary feminist philosophy of science. The book is divided into six chapters looking at (...) important themes: naturalized feminist empiricism feminist value theory feminist conceptual empiricism standpoint epistemologies of science value-free science Arranged thematically, F eminism and Philosophy of Science looks at the spectrum of views that have arisen in the debate, and unpicks the arguments on key topics such as value-free science, values, objectivity, point of view and relativism. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, and is written in an accessible, student-friendly style. It will be an important read for students of philosophy, philosophy of science, gender studies and feminist studies. (shrink)
Feminist theorists have shown that knowledge is embodied in ways that make a difference in science. Intemann properly endorses feminist standpoint theory over Longino’s empiricism, insofar as the former better addresses embodiment. I argue that a pragmatist analysis further improves standpoint theory: Pragmatism avoids the radical subjectivity that otherwise leaves us unable to account for our ability to share scientific knowledge across bodies of different kinds; and it allows us to argue for the inclusion, not just of the knowledge (...) produced from marginalised bodies, but of the marginalised themselves. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of science appears to present problems for the ideal of value-free science. These difficulties also challenge a traditional understanding of the objectivity of science. However, feminist philosophers of science have good reasons for desiring to retain some concept of objectivity. The present essay considers several recent and influential feminist approaches to the role of social and political values in science, with particular focus on feminist empiricism and feminist standpoint theory. The similarities and difference, (...) as well as the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches are explored. The essay concludes with suggestions for future research in the area of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. (shrink)
We offer a critical analysis of the science and politics of global climate change from a feminist pragmatist perspective, with special attention to the interactions between science and policy. We find the current state of play in all three areas (science, policy, and the space of interaction between them) to be lacking. We attribute mutual responsibility for the current impasse in addressing the climate crisis. What is called for is an alternative framework for thinking about science (...) and policy interactions, which we sketch in general and in application to the increasingly serious problem of global climate change. (shrink)
This book presents the current feminist critique of science and the philosophy of science in such a way that students of philosophy of science, philosophers, feminist theorists, and scientists will find the material accessible and intellectually rigorous.Contemporary feminist debate, as well as the debate brought on by the radical critics of science, assumes—incorrectly—that certain movements in philosophy of science and science-driven theory are understood in their dynamics as well as in their details. All too (...) often, labels such as “Kuhnian” or “positivistic” are taken for granted, and much of the contemporary postmodern or post-structuralist feminist theory that sets out to criticize science does little to alleviate the reader’s lack of knowledge with regard to such movements.Unlike other texts, Philosophies of Science: Feminist Theories provides a student-oriented framework so that, for example, positivism is given a thorough grounding before the feminist critique of such epistemological theory is given. Other movements discussed include the Kuhnian turn, sociology of science, and the radical critique of science. Feminist theory and critique are interwoven throughout, with one chapter devoted to feminist thought, which includes the work of such thinkers as Longino, Hararway, Hubbard, Nelson, Harding, and Keller. (shrink)
: The relationship between facts and values—in particular, naturalism and normativity—poses an ongoing challenge for feminist science studies. Some have argued that the fact/value holism of W.V. Quine's naturalized epistemology holds promise. I argue that Quinean epistemology, while appropriately naturalized, might weaken the normative force of feminist claims. I then show that Quinean epistemic themes are unnecessary for feminist science studies. The empirical nature of our work provides us with all the naturalized normativity we need.
If feminists argue for the irreducibility of the social dimensions of science, then they ought to embrace the idea that feminist and non-feminist scientists are not in collaboration, but in fact defend different interests. Instead, however, contemporary feminist science studies literature argues that feminist research improves particular, existing scientific enterprises, both epistemically (truer claims) and politically (more democratic methodologies and applications). I argue that the concepts of empirical success and democracy at work in this literature from Longino (1994) (...) and Harding (1996), to Longino (2002), Gilbert and Rader (2001), and Keller (2001) are not sufficiently critical, and fail to do justice to the truly revolutionary work done by feminist scientists. I offer the beginnings of an epistemology of dissensus (as opposed to consensus), using the work of Haraway (1978), Lyotard (1984), and Ziarek (2001). How would such an epistemology relate to feminist discussions of the possibility of democratic, responsible knowledge? (shrink)
Women themselves, for the most part, think of themselves as the sensible sex, whose business it is to undo the harm that comes of men's impetuous follies. For my part, I distrust all generalizations about women, favourable and unfavourable, masculine and feminine, ancient and modern; all alike, I should say, result from paucity of experience.
: This paper explores models of reflexive feminist science studies through the work of Donna Haraway. The paper argues that Haraway provides an important account of science studies that is both feminist and constructivist. However, her concepts of "situated knowledges" and "diffraction" need further development to be adequate models of feminist science studies. To develop this constructivist and feminist project requires a collective research program that engages with feminist reflexivity as a practice.
This paper explores a number of recent proposals regarding "feminist science" and rejects a content-based approach in favor of a process-based approach to characterizing feminist science. Philosophy of science can yield models of scientific reasoning that illuminate the interaction between cultural values and ideology and scientific inquiry. While we can use these models to expose masculine and other forms of bias, we can also use them to defend the introduction of assumptions grounded in feminist political values.
This paper examines the conclusions that one must draw from the finding that there are values in science. The value-ladenness of scientific claims puts the nature and role of empirical evidence into question, as seen in recent discussions in the philosophy of medicine regarding evidence-based medicine and feminist science studies, which maintains the normativity of its feminist claims. Within the critical literature and debates surrounding evidence-based medicine (EBM), one finds a championing of the lessons learned from post-positivist (...) class='Hi'>science studies: the evidence-based effort to ground medical decision-making in the most rigorous sources of scientific evidence obscures the social values that necessarily enter into all decision-making contexts, the complex social context of clinical practice being no exception. The critics of EBM claim that to try to derive a formal methodology governed by pre-established rules, guidelines, and hierarchies of information misplaces the contextual and social features of biomedical knowledge and practice, thereby obscuring the power interests that so problematically dictate large factions of biomedical research and practice. Yet possible relativist implications follow from this finding, and we find that the EBM critics amply criticize EBM’s tacit theory of evidence, but then fail to formulate a constructive alternative theory of evidence within this fact-value interplay. After overviewing some such criticisms of evidence-based medicine, I turn to contemporary critical science studies, especially the feminist empiricism of Lynn Hankinson Nelson and Helen Longino, for workable alternative theories of evidence within a framework of normative scientific claims. I will suggest these theories fail to guide medical decision-making because of some undesirable consequences of Quinean fact-value holism: the denial that our values have logical content and are therefore not empirically examinable relativises even these nuanced conceptions of evidence. A naturalized look at how facts and values actually interact in medical decision-making suggests that this fact/value holism is not realistic. I provide an illustrative example of a physician devising a treatment recommendation for a patient to demonstrate that in practice, facts and values intermingle in the decision-making process without indeterminacy and subsequent appeals to moral and political frameworks, as feminist empiricism suggests. In the end, value-laden evidence can retain its adjudicative force and normativity. (shrink)
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 represent a vibrant fi eld of scholarship that has matured and diversifi ed in many respects, and that presupposes a number of hard-won insights that were just beginning to emerge in the mid-1980s. To take the measure of these developments, consider briefl y where we have come from. (shrink)
Feminist contributions to the science curricula in higher education constitute invaluable but often overlooked resources for truly effective communication about science. Here I share a sampling of feminist science studies and discuss the origins of this effort to create inclusive and less biased science curricula that serve all students and citizens. Challenges from scientists center on assumptions and values about the appropriate relationship between science and politics, while challenges from educators extend to assumptions about how (...)science has been taught. Currently, national and local curriculum transformation efforts are producing useful insights and materials. (shrink)
This article examines the best contemporary arguments for a feminist epistemology of scientific knowledge as found in recent works by S. Harding. I argue that no feminist epistemology of science is worthy of the name, because such an epistemology fails to escape well-known vicissitudes of epistemic relativism. But feminist epistemology merits attention from philosophers of science because it is part of a larger relativist turn in the social sciences and humanities that now aims to extend its critique to (...)science, and Harding's "standpoint feminism" is the best-developed case. She attempts to make new use of discredited philosophical ideas concerning underdetermination, Planck's Hypothesis, and the role of counterfactuals in historical studies of science. (shrink)
This paper analyzes the claim that the Left Vienna Circle (LVC) offers a theoretical and historical precedent for a politically engaged philosophy of science today. I describe the model for a political philosophy of science advanced by LVC historians. They offer this model as a moderate, properly philosophical approach to political philosophy of science that is rooted in the analytic tradition. This disciplinary-historical framing leads to weaknesses in LVC scholars' conception of the history of the LVC and (...) its contemporary relevance. In this light, I examine the claim that there are productive enrichments to be gained from the engagement of feminist philosophy of science with the LVC, finding this claim ill-formulated. The case of LVC historiography and feminist philosophy of science presents a revealing study in the uses and ethics of disciplinary history, showing how feminist and other perspectives are misconceived and marginalized by forms of disciplinary self-narrativizing. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Building on developments in feminist science scholarship and the philosophy of science, I advocate two methodological principles as elements of a naturalized philosophy of science. One principle incorporates a holistic account of evidence inclusive of claims and theories informed by and/or expressive of politics and non-constitutive values; the second takes communities, rather than individual scientists, to be the primary loci of scientific knowledge. I use case studies to demonstrate that these methodological principles satisfy three criteria for naturalization (...) accepted in naturalized philosophy of science, and allow for the differential assessment of episodes in which values and sociopolitical factors inform, or contribute to the adoption of, theories for which there is sufficient evidential warrant — and episodes in which such factors inform, or contribute to the adoption of, theories for which there is not. I contend that in terms of their empirical and normative import, these principles constitute a further naturalization of the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Feminist writers argue that values permeate science. Using Ernan McMullin's discussion of values in science as a guide, the feminist position is accepted and an attempt is made to show why their position is one which should be noted by conventional philosophers of science.
I argue against the assumption that the influence of non-cognitive values must lead to bad science and against the methodological norm that seems to some philosophers to follow from it, viz. that a good philosophy of science should analyze the morally and politically neutral production of good science. Against these, I argue for the assumption that non-cognitive values are compatible with good science and for the metaphilosophical norm that a good philosophy of science should allow (...) us to see whether and how non-cognitive values influence good science. In pursuit of one of its scandalous goals, viz. determining whether and when gender politics influence good scientific work, feminist philosophy of science is well served by this methodological norm. (shrink)
This paper deals with two questions. First, if all scientists were perfect Popperians, how much influence could their background values and experiences have? It is argued that background can play a role in problem choice and in the constructing and testing of hypotheses. Second, do the ideals of feminism suggest the need for a new methodology and epistemology for science? In answering this question, Harding's paper in this volume is discussed.
Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science argue (...) that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their “feminine” cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women's activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender has played a.. (shrink)
: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.
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 of excluding women as practitioners; feminist critics of science find that women and gender (or, more broadly, issues of concern to women and sex/gender minorities) are routinely marginalized as subjects of scientific inquiry, or are treated in ways that reproduce gender-normative stereotypes; and, closing the circle, scientific authority has frequently served to rationalize the kinds of social roles and institutions that feminists call into question. -/- Feminist perspectives on science therefore reflect a broad spectrum of epistemic attitudes toward and appraisals of science. Some urge the reform of gender inequities in the institutions of science and call for attention to neglected questions with the aim of improving the sciences in their own terms; they do not challenge the standards and practices of the sciences they engage. Others pursue jointly critical and constructive programs of research that, to varying degrees, aim at transforming the methodologies, substantive content, framework assumptions, and epistemic ideals that animate the sciences. The content of these perspectives, and the degree to which they generate transformative critique, depends not only on the types of philosophical and political commitments that inform them but also on the nature of the sciences and subject domains on which they bear. Feminist perspectives have had greatest impact on sciences that deal with inherently gendered subjects—the social and human sciences—and, secondarily, on sciences that study subjects characterized in gendered terms, metaphorically or by analogy (projectively gendered subjects), chiefly the biological and life sciences. Feminist perspectives are relevant to sciences that deal with non-gendered subject matters, but perspectives vary substantially in content and in critical import depending on the sciences and the particular research programs they engage. (shrink)
: This essay offers a short overview of feminist history of science and introduces a new project into that history, namely feminist history of colonial science. My case study focuses on eighteenth-century voyages of scientific discovery and reveals how gender relations in Europe and the colonies honed selective collecting practices. Cultural, economic, and political trends discouraged the transfer from the New World to the Old of abortifacients (widely used by Amerindian and African women in the West Indies).1.
While most of healthcare research and practice fully endorses evidence-based healthcare, a minority view borrows popular themes from philosophy of science like underdetermination and value-ladenness to question the legitimacy of the evidence-based movement’s philosophical underpinnings. While the feminist origins go unacknowledged, those critics adopt a feminist reading of the “gap argument” to challenge the perceived objectivism of evidence-based practice. From there, the critics seem to despair over the “subjective elements” that values introduce to clinical reasoning, demonstrating that they do (...) not subscribe to feminist science studies’ normative program——where contextual values can enable good science and justified decisions. In this paper, I investigate why it is that the critics of evidence-based medicine adopt feminist science’s characterization of the problem but resist the productive solutions offered by those same theorists. I suggest that the common feminist empiricist appeal to idealized epistemic communities is impractical for those working within the current biomedical context and instead offer an alternate stream of feminist research into the empirical content of values (found in the work of Elizabeth Anderson and Sharyn Clough) as a more helpful recourse for facilitating the important task of legitimate and justified clinical decision-making. I use a case study on clinical decision-making to illustrate the fruitfulness of the latter feminist empiricist framework. -/- Keywords: Evidence; Underdetermination; Gap Argument; Value Judgments; Value-laden Inquiry; Feminist Epistemology of Science; Evidence-based Medicine; Clinical Reasoning; Epistemic Communities. (shrink)
During the scientific revolution reductionism and mechanism were introduced together. These concepts remained intertwined through much of the ensuing history of philosophy and science, resulting in the privileging of approaches to research that focus on the smallest bits of nature. This combination of concepts has been the object of intense feminist criticism, as it encourages biological determinism, narrows researchers’ choices of problems and methods, and allows researchers to ignore the contextual features of the phenomena they investigate. I argue (...) that the historical link between mechanism and reductionism is not a necessary one, that this link should be severed, and in many cases has already been severed. Teasing reductionism away from mechanism allows us to hold onto the mechanistic view that science should explain how things work, without mandating methods and approaches that reduce the objects of scientific investigation to their smallest parts. Mechanism without reductionism decenters reductive methods, and so creates intellectual space for a plurality of methods that may engage the world at a variety of levels of organization. This ensuing pluralism opens the door for a wide variety of approaches to research, including feminist and gender-sensitive science. (shrink)
: This paper investigates the mutual embeddedness of "nature" and "culture," as well as the intersections between race, gender, and sexuality, in the story of the HeLa cell line as viewed by a practicing feminist scientist. It provides a feminist analysis of the scientific discourse surrounding the HeLa cell line, and explores how feminist theories of science can provide a constructive and critical lens through which laboratory scientists can view their work.
: Despite the development of a vast body of literature pertaining to feminism and science, examples of how feminist philosophies might be applied to scientific theories and practice have been limited. Moreover, most scientists remain unfamiliar with how feminism pertains to their work. Using the example of the immune system, this paper applies three feminist epistemologies--feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint theory, and feminist postmodernism--to assess competing claims of immune function within a feminist context.
In this issue of Hypatia there is a consensus that science is not value-neutral and that cultural/political concerns enter into the epistemology, methodology and conclusions of scientific theory and practice. In future dialogues the question that needs to be further addressed is the precise role political concerns should play in the formulation of a feminist theory and practice of science.
This survey of major developments in North American philosophy of science begins with the mid-1960s consolidation of the disciplinary synthesis of internalist history and philosophy of science (HPS) as a response to criticisms of logical empiricism. These developments are grouped for discussion under the following headings: historical metamethodologies, scientific realisms, philosophies of the special sciences, revivals of empiricism, cognitivist naturalisms, social epistemologies, feminist theories of science, studies of experiment and the disunity of science, and studies of (...)science as practice and culture. A unifying theme of the survey is the relation between historical metamethodologists and scientific realists, which dominated philosophical work in the late 1970s. I argue that many of the alternative cognitive naturalisms, social epistemologies, and feminist theories that have been proposed can be understood as analogues to the differences between metamethodological theories of scientific rationality and realist accounts of successful reference to real causal processes. Recent work on experiment, scientific practice, and the culture of science may, however, challenge the underlying conception of the field according to which realism and historical rationalism (or their descendants) are the important alternatives available, and thus may take philosophy of science in new directions. (shrink)
In this paper I set out the problem of feminist social science as the need to explain and justify its method of theory choice in relation to both its own theories and those of androcentric social science. In doing this, it needs to avoid both a positivism which denies the impact of values on scientific theory-choice and a radical relativism which undercuts the emancipatory potential of feminist research. From the relevant literature I offer two possible solutions: the Holistic (...) and the Constructivist models of theory-choice. I then rate these models according to what extent they solve the problem of feminist social science. I argue that the principal distinction between these models is in their contrasting conceptions of truth. Solving the problem of feminist social science will require understanding that what is at stake in the debate is our conception of truth. This understanding will serve to clarify, though not resolve, the various approaches to and disagreements over methodologies and explanations in feminist social science. (shrink)
This essay delineates the contributions of feminist critiques of science to contemporary reconstructions of empiricism. I argue that three central tenets arise from feminist attention to the dynamics of gender and oppression in the theories and methods of science: 1) a rejection of the science/politics dichotomy; 2) an acknowledgement of the epistemic import of subjective components of knowledge; and 3) a reconfiguration of the subject of knowledge. These three tenets are illustrated and supported through examples from the (...) history of science. (shrink)
: Although a rich tradition of feminist critiques of science exists, it is often difficult for feminists who are scientists to bridge these critiques with practical transformations in scientific knowledge production. In this paper, I go beyond the general bases of feminist critiques of science by using feminist theory in science to illustrate how a practical transformation in methodology can change molecular biology based research in the reproductive sciences.
Feminist philosophy of science has led to improvements in the practices and products of scientific knowledge-making, and in this way it exemplifies socially relevant philosophy of science. It has also yielded important insights and original research questions for philosophy. Feminist scholarship on science thus presents a worthy thought-model for considering how we might build a more socially relevant philosophy of science—the question posed by the editors of this special issue. In this analysis of the history, contributions, (...) and challenges faced by feminist philosophy of science, I argue that engaged case study work and interdisciplinarity have been central to the success of feminist philosophy of science in producing socially relevant scholarship, and that its future lies in the continued development of robust and dynamic philosophical frameworks for modeling social values in science. Feminist philosophers of science, however, have often encountered marginalization and persistent misunderstandings, challenges that must be addressed within the institutional and intellectual culture of American philosophy. (shrink)
Marjorie Shostak's ethnography, Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman, is analyzed as a case study of feminist social science. Three principles of feminist research are suggested as standards for evaluation. After discussion of the principles and analysis of the text, I raise a criticism of the principles as currently sketched. The entire project is framed by the question of how best to resolve conflict between researcher and participant accounts.
Applying the insights of Donna Haraway (1989, 1991) and Helen Longino (1989, 1990), this paper reviews Sandra Harding's (1986a) tripartite model of feminist critiques of science-empiricist, standpoint, and postmodern-and argues that it is based on misunderstandings of the relationship between scientific inquiry, objectivity, and values. An alternative view of scientific inquiry makes it possible to see feminist scientists as postmodern and postmodern feminists as having standpoints.
The claim is made that although she undervalues the work in question, Zita poses important questions for feminist philosophers of science. Reference is made to further evidence supporting Harding's extended argument that science is neither characterized by objectivity nor value-free, and a concern which may have some relationship to Zita's "feminist question of the science question in feminism" is noted.
Some exceptional and surprising mistakes of scholarship made in the writings of a number of feminist academics (Ruth Bleier, Ruth Hubbard, Susan Bordo, Sandra Harding, and Rae Langton) are examined in detail. This essay offers the psychological hypothesis that these mistakes were the result of political passion and concludes with some remarks about the ability of the social sciences to study the effect of the politics of the researcher on the quality of his or her research.