Biology is seen not merely as a privileged oppressor of women but as a co-victim of masculinist social assumptions. We see feminist critique as one of the normative controls that any scientist must perform whenever analyzing data, and we seek to demonstrate what has happened when this control has not been utilized. Narratives of fertilization and sex determination traditionally have been modeled on the cultural patterns of male/female interaction, leading to gender associations being placed on cells and their components. We (...) also find that when gender biases are controlled, new perceptions of these intracellular and extracellular relationships emerge. (shrink)
Anna Pautz has recently argued that the pretense theory of thought about fiction cannot explain how two people can count as thinking about the same fictional character. This is based on conflating pretending and the serious thought that can be based on pretend. With this distinction in place, her objections are groundless.
Helen Longino's account of objectivity has been highly regarded by both feminist and mainstream philosophers of science. However, I have encountered three feminist philosophers who have all offered one especially compelling feminist critique of Longino's view: far from vindicating or privileging the work of feminist scientists, Longino's account actually requires the active cultivation of anti-feminist and misogynist scientists to balance out the possibility of feminist bias. I call this objection the Nazi problem, for the particular version that claims that her (...) view requires even the active cultivation of Nazi scientists in objective inquiry. In this paper I consider one response to the Nazi problem, which I call the good faith argument. I show that the good faith argument itself is just as objectionable, on feminist grounds, as the Nazi problem it is meant to address. (shrink)
Can a naturalist earn the right to talk of a shared empirical world? Hume famously thought not, and contemporary stipulative naturalists infer from this inability that the demand is somehow unnatural. The critical naturalist, by contrast, claims to earn that right. In this paper, I motivate critical naturalism, arguing first that stipulative naturalism is question begging, and second, that the pessimism it inherits from Hume about whether the problem can be solved is misplaced. Hume's mistake was to mis-identify exemplary contexts (...) of thought: thought is a kind of action, better exemplified at the backgammon table or the dinner party than in the study. By earning the right to this environment-involving conception of thought, the critical naturalist can address, rather than avoid, the explanatory problem Hume uncovered. (shrink)
The tension between equity and excellence is fundamental in science policy. This tension might appear to be resolved through the use of merit-based evaluation as a criterion for research funding. This is not the case. Merit-based decision making alone is insufficient because of inequality aversion, a fundamental tendency of people to avoid extremely unequal distributions. The distribution of performance in science is extremely unequal, and no decision maker with the power to establish a distribution of public money would dare to (...) match the level of inequality in research performance. We argue that decision makers who increase concentration of resources because they accept that research resources should be distributed according to merit probably implement less inequality than would be justified by differences in research performance. Here we show that the consequences are likely to be suppression of incentives for the very best scientists. The consequences for the performance of a national research system may be substantial. Decision makers are unaware of the issue, as they operate with distributional assumptions of normality that guide our everyday intuitions. (shrink)
My dissertation combines philosophy of science and political philosophy. Drawing directly on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre and inspired by John Dewey, I develop two rival conceptions of scientific practice. I show that these rivals are closely linked to the two basic sides in the science and values debate -- the debate over the extent to which ethical and political values may legitimately influence scientific inquiry. Finally, I start to develop an account of justice that is sensitive to these legitimate (...) and illegitimate influences. (shrink)
This essay critically examines economist and philosopher Amartya Sen's writings as a potential resource in religious ethicists' efforts to analyze discrimination against girls and women and to address their well-being and agency. Delineating how Sen's discussions of "missing women" and "gender and cooperative conflict" fit within his "capability approach" to economic and human development, the article explores how Sen's methodology employs empirical analysis toward normative ends. Those ends expand the capability of girls and women to function in all aspects of (...) their society. It concludes with a discussion of ways to engage Sen's work within religious ethics. (shrink)
Experiments with young infants provide evidence for early-developing capacities to represent physical objects and to reason about object motion. Early physical reasoning accords with 2 constraints at the center of mature physical conceptions: continuity and solidity. It fails to accord with 2 constraints that may be peripheral to mature conceptions: gravity and inertia. These experiments suggest that cognition develops concurrently with perception and action and that development leads to the enrichment of conceptions around an unchanging core. The experiments challenge claims (...) that cognition develops on a foundation of perceptual or motor experience, that initial conceptions are inappropriate to the world, and that initial conceptions are abandoned or radically.. (shrink)
Through interviews with lesbian and gay journalists in Texas, the authors consider ethical decision making surrounding the phenomenon of outing. Outing is defined as the unauthorized mediated identification of gay and lesbian public figures who are not public about their sexual identih. This article discusses theoretical issues of ethics as they relate to the phenomenon of outing and applies that framework to the analysis of the interviews and a forum. The research found that in individual interviews journalists were more likely (...) to discuss outing as it related to their personal lives and their identification with the lesbian and gay community. However, when brought together in a group, these same journalists tended to discuss outing as it applies to journalistic norms. This article concludes with a suggestion for research on the intersection between outing and AIDS. (shrink)
BB&T’s initiative to fund programs on the moral foundations of capitalism is evaluated by reference to the criteria of academic freedom, integrity, and philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand’s status as an intellectual.