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)
Political science research, particularly in international relations and comparative politics, has increasingly become dominated by statistical and formal approaches. The promise of these approaches shifted the methodological emphasis away from case study research. In response, supporters of case study research argue that case studies provide evidence for causal claims that is not available through statistical and formal research methods, and many have advocated multimethod research. I propose a way of understanding the integration of multiple methodologies in which the causes sought (...) in case studies are treated as singular causation and contingent on a theoretical framework. (shrink)
The eight essays contained in Philosophical Feminism and Popular Culture explore the portrayal of women and various philosophical responses to that portrayal in contemporary post-civil rights society. The essays examine visual, print, and performance media — stand-up comedy, movies, television, and a blockbuster trilogy of novel. These philosophical feminist analyses of popular culture consider the possibilities, both positive and negative, that popular culture presents for articulating the structure of the social and cultural practices in which gender matters, and for changing (...) these practices if and when they follow from, lead to, or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of gender. The essays bring feminist voices to the conversation about gender where is it taking place and attest to the importance of feminist critique in what is sometimes claimed to be a post-feminist era. (shrink)
This collection showcases the work of 18 analytical feminists from a variety of traditional areas of philosophy. It highlights successful uses of concepts and approaches from traditional philosophy, and illustrates the contributions that feminist approaches have made and could make to the analysis of issues in key areas of traditional philosophy, while also demonstrating that traditional philosophy ignores feminist insights and feminist critiques of traditional philosophy at its own peril.
In its most recent form, the debate about the relationship between quantitative and qualitative methodology in political science has been shaped by the publication of Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research by Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba in 1994 (hereafter DSI). The focus of this debate has been case study research. DSI advocates that qualitative research, particularly case study research, be modeled on the template of quantitative research. The authors claim that all research has the (...) same logic of inquiry and that this is most clearly exemplified in quantitative work. I argue that the underlying philosophy of science of DSI is monistic and positivistic in ways not productive for understanding various different purposes that political science knowledge may have. Different methodologies have different strengths and so are suited to different ends. I examine this in relation to Julian Reiss’s discussion of different concepts of causality and argue that case study research is suited to understanding causal mechanisms in ways that make such research better suited to inform policy decisions. I finish with an example using David Fearon’s 2006 Congressional Testimony on Iraq. (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)
: Through a discussion of the way science has been used to address intersexuality, I explore an idea about how to understand science as objective and yet influenced by social, historical, and cultural factors. I propose that the Semantic View of theories provides a means of understanding how science describes reality, and I look at the way science has been used to distinguish the sexes to provide an illustration.
Arthur Fine's Natural Ontological Attitude (NOA) is intended to provide an alternative to both realism and antirealism. I argue that the most plausible meaning of "natural" in NOA is "nonphilosophical," but that Fine comes to NOA through a particular conception of philosophy. I suggest that instead of a natural attitude we should adopt a philosophical attitude. This is one that is self-conscious, pragmatic, pluralistic, and sensitive to context. I conclude that when scientific realism and antirealism are viewed with a philosophical (...) attitude there are still legitimate philosophical questions to address. (shrink)
In Science as Social Knowledge, Helen Longino offers a contextual analysis of evidential relevance. She claims that this "contextual empiricism" reconciles the objectivity of science with the claim that science is socially constructed. I argue that while her account does offer key insights into the role that values play in science, her claim that science is nonetheless objective is problematic.