Social Epistemology (TBA):1-28 (2013)

Maya J. Goldenberg
University of Guelph
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. See response by Sharyn Clough: See reply by Maya Goldenberg:
Keywords feminist epistemology of science  underdetermination  evidence based medicine  epistemic communities  medical epistemology  Longino
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DOI 10.1080/02691728.2013.794871
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References found in this work BETA

The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.
Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?Sandra Harding - 1991 - Cornell University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Diversity in Epistemic Communities: A Response to Clough.Maya J. Goldenberg - 2014 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective Vol. 3, No. 5.
Feminist Theories of Evidence and Research Communities: A Reply to Goldenberg.Sharyn Clough - 2013 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (12):72-76.

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