Medicine Studies 3 (2):117-123 (2011)

What does it mean to practice socially responsible science on controversial issues? In a fresh turn focussing on the neuroscientists’ responsibility in producing knowledge about politically charged subjects, Chalfin et al. (Am J Bioethics 8(1):1–2, 2008) caution neuroscientists to be careful about how they present their findings lest their results be used to support unfounded biases, social stereotypes and prejudices. Weisberg et al. (J Cogn Neurosci 20(3):470–477, 2008) discuss the allure of neuroscience explanations and demonstrate how laypersons easily accept dubious claims as long as (even non-relevant) neuroscientific descriptions are provided. Fine (2010) exposes the use of scientific evidence in propagating outdated gender myths by popular writers and discusses the infiltration of these prejudices into popular belief, folk culture and lifestyle. This paper discusses ways in which the ‘neuroscience of gender difference’ itself inadvertently contributes to normalising socially constructed theories about sex difference in cognitive performance. This unpremeditated effect has evident implications on the structuring of society because gender relations cut across social, political and economic boundaries. We present a theoretical reflection of factors that could interact with the scientists’ attempted objective evaluation of the subject, the methods and some principle problems, and we engage a science studies approach as our methodological tool. Our object of critique is drawn from the research on spatial abilities that articulate the dissention pertaining to sex differences in intellectual capacity
Keywords Ethics  Politics and Social Implications
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12376-011-0068-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,878
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact.Ludwik Fleck - 1979 - University of Chicago Press.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ontological Commitments, Sex and Gender.Mari Mikkola - 2011 - In Charlotte Witt (ed.), Feminist Metaphysics. Springer. pp. 67--83.
Methodological Issues in the Construction of Gender as a Meaningful Variable in Scientific Studies of Cognition.Phyllis Rooney - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:109 - 119.


Added to PP index

Total views
56 ( #185,504 of 2,438,939 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #434,623 of 2,438,939 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes