Assessing the Role of Non-Epistemic Feminist Values in Scientific Inquiry

Behavior and Philosophy 31:225 - 249 (2003)
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Abstract

In this paper I examine the feminist claim that non-epistemic values ought to play a role in scientific inquiry. I examine four holist arguments that non-epistemic values ought to play a role not only in the external aspects of scientific inquiry such as problem selection and the ethics of experimentation but also in its internal aspects, those that have to do with epistemic justification. In supporting their conclusion, I argue that they establish that the traditional external/internal distinction has served as a marker for more fundamental distinctions between non-epistemic and epistemic values and between the means by which each are pursued. However, I also contend that these arguments do nothing to deny these distinctions between epistemic and non-epistemic values. Maintaining these distinctions, I argue for an epistemic holism suggesting ways in which both substantive claims about non-epistemic values and reliable processes/methods for the legitimization of non-epistemic values may also be truth-conducive, thereby serving the epistemic ends of scientific inquiry.

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William A. Rottschaefer
Boston University (PhD)

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