Can We Talk About Feminist Epistemic Values Beyond Gender? Lessons from the Gut Microbiome

Biological Theory 15 (1):25-38 (2020)

I examine the feminist epistemic values in science, presented by Helen Longino, and their role in framing microbiome causality in the study of inflammatory bowel disease. In particular, I show how values presented as feminist give an alternative view in scientific theories—focusing on ontological heterogeneity and mutuality of interactions rather than simplicity and one causal direction—when looking at relations between organisms and microorganisms, and between organisms and their environment. I identify two approaches in microbiome study, an immunological approach that looks at the microbiome pathogenicity and an ecological approach that studies the microbial activity and functions. I show the puzzles stemming from the traditional background beliefs of the immune self and germ theory in the study of IBD causality. Furthermore, I argue for the benefits of a shift to the ecological view of body-microbe interrelations. I conclude with the benefits and advantages of feminist values over traditional ones, both in creating new ways of understanding organisms’ physiology and immune systems and for future biomedical studies involving microbiome causality.
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DOI 10.1007/s13752-019-00335-5
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References found in this work BETA

The Value of Cognitive Values.Heather Douglas - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):796-806.
Epistemic Values and the Argument From Inductive Risk.Daniel Steel - 2010 - Philosophy of Science 77 (1):14-34.
Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Values in Science: Rethinking the Dichotomy.Helen E. Longino - 1996 - In Lynn Hankinson Nelson & Jack Nelson (eds.), Feminism, Science, and the Philosophy of Science. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 39--58.

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