Reflecting upon the recent growth of interest in feminist ideas of philosophy of science, this book traces the development of the subject within the confines of feminist philosophy. It is designed to introduce the newcomer to the main ideas that form the subject area with a view to equipping students with all the major arguments and standpoints required to understand this burgeoning area of study. Arranged thematically, the book looks at the spectrum of views that have arisen in the debate. (...) It is broadly arranged into sections dealing with concepts such as the notion of value free-science, values, objectivity, point of view and relativism, but also details the many subsidiary ideas that have sprung from these topics. (shrink)
**No longer the current version available on SEP; see revised version by Sharon Crasnow** -/- Feminists have a number of distinct interests in, and perspectives on, science. The tools of science have been a crucial resource for understanding the nature, impact, and prospects for changing gender-based forms of oppression; in this spirit, feminists actively draw on, and contribute to, the research programs of a wide range of sciences. At the same time, feminists have identified the sciences as a source as (...) well as a locus of gender inequalities: the institutions of science have a long tradition of excluding women as practitioners; feminist critics of science find that women and gender (or, more broadly, issues of concern to women and sex/gender minorities) are routinely marginalized as subjects of scientific inquiry, or are treated in ways that reproduce gender-normative stereotypes; and, closing the circle, scientific authority has frequently served to rationalize the kinds of social roles and institutions that feminists call into question. -/- Feminist perspectives on science therefore reflect a broad spectrum of epistemic attitudes toward and appraisals of science. Some urge the reform of gender inequities in the institutions of science and call for attention to neglected questions with the aim of improving the sciences in their own terms; they do not challenge the standards and practices of the sciences they engage. Others pursue jointly critical and constructive programs of research that, to varying degrees, aim at transforming the methodologies, substantive content, framework assumptions, and epistemic ideals that animate the sciences. The content of these perspectives, and the degree to which they generate transformative critique, depends not only on the types of philosophical and political commitments that inform them but also on the nature of the sciences and subject domains on which they bear. Feminist perspectives have had greatest impact on sciences that deal with inherently gendered subjects—the social and human sciences—and, secondarily, on sciences that study subjects characterized in gendered terms, metaphorically or by analogy (projectively gendered subjects), chiefly the biological and life sciences. Feminist perspectives are relevant to sciences that deal with non-gendered subject matters, but perspectives vary substantially in content and in critical import depending on the sciences and the particular research programs they engage. (shrink)
Feminist perspectives have been increasingly influential on philosophy of science. Feminism and Philosophy of Science is designed to introduce the newcomer to the central themes, issues and arguments of this burgeoning area of study. Elizabeth Potter engages in a rigorous and well-organized study that takes in the views of key feminist theorists - Nelson, Wylie, Anderson, Longino and Harding - whose arguments exemplify contemporary feminist philosophy of science. The book is divided into six chapters looking at important themes: naturalized feminist (...) empiricism feminist value theory feminist conceptual empiricism standpoint epistemologies of science value-free science Arranged thematically, F eminism and Philosophy of Science looks at the spectrum of views that have arisen in the debate, and unpicks the arguments on key topics such as value-free science, values, objectivity, point of view and relativism. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, and is written in an accessible, student-friendly style. It will be an important read for students of philosophy, philosophy of science, gender studies and feminist studies. (shrink)
I argue against the assumption that the influence of non-cognitive values must lead to bad science, opening the way for the thesis that non-cognitive values are compatible with good science. This, in turn, allows us to answer feminist questions, principally, How do gender politics influence science? without (1) having to reject the question a priori because theories of science assume that political values cannot influence good scientific work and (2) having made a case for the influence of gender politics upon (...) a particular bit of scientific work, being put into the ludicrous position of saying that it is bad science after all, even though the relevant community of scientists say it is good. Nevertheless, moral and political neutrality is held to be a norm of good science and a tacit metaphilosophical norm governing good philosophy of science, viz., a good philosophy of science reveals and analyzes the morally and politically neutral production of good science. This metaphilosophical norm insures that the philosophy of science (1) is blind to the influence of non-cognitive values on good science if and when these are present and so (2) acquiesces in the moral or political arrangements supported by the science in question. (shrink)
Feminist science scholars need models of science that allow feminist accounts, not only of the inception and reception of scientific theories, but of their content as well. I argue that a "Network Model," properly modified, makes clear theoretically how race, sex and class considerations can influence the content of scientific theories. The adoption of the "corpuscular philosophy" by Robert Boyle and other Puritan scientists during the English Civil War offers us a good case on which to test such a model. (...) According to these men, the minute corpuscles constituting the physical world are dead, not alive; passive, not active. I argue that they chose the principle that matter is passive in part because its contrary, the principle that matter is alive and self-moving, had a radical social meaning and use to the women and men working for progressive change in mid-seventeenth century England. (shrink)
This chapter contains section titled: Convergence upon Empiricism in Feminist Accounts of the Justification of Scientific Knowledge Convergence upon Empiricism in Treatments of Contextual Values Bibliography.
I argue against the assumption that the influence of non-cognitive values must lead to bad science and against the methodological norm that seems to some philosophers to follow from it, viz. that a good philosophy of science should analyze the morally and politically neutral production of good science. Against these, I argue for the assumption that non-cognitive values are compatible with good science and for the metaphilosophical norm that a good philosophy of science should allow us to see whether and (...) how non-cognitive values influence good science. In pursuit of one of its scandalous goals, viz. determining whether and when gender politics influence good scientific work, feminist philosophy of science is well served by this methodological norm. (shrink)