A feminist primer for philosophers of science -- The legacy of twentieth century philosophy of science -- What feminist science studies can offer -- Challenges from every direction -- The prospects of twenty-first century philosophy of science.
Two major reasons feminists are concerned with science relate to science's social effects: that science can be a powerful ally in the struggle for equality for women; and that all too frequently science has been a generator and perpetuator of inequality. This concern with the social effects of science leads feminists to a different mode of appraising science from the purely epistemic one prized by most contemporary philosophers of science. The upshot, I suggest, is a new program for philosophy of (...) science, a program for a socially responsible philosophy of science. (shrink)
For centuries scientists have claimed that women are intellectually inferior to men and blacks are inferior to whites. Although these claims have been contested and corrected for centuries, they still continue to be made. Meanwhile, scientists have documented the harm done to women and blacks by the publication of such claims. Can anything be done to improve this situation? Freedom of research is universally recognized to be of first-rate importance. Yet, constraints on that freedom are also universally recognized. I consider (...) three of these constraints and argue for tighter restrictions on race- and gender-related cognitive differences research on their basis. (shrink)
Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values is a terrific book, chock full of valuable case studies and incisive analyses. It aims to be useful not only to students of philosophy of science and the other areas of science studies but also to practicing scientists, policymakers, and the public at large—a tall order. And it succeeds admirably for many of these folks. In my comments I suggest what it would need for the rest.
Science is based on facts—facts that are systematically gathered by a community of enquirers through detailed observation and experiment. In the twentieth century, however, philosophers of science claimed that the facts that scientists “gather” in this way are shaped by the theories scientists accept, and this seemed to threaten the authority of science. Call this the old worries about science. By contrast, what seemed not to threaten that authority were other factors that shaped the facts that scientists gather—for example, the (...) mere questions scientists pursue. Call this the old nonworries about science. What I suggest is that the old nonworries are turning out to be far more worrisome than the old worries, and I use recent goings-on such as the “Death of Evidence” protests in Canada, the “replication crisis,” and the ongoing feminist critiques of science to illustrate my case. All this raises interesting new questions for philosophers of science to tackle. (shrink)
Most areas of Western philosophy tend not only to ignore women, but also to perpetuate long-standing anti-feminine biases of society as a whole. This book demonstrates that feminist philosophy is not a separate area. Rather, it relates to at least most of the major areas of philosophy, and its gains will stand to benefit all philosophers no matter what their field--or gender.
Introduction: Philosophy in a Feminist Voice? / Janet A. Kourany History of Philosophy: Disappearing Ink: Early Modern Women Philosophers and Their Fate in History / Eileen O’Neill Philosophy of Persons: "Human Nature" and Its Role in Feminist Theory / Louise M. Antony Ethics: Feminist Reconceptualizations in Ethics / Virginia Held Political Philosophy: Feminism and Political Theory / Susan Moller Okin Aesthetics: Perceptions, Pleasures, Arts: Considering Aesthetics / Carolyn Korsmeyer Philosophy of Religion: Philosophy of Religion in Different Voices / Nancy Frankenberry (...) Epistemology: Voice and Voicelessness: A Modest Proposal? / Lorraine Code Philosophy of Science: A New Program for Philosophy of Science, in Many Voices / Janet A. Kourany Philosophy of Language: Semantics in a New Key / Andrea Nye Afterword: The Feminist as Other / Susan Bordo. (shrink)
The main message of Philosophy of Science after Feminism is twofold: that philosophy of science needs to locate science within its wider societal context, ceasing to analyze science as if it existed in a social/political/economic vacuum; and correlatively, that philosophy of science needs to aim for an understanding of scientific rationality that is appropriate to that context, a scientific rationality that integrates the ethical with the epistemic. The ideal of socially responsible science that the book puts forward, in fact, maintains (...) that sound social values as well as sound epistemic values must control every aspect of the scientific research process, from the choice of research questions to the communication and application of results. And it is this that raises troubling questions for Matt Brown, Hugh Lacey, and Libby Potter. In this paper I attempt to answer their questions and make explicit exactly what is in the offing if I succeed. (shrink)
In his "A New Program for Philosophy of Science?", Ronald Giere expresses qualms regarding the critical and political projects I advocate for philosophy of sciencethat the critical project assumes an underdetermination absent from actual science, and the political project takes us outside the professional pursuit of philosophy of science. In reply I contend that the underdetermination the critical project assumes does occur in actual science, and I provide a variety of examples to support this. And I contend that the political (...) project requires no more than what other academic fields even in science studies are already providing. (shrink)
Human enhancement—the attempt to overcome all human cognitive, emotional, and physical limitations using current technological developments—has been said to pose the most fundamental social and political question facing the world in the twenty-first century. Yet, the public remains ill prepared to deal with it. Indeed, controversy continues to swirl around human enhancement even among the very best-informed experts in the most relevant fields, with no end in sight. Why the ongoing stalemate in the discussion? I attempt to explain the central (...) features of the human enhancement debate and the empirical and normative shortcomings that help to keep it going. I argue that philosophers of science are especially well equipped to rectify these shortcomings, and I suggest that we may be deeply remiss if we don’t do so. (shrink)
In his “A New Program for Philosophy of Science?”, Ronald Giere expresses qualms regarding the critical and political projects I advocate for philosophy of science—that the critical project assumes an underdetermination absent from actual science, and the political project takes us outside the professional pursuit of philosophy of science. In reply I contend that the underdetermination the critical project assumes does occur in actual science, and I provide a variety of examples to support this. And I contend that the political (...) project requires no more than what other academic fields even in science studies are already providing. (shrink)
Among philosophers of science nearly a century ago the dominant attitude was that (in Rudolph Carnap’s words) philosophy of science was “like science itself, neutral with respect to practical aims, whether they are moral aims for the individual, or political aims for a society.” The dominant attitude today is not much different: our aim is still to articulate scientific rationality, and our understanding of that rationality still excludes the moral and political. I contrast this with the growing entanglements within the (...) sciences of the ethical and the epistemic, and I suggest ways in which philosophers of science can usefully respond. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, 100 Malloy Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556; e‐mail: [email protected] (shrink)
Table of Contents I. WHO ARE THE SCIENTISTS? Historically. Women in the Origins of Modern Science, Londa Schiebinger. Women of Third World Descent in the Sciences, Sandra Harding. Recently. Women in Science: Half In Half Out, Vivian Gornick.”How Can a Little Girl Like You Teach a Great Big Class of Men?’ the Chairman Said, and Other Adventures of a Woman in Science, Naomi Weisstein. The Anomaly of a Woman in Physics, Evelyn Fox Keller. Currently. Women Join the Ranks of Science (...) but Remain Invisible at the Top, Natalie Angier. Creeping Toward Inclusivity in Science, Phyllis Goldberg. II. WHAT KIND OF ENTERPRISE IS SCIENCE? Science’s Aims, Methods, and Norms of Behavior. Patriarchy, Scientists, and Nuclear Warriors, Brian Easlea. Culturally Inclusive Chemistry, Catherine Hurt Middlecamp. A World of Difference, Evelyn Fox Keller. Interviewing Women: A Contradiction in Terms, Ann Oakley. Science’s Subject Matter. Have Only Men Evolved?, Ruth Hubbard. Empathy, Polyandry, and the Myth of the Coy Female, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. The Importance of Feminist Critique for Contemporary Cell Biology, The Biology and Gender Study Group. The Engendering of Archaeology: Refiguring Feminist Science Studies, Alison Wylie. Still Seeking Transformation: Feminist Challenges to Psychology, Sue Wilkinson. Science’s Social Effects. Androcentric Bias in Clinical Research, Sue Rosser. Man-Made Medicine and Women’s Health, Nancy Krieger and Elizabeth Fee. The New Procreative Technologies, Ruth Hubbard. A Question of Genius: Are Men Really Smarter Than Women?, Anne Fausto-Sterling. III. WHAT KIND OF ENTERPRISE OUGHT SCIENCE TO BE? Feminist Empiricism. Subjects, Power, and Knowledge: Description and Prescription in Feminist Philosophies of Science, Helen Longino. Epistemological Communities, Lynn Hankinson Nelson. Feminist Standpoint Theory. ”Strong Objectivity’: A Response to the New Objectivity Question, Sandra Harding. Introduction to Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman, Joyce Ladner. Feminist Postmodernism. Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, Donna Haraway. Though This Be Method, Yet There Is Madness in It: Paranoia and Liberal Epistemology, Naomi Scheman. (shrink)
Nearly a half century ago, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Stephen Toulmin, Norwood Russell Hanson, and others issued a challenge to us philosophers of science to make our field more relevant to actual science. That challenge, over time, has elicited a number of useful responses but very few efforts to situate science within its wider social context when philosophizing about science. The unit of analysis for philosophy of science has tended to remain science-in-a-vacuum. I consider the justifications we offer for this (...) failure, our resources for change, and our prospects if we do change. (shrink)
In this book, Janet Kourany offers an antidote to the pervasive and pernicious strains in Western philosophy that discount women. Most areas of Western philosophy tend not only to ignore women, but also to perpetuate long-standing antifeminine biases of the society as a whole. It does not have to be this way. Rather than be part of the problem, philosophy can be a powerful force for much needed social change. In this collection of essays by some of the most noted (...) feminist philosophers, Kourany showcases ideas on the newest work of Western philosophy that is benefiting women as well as men. Included here are articles by Eileen O'Neill, Louise Antony, Virginia Held, Susan Okin, Carolyn Korsmeyer, Nancy Frankenberry, Lorraine Code, Janet Kourany, Andrea Nye, and Susan Bordo, all of whom show further directions in which philosophy ought to proceed.This book demonstrates that feminist philosophy is not a separate area of philosophy that can safely be ignored by philosophers not "in" it. Rather, it relates to at least most of the major areas of philosophy, and its gains will stand to benefit all philosophers, no matter what their field. (shrink)
The realism/antirealism controversy has gone on for centuries, and gives every indication that it will continue to go on for centuries. Dismayed, I take a closer look at it. I find that the question it poses--very roughly, whether scientific knowledge is true (approximately true, put forward as true, etc.) or only useful (empirically adequate, a convenient method of representation, etc.)--actually suppresses socially critical thought and discussion about science (e.g., concerning whether scientific knowledge is sexist or racist or socially harmful in (...) other ways, or whether scientific knowledge is useful for achieving the goals we have or the goals we ought to have). I find, as well, that two of the most important responses to the realism/antirealism controversy--that which construes it as concerned with science's aims and that which construes it as concerned with science's results--fail to make sufficient empirical or normative contact with science. As a consequence, they provide representations of science that either do not help scientists (or nonscientists) make informed decisions about science, or actually hinder these individuals from doing so. I conclude that we should either stop engaging in the realism/antirealism controversy entirely, or else engage in it in a more socially responsible way--by gathering the right kinds of empirical and normative data, and framing more helpful versions of the questions we want to ask. I end by responding to the strong objections sure to be voiced by my colleagues in philosophy of science. (shrink)
While there has been general agreement among modern philosophers of science that a purely a priori method is inappropriate to the task of establishing a theory of science, there has, unfortunately, been little comparable agreement regarding the method that is appropriate. I try to lay the foundations for such agreement. I first set out reasons for a purely empirical method for establishing a theory of science, and defend such a method against charges raised by Giere. I then develop some very (...) basic criteria for the evaluation of alternative empirical methods for establishing a theory of science, and use these criteria to evaluate the two such methods that have dominated philosophic discussion in recent years--those of Lakatos and Laudan. I end by defending a revised version of Lakatos' proposal. (shrink)
For some time now feminists have been pointing an accusing finger at science, urging that the relationship between women and science has been far from a beneficial one for women. Indeed, science has generally excluded women from its most important activities, feminists have charged, science has tended to leave women largely invisible in its knowledge and research, and science has often portrayed women, and things feminine, in negative terms when it has considered us. I suggest that the philosophy of science (...) has helped in various ways to keep these problems for women in science invisible and intact, and suggest a number of changes in philosophy of science to rectify the situation. (shrink)
A coherent and helpful public policy based on science is difficult to achieve for at least three reasons. First, there are purely practical problems—for example, that scientific experts often disagree on policy-relevant questions and their debates often continue well beyond policy appropriate timelines. Second, there are epistemic problems—for example, that science is hardly the neutral supplier of factual information that traditionally has been supposed. And third, there are social problems: given the commercialization of today’s science and its enduring limitations, much (...) of scientific research today fails to meet the moral and political standards one would expect it to meet in order to inform public policy. In this paper, we examine such problems in the context of breast cancer screening policy and suggest the role philosophy of science should play in dealing with the situation. (shrink)