Philosophy of Science after Feminism

Philosophy of Science after Feminism

Philosophy of Science after Feminism

Philosophy of Science after Feminism

Synopsis

In this monograph Janet A. Kourany argues for a philosophy of science more socially engaged and socially responsible than the philosophy of science we have now. The central questions feminist scientists, philosophers, and historians have been raising about science during the last three decades form Kourany's point of departure and her response to these questions builds on their insights. This way of approaching science differs from mainstream philosophy of science in two crucial respects: it locates science within its wider societal context rather than treating science as if it existed in a social, political, and economic vacuum; and it points the way to a more comprehensive understanding of scientific rationality, one that integrates the ethical with the epistemic. Kourany develops her particular response, dubbed by her the ideal of socially responsible science, beyond the gender-related questions and contexts that form its origins and she defends it against a variety of challenges, epistemological, historical, sociological, economic, and political. She ends by displaying the important new directions philosophy of science can take and the impressive new roles philosophers of science can fill with the approach to science she offers.

Excerpt

The goal of Philosophy of Science after Feminism is to provide the blueprint for a philosophy of science more socially engaged and socially responsible than the philosophy of science we have now, a philosophy of science that can help to promote a science more socially engaged and socially responsible than the science we have now. Feminists—feminist scientists and historians of science, as well as feminist philosophers of science—have already been pursuing this kind of philosophy of science in gender-related areas for three decades now. The strategy I adopt is to develop from their work a comprehensive new program of research for philosophy of science. How do I do this?

Chapter 1 introduces the kinds of normative questions regarding science feminists have been pursuing. These questions locate science within its wider societal context, investigating science’s epistemic aspects as they are entangled with science’s ethical, sociopolitical, and economic aspects. These questions are contrasted with the normative questions regarding science that mainstream philosophy of science currently pursues, the questions that investigate science’s epistemic aspects in isolation from science’s societal context.

Chapter 2 explores the twentieth-century roots of contemporary philosophy of science and its penchant for dealing with science as if science existed in a social/political/economic vacuum. It uncovers no defensible reasons, epistemic or otherwise, to indulge this penchant and many reasons not to. It also uncovers, in the early-twentieth-century work of the Vienna Circle, an important historical precedent for doing philosophy of science in a more socially connected way. A contemporary program for a “contextualized” philosophy of science inspired by the work of feminists might therefore be an attractive option.

Chapter 3 thus takes up the feminists’ normative questions regarding science introduced in chapter 1 together with the various feminist science studies approaches they have engendered: the methodological approach rationalized by the ideal of value-free science, the social approach rationalized by the social-value-management ideal of science, and the naturalist approaches rationalized by the empiricist ideal of science. In the end, however, a new approach is found necessary: a political approach rationalized . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.