Philosophies of Science/Feminist Theories

Philosophies of Science/Feminist Theories

Philosophies of Science/Feminist Theories

Philosophies of Science/Feminist Theories


This book presents the current feminist critique of science & the philosophy of science in such a way that students of philosophy of science, philosophers, feminist theorists, & scientists will find the material accessible & intellectually rigorous. Contemporary feminist debate, as well as the debate brought on by the radical critics of science, assumes-incorrectly-that certain movements in philosophy of science & science-driven theory are understood in their dynamics as well as in their details. All too often, labels such as "Kuhnian" or "positivistic" are taken for granted, & much of the contemporary post-modern or post-structuralist feminist theory that sets out to criticize science does little to alleviate the reader's lack of knowledge with regard to such movements. Unlike other texts, Philosophies of Science: Feminist Theories provides a student-oriented framework so that, for example, positivism is given a thorough grounding before the feminist critique of such epistemological theory is given. Other movements discussed include the Kuhnian turn, sociology of science, & the radical critique of science. Feminist theory & critique are interwoven throughout, with one chapter devoted to feminist thought, which includes the work of such thinkers as Longino, Hararway, Hubbard, Nelson, Harding, & Keller. Contents: Introduction. A Historical Overview of Positivism. A Look at Positivism Continued. Kuhnian & Like Responses. Philosophy of Science & Sociology of Science. Feminist Philosophy of Science. Radical Critiques of Science. Naturalized Epistemology as the Basis for a New Philosophy of Scientific Confirmation. Conclusion.


Science studies has taken on an extraordinary life in recent years, and contemporary debates surrounding such disparate phenomena as the Sokal hoax, the aids virus (or nonvirus), and the existence of life on Mars take on added salience when we consider the proximity of much of the current research in science to our daily lives.

The philosopher of science, however, may feel somewhat cut off from such debates, because the rigorous training provided by most programs in philosophy of science may appear, superficially at least, to be at odds with much of the material in the popular press or, indeed, even in the academic press that is relevant to science studies. This work aims to fill in the gaps for those whose training is primarily in philosophy, but at the same time it attempts to be accessible to readers trained in other disciplines, including the social sciences and women's studies. If the greatest impetus for the growth of work revolving around the cultural status of science has come from feminist theory, any explanation of what might be involved in finding the intersection of philosophy of science and contemporary feminism is timely. in this book I have tried to acquaint the philosopher of science with feminist theory and the feminist with at least a minimal amount of philosophy of science, and to provide as well some overview of other crucial relevant areas, such as the radical critique of science and sociology of science.

The first part of the book is probably the most directly philosophical and no doubt the most difficult for those who do not originally have training in philosophy. Because so much is written about positivism and the work springing from it, it is important to be precise about the original positivist project and its offspring. An overview of the entire project and a closer look at positivism, the Vienna Circle, and movements in philosophy of science allied with it comprise the first section.

Few revolutions have had the impact of the Kuhnian revolution, and so an explanation of it and its relation to the work that historically preceded it begins the second section. the importance of sociology of science, particularly the Edinburgh school, is the topic of Chapter 5 of this work, and . . .

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