Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

Other Perspectives on Gender
and Myths and Beliefs in
Scientific Research

Feminist Philosophy of Science

LYNN HANKINSON NELSON

Feminist philosophy of science emerges at the intersections of feminist science studies and the philosophy of science. Its core research questions and developments are significantly influenced by each tradition. Nowhere is this influence clearer than in its origins. Philosophical engagements with the sciences from feminist perspectives arose in direct response to the internal science critiques feminist scientists leveled in the 1970s and 1980s. These critiques focused on remaining informal barriers to women’s full participation in science and on the role of male-centered or androcentric beliefs and values in shaping the directions, methods, and content of various sciences.

From the outset, there was considerable interest in the epistemological implications of these critiques: what they suggested about the nature of scientific reasoning and practices and the objectivity or unbiased nature of scientific knowledge. There was also considerable disagreement about them. Were the cases in which feminist scientists had documented the role and consequences of androcentrism simply cases of bad science and thus without implications for science itself? When many feminists answered no, they drew hostile reactions from many philosophers and scientists. Should feminism be credited with enabling scientists to recognize androcentrism in various sciences that had previously gone unrecognized? Affirmative answers to this question were also received with hostility, with many traditionalists arguing that the recognition of androcentrism was just typical of science’s ability and tendency to self-correct. Any suggestion of a relationship between the content of science and the social identities and/or contextual beliefs and values of individual scientists as feminists or nonfeminists was condemned as embracing relativism. An important source of these reactions was a picture of science developed in the philosophy of science.

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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