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Anderson, Elizabeth. Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science
2015, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Giada Fratantonio

Abstract: Feminist epistemology and philosophy of science studies the ways in which gender does and ought to influence our conceptions of knowledge, the knowing subject, and practices of inquiry and justification. It identifies ways in which dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition, and justification systematically disadvantage women and other subordinated groups, and strives to reform these conceptions and practices so that they serve the interests of these groups. Various practitioners of feminist epistemology and philosophy of science argue that dominant knowledge practices disadvantage women by (1) excluding them from inquiry, (2) denying them epistemic authority, (3) denigrating their ‘feminine’ cognitive styles and modes of knowledge, (4) producing theories of women that represent them as inferior, deviant, or significant only in the ways they serve male interests, (5) producing theories of social phenomena that render women’s activities and interests, or gendered power relations, invisible, and (6) producing knowledge (science and technology) that is not useful for people in subordinate positions, or that reinforces gender and other social hierarchies. Feminist epistemologists trace these failures to flawed conceptions of knowledge, knowers, objectivity, and scientific methodology. They offer diverse accounts of how to overcome these failures. They also aim to (1) explain why the entry of women and feminist scholars into different academic disciplines, especially in biology and the social sciences, has generated new questions, theories, and methods, (2) show how gender and feminist values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations, (3) promote theories that aid egalitarian and liberation movements, and (4) defend these developments as cognitive, not just social, advances.

Comment: A very detailed primer on feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Covers a wide range of topics and issues, its length is such that it would probably be best to assign specific sections that are of interest rather than reading the whole thing. Useful as a preliminary introduction to the topics covered, and also offers a good summary of objections to the views presented.

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Anderson, Elizabeth. Uses of value judgments in science: A general argument, with lessons from a case study of feminist research on divorce
2004, Hypatia 19 (1):1-24.
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.

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Crasnow, Sharon. Feminist Perspectives on Science
2020,
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Introduction: There are a variety of ways that feminists have reflected upon and engaged with science critically and constructively each of which might be thought of as perspectives on science. Feminists have detailed the historically gendered participation in the practice of science—the marginalization or exclusion of women from the profession and how their contributions have disappeared when they have participated. Feminists have also noted how the sciences have been slow to study women’s lives, bodies, and experiences. Thus from both the perspectives of the agents—the creators of scientific knowledge—and from the perspectives of the subjects of knowledge—the topics and interests focused on—the sciences often have not served women satisfactorily. We can think of these perspectives as generating two types of equity issues: limitations on the freedom to participate as reflected in the historical underrepresentation of women in the scientific professions and the relative lack of attention to research questions relevant to women’s lives.

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Crasnow, Sharon (ed), Intemann, Kristen. Routledge Handbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science
2021, Routledge.
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Added by: Simon Fokt

The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science is a comprehensive resource for feminist thinking about and in the sciences. Its 33 chapters were written exclusively for this Handbook by a group of leading international philosophers as well as scholars in gender studies, women’s studies, psychology, economics, and political science.

The chapters of the Handbook are organized into four main parts:

  1. Hidden Figures and Historical Critique
  2. Theoretical Frameworks
  3. Key Concepts and Issues
  4. IV. Feminist Philosophy of Science in Practice.

The chapters in this extensive, fourth part examine the relevance of feminist philosophical thought for a range of scientific and professional disciplines, including biology and biomedical sciences; psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience; the social sciences; physics; and public policy.

The Handbook gives a snapshot of the current state of feminist philosophy of science, allowing students and other newcomers to get up to speed quickly in the subfield and providing a handy reference for many different kinds of researchers.

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Harding, Sandra. The science question in feminism
1986, Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press
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Added by: Björn Freter

Publisher’s Note: Can science, steeped in Western, masculine, bourgeois endeavors, nevertheless be used for emancipatory ends? In this major contribution to the debate over the role gender plays in the scientific enterprise, Sandra Harding pursues that question, challenging the intellectual and social foundations of scientific thought. Harding provides the first comprehensive and critical survey of the feminist science critiques, and examines inquiries into the androcentricism that has endured since the birth of modern science. Harding critiques three epistemological approaches: feminist empiricism, which identifies only bad science as the problem; the feminist standpoint, which holds that women’s social experience provides a unique starting point for discovering masculine bias in science; and feminist postmodernism, which disputes the most basic scientific assumptions. She points out the tensions among these stances and the inadequate concepts that inform their analyses, yet maintains that the critical discourse they foster is vital to the quest for a science informed by emancipatory morals and politics.

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Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer. Empathy, Polyandry, and the Myth of the Coy Female
1986, In Feminist Approaches to Science, Ruth Bleier, (ed.), New York: Pergamon.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg

Introduction: For over three decades, a handful of partially true assumptions were permitted to shape the construction of general evolutionary theories about sexual selection. These theories of sexual selection presupposed the existence of a highly discriminating, exually ‘coy’ female who was courted by sexually undiscriminating males. Work by female primatologists undermined these assumptions.

Comment: This is an essential paper for any courses in standpoint epistemology, feminist philosophy of science, or general philosophy of science.

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Keller, Evelyn Fox, Helen Longino. Feminism and Science
1996, Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Benny Goldberg

Publisher’s Note: Over the past fifteen years, a new dimension to the analysis of science has emerged. Feminist theory, combined with the insights of recent developments in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, has raised a number of new and important questions about the content, practice, and traditional goals of science. Feminists have pointed to a bias in the choice and definition of problems with which scientists have concerned themselves, and in the actual design and interpretation of experiments, and have argued that modern science evolved out of a conceptual structuring of the world that incorporated particular and historically specific ideologies of gender. The seventeen outstanding articles in this volume reflect the diversity and strengths of feminist contributions to current thinking about science.

Comment: A wonderful edited collection of articles on feminist reactions to and interpretations of science. Perfect for introductory courses in feminist philosophy, feminist philosophy of science, and general philosophy of science.

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Longino, Helen. Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Values in Science: Rethinking the Dichotomy
1996, In Feminism, science, and the philosophy of science, Lynn Hankinson Nelson and Jack Nelson (Eds.) (pp. 39-58). Springer, Dordrecht.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: Underdetermination arguments support the conclusion that no amount of empirical data can uniquely determine theory choice. The full content of a theory outreaches those elements of it (the observational elements) that can be shown to be true (or in agreement with actual observations).2 A number of strategies have been developed to minimize the threat such arguments pose to our aspirations to scientific knowledge. I want to focus on one such strategy: the invocation of additional criteria drawn from a pool of cognitive or theoretical values, such as simplicity or gen- erality, to bolster judgements about the worth of models, theories, and hypotheses. What is the status of such criteria? Larry Laudan, in Science and Values, argued that cognitive values could not be treated as self-validating, beyond justification, but are embedded in a three-way reticulational system containing theories, methods, and aims or values, which are involved in mutually supportive relation- ships (Laudan, 1984). My interest in this paper is not the purportedly self- validating nature of cognitive values, but their cognitive nature. Although Laudan rejects the idea that what he calls cognitive values are exempt from rational critic- ism and disagreement, he does seem to think that the reticulational system he identifies is independent of non-cognitive considerations. It is this cognitive/ non-cognitive distinction that I wish to query in this paper. Let me begin by summarizing those of my own views about inquiry in which this worry about the distinction arises.

Comment: This is a useful text discussing values in science, including clear definitions and examples, which also takes a feminist perspective on the application of values. It doesn't require very special background knowledge, but general familiarity with philosophy of science or science itself would be useful. It could fit in a variety of philosophy of science courses.

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Wylie, Alison. What knowers know well: Women, work and the academy
2011, In Heidi E. Grasswick (ed.), Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science. pp. 157-179.
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Research on the status and experience of women in academia in the last 30 years has challenged conventional explanations of persistent gender inequality, bringing into sharp focus the cumulative impact of small scale, often unintentional differences in recognition and response: the patterns of ‘post-civil rights era’ dis­crimination made famous by the 1999 report on the status of women in the MIT School of Science. I argue that feminist standpoint theory is a useful resource for understanding how this sea change in understanding gender inequity was realized. At the same time, close attention to activist research on workplace environment issues suggests ways in which our understanding of standpoint theory can fruitfully be refined. I focus on the implications of two sets of distinctions: between types of epistemic injustice (and correlative advantage) that may affect marginalized knowers; and between the resources of situated knowledge and those of a critical standpoint on knowledge production.

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