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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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Douglas, Heather. Values in Social Science
2014, In: Philosophy of Social Science A New Introduction. Edited by Nancy Cartwright and Eleonora Montuschi
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Added by: Simon Fokt

Introduction: The social sciences have long had an inferiority complex. Because the social sciences emerged as distinct disciplines after the natural sciences, comparisons between the mature and successful natural sciences and the fledgling social sciences were quickly made. One of the primary concerns that arose was over the role of values in the social sciences. There were several reasons for this. First, the social sciences did not have the clear empirical successes that the natural sciences did in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to bolster confidence in their reliability. Some postulated that an undue influence of values on the social sciences contributed to this deficit of empirical success. Second, social sciences such as economics and psychology emerged from their philosophical precursors gradually and often carried with them the clear normative trappings of their disciplinary origins. Third, although formal rules on the treatment of human subjects would not emerge until the second half of the twentieth century, by the time the social sciences emerged, it was obvious there were both ethical and epistemic challenges to experimenting on human subjects and human communities. Controlled settings were (and are) often difficult to achieve (or are unethical to achieve), making clear empirical success even more elusive. Finally, there is the additional com-plication that social sciences invariably study and/or comment upon human values. All of these considerations lent credence to the view that social sciences were inevitably more value-laden, and as a result less reliable, than the natural sciences.

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Mitchell, Sandra. Complexity and explanation in the social sciences
2009, Mitchell, Sandra. "Complexity and explanation in the social sciences." Chrysostomos Mantzavinos (Hg.), Philosophy of the Social Sciences. Philosophical Theory and Scientific Practice, Cambridge (2009): 130-145.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Patricia Rich

Abstract: To answer Condorcet, in this chapter I will investigate what it is about the social world that makes the universal, exceptionless generalizations that are heralded as the foundation of knowledge of the physical world so elusive. I am not going to rehearse all the arguments for and against the possibility of laws in the social realm. What I aim to do is not to take either side of the debate, that is, not to say – “YES! Social science does have laws just like physics (or close enough any-way)” or “NO! Social science can never have laws like those of physics; knowledge of the social has a wholly different character.” Rather I will suggest replacing the standard conception of laws that structure the debate with a more spacious conceptual framework that not only illuminates what it is about knowledge of the social that is similar to knowledge of the physical, but also explains what is so different in the two scientific endeavors.

Comment: When studying the philosophy of the social sciences, the nature of explanation and the role of laws in explanation are important issues. This text provides a valuable argument on this topic, provides an example of how philosophy of biology is relevant to the social sciences, and brings in some other useful philosophical concepts.

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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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