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Eaton, Marcia Muelder, , . A Sustainable Definition of “Art”
2000, in Theories of Art Today, ed. by Noel Carroll (London: The University of Wisconsin Press)
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Content: Eaton begins with some remarks on the practical need for classification of art and proceeds to present and improve her definition. Her focus is not on specific properties of artworks, but on the fact that they possess properties which within a given culture are considered worth attending to. The modifications made to the theory follow a realisation of Western-centric bias embedded in the original formulation, and the discussion explicitly aims to work towards a definition which acknowledges the cultural differences in art production and appreciation. Eaton moves on to discuss Danto’s and Cohen’s claims that art cannot be defined and points out some Western-centric aspects of their arguments. The paper ends with an overview of what it is for art and its definition to be sustainable.

Comment: Western-centric bias in art classification is explicitly addressed in the article and efforts are made to account for the cultural variations in attitudes to and classification of art. This can offer a powerful motivation for the students to seek similar biases in other definitions and ask whether they entail a preferential treatment of Western art.

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Mills, Charles W., , . White Ignorance
2007, In Suvllian, Shannon & Tuana, Nancy (eds). Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State University of New York Press, Albany.
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Added by: Helen Morley, Contributed by: Kei Hiruta

<strong>Abstract:</strong> The development of social epistemology in recent decades is a welcome turn away from Cartesian individualism. But the centrality of oppression to societies in general is still insufficiently recognized in this literature. This chapter looks at “white ignorance” as an example of a particular kind of systemic group-based miscognition that has been hugely influential over the past few hundred years. After a ten-point clarification of the concept, it turns to an examination of white ignorance as it plays itself out in the complex interaction of Eurocentric perception and categorization, white normativity, social memory and social amnesia, the derogation of non-white testimony, racial group interests, and motivated irrationality.

Comment: Argues that “color blindness” contributes to perpetuating racial injustice. Good introductory text to issues of justice in a race context.

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Okruhlik, Kathleen, , . Gender and the Biological Sciences
1994, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 24(sup1): 21-42.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Summary: Okhrulik offers a feminist critique of biology, a “real” science, to show that it is not just the “soft” social sciences that are affected by bias. She argues that preconceptions can interfere not only in cases of “bad science”, but even when the rules of scientific practice are followed. There is no safeguard against the effects of bias in the context of discovery. Even if theories are rigorously tested to remove bias, some theories might not even be generated and so would not get to the point of being counted as competitors in the testing stage. This is illustrated by a number of case studies. Okhrulik concludes that a diversity of viewpoints is crucial.

Comment: Presents a good case for why feminist critiques are relevant even to “harder” sciences, made more salient with easy-to-understand examples. Raises issues of theory-ladenness of observation and underdetermination of theory. A good introduction to reasons to doubt that science is completely “objective”.

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Shrader-Frechette, Kristine, , . Tainted: How Philosophy of Science can expose bad science
2014, Oxford University Press USA.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Abstract: Lawyers often work pro bono to liberate death-row inmates from flawed legal verdicts that otherwise would kill them. This is the first book on practical philosophy of science, how to practically evaluate scientific findings with life-and-death consequences. Showing how to uncover scores of scientific flaws – typically used by special interests who try to justify their pollution – this book aims to liberate many potential victims of environmentally induced disease and death.It shows how citizens can help uncover flawed science and thus liberate people from science-related societal harms such as pesticides, waste dumps, and nuclear power. It shows how flawed biology, economics, hydrogeology, physics, statistics, and toxicology are misused in ways that make life-and-death differences for humans. It thus analyzes science at the heart of contemporary controversies – from cell phones, climate change, and contraceptives, to plastic food containers and radioactive waste facilities. It illustrates how to evaluate these scientific findings, instead of merely describing what they are. Practical evaluation of science is important because, at least in the United States, 75 percent of all science is funded by special interests, to achieve specific practical goals, such as developing pharmaceuticals or showing some pollutant causes no harm. Of the remaining 25 percent of US science funding, more than half addresses military goals. This means that less than one-eighth of US science funding is for basic science; roughly seven-eighths is done by special interests, for practical projects from which they hope to profit. The problem, however, is that often this flawed, special-interest science harms the public.

Comment: Recommended for students in philosophy of science, environmental ethics or science policy. Could serve as an introductory reading for practical philosophy of science. It is easy to read and suitable for undergraduate students.

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