Feminist Critiques of Science




Vaughn, Christine

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The work of feminist scientists has exposed cases in which sexism pervaded (primarily biological) scientific pursuits. These cases raise important questions. Some scholars believe that these sexist biases are simply a result of "bad science," or situations in which the scientific norm of objectivity was violated, while others maintain that the scientific process is inherently sexist. In this paper, I will argue that Kathleen Okruhlik's modified contextualist approach to eliminating sexist bias from scientific research is superior to Sandra Harding's standpoint feminism. I will also illustrate why Helen Longino's feminist contextualism benefits from Okruhlik's modifications. I will begin by introducing the positions of feminist empiricism, feminist contextualism, and standpoint epistemology and move on to introducing Harding's arguments. Critiques of these arguments will be presented, followed by an explanation of Okruhlik's case for modified contextualism and the Bayesian critique of modified contextualism. Finally, I will present a rejoinder to Okruhlik's opponents.



feminist, critiques, science, Okruhlik, longino, standpoint, Honors College


Vaughn, C. (2007). Feminist critiques of science (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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