PHIL 560A 001 Philosophy of Science – Term 2

Feminist Philosophy of Science
Spring 2018 | Course website:
Instructor: Professor Alison Wylie,
Class meetings: Mondays 10:00-1:00, BUCH D324
Office hours: Mondays, 2:00-4:00 or by appointment, BUCH E276

Critics of the very idea of feminist philosophy of science insist that, because feminism is an explicitly political stance, it can have nothing to do with science or how we understand it philosophically. What distinguishes scientific knowledge and inquiry is its ability to transcend partisan, political interests and the relativism that threatens if these are allowed a role in science. So what can a “feminist” philosophy of science come to?
          The epistemic ideals that underpin such arguments have come in for sharp and sustained criticism in recent decades. Feminist philosophers of science and science studies scholars have been prominent among those who have argued that the ideal of “value-free” science is untenable; the production, content and authority of scientific knowledge is deeply configured by social, contextual factors. While their critics take these arguments to entail a corrosive relativism, feminist philosophers of science make the case for systematically reformulating epistemic norms, including ideals of objectivity. The aim of this seminar is to explore the range of positions articulated by feminist philosophers of science in response to conventional “value-free” ideals and to charges of relativism.