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ISAT 485: Gender Issues in Science: Books
Course guide for an interdisciplinary class that looks at the scientific process, scientific practitioners, and science students through the lens of gender analysis.
Lynn Hankinson Nelson presents an accessible and balanced discussion of research questions, background assumptions, methods, and hypotheses about biology and gender with which feminist scientists and science scholars critically and constructively engage. Writing from the perspective of contemporary philosophy of science, she examines the evidence for and ethical implications of biological hypotheses about gender, and discusses relevant philosophical issues including understandings of scientific objectivity, the nature of scientific reasoning, and relationships between biological research and the scientific and social contexts in which it is pursued. Clear and comprehensive, this volume addresses the engagements of feminist scientists and science scholars with a range of disciplines, including developmental and evolutionary biology, medicine, neurobiology, and primatology.
Janet A. Kourany argues for a philosophy of science more socially engaged and socially responsible than the philosophy of science we have now. The central questions feminist scientists, philosophers, and historians have been raising about science during the last three decadesform Kourany's point of departure and her response to these questions builds on their insights. This way of approaching science differs from mainstream philosophy of science in two crucial respects: it locates science within its wider societal context rather than treating science as if it existed ina social, political, and economic vacuum; and it points the way to a more comprehensive understanding of scientific rationality, one that integrates the ethical with the epistemic. Kourany develops her particular response, dubbed by her the ideal of socially responsible science, beyond thegender-related questions and contexts that form its origins and she defends it against a variety of challenges, epistemological, historical, sociological, economic, and political. She ends by displaying the important new directions philosophy of science can take and the impressive new rolesphilosophers of science can fill with the approach to science she offers.
Sandra Harding makes the provocative argument that the philosophy and practices of today's Western science, contrary to its Enlightenment mission, work to insure that more science will only worsen existing gaps between the best and worst off around the world. She defends this claim by exposing the ways that hierarchical social formations in modern Western sciences encode antidemocratic principles and practices, particularly in terms of their services to militarism, the impoverishment and alienation of labor, Western expansion, and environmental destruction. The essays in this collection--drawing on feminist, multicultural, and postcolonial studies--propose ways to reconceptualize the sciences in the global social order. At issue here are not only social justice and environmental issues but also the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our understandings of natural and social worlds. The inadvertent complicity of the sciences with antidemocratic projects obscures natural and social realities and thus blocks the growth of scientific knowledge. Scientists, policy makers, social justice movements and the consumers of scientific products (that is, the rest of us) can work together and separately to improve this situation.