Abstracts and Authors: Last names I to M

Authors: Itaas | Jacobson | Jackson (Fuselier, Latimer, Stoiko) |  Kourany (Pinto) | Kovacs | Lanthier | Lehan | Liebow | Liebow (Huebner) | MacMillan | Malavisi | Maloney | Marino | McCann | McHugh | McKinney | Meintjes | Michaud | Miller | Moosa | Mudde | Murphy (Anderson, Wallace, Lucero, Oxendahl)

Itaas, VaunellAgainst Kairos: the Quiet Revolution of Polymerase Chain Reaction

[with poster] Interpreted as opportune time, the concept of kairos is generally neglected in rhetorical theory. This is surprising because it is here that this forgotten term is arguably most relevant. We can only imagine the degree of its neglect when applied to the rhetoric of science despite the importance of ‘right timing’ for all manner of scientific research. In this paper I will argue for a cautious application of kairos since terms rich in meaning can often be misunderstood and in order to encourage discourse about scientific practices clarification is warranted. In particular, I will be discussing the discovery of polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a revolutionary but fairly simple procedure in molecular biology. The discovery of PCR was possibly atypical with respect to revolutions in science. Kary Mullis, who was jointly responsible for this innovation, claims that its discovery was accidental. In a certain sense, Mullis did not know what he was doing nor did he have the predictive power to foresee the results of even his own experiment. While initially he was met with resistance from fellow scientists and institutions, the impact of his rather simple experiment profoundly shaped subsequent biotechnological research. Even though contemporary methods in molecular biology have superseded PCR in terms of sophistication, the principle of this method remains unchanged and still has many applications today, including basic laboratory research and forensic diagnostics. Moreover, the scientific literature and resources were already in place prior to its discovery and so it can be considered postmature. In other words, the discovery of PCR remains difficult to classify with respect to scientific revolutions and thus we may be able to find a better account of this kind of anomaly in postmodern philosophy of science, of which figures like Feyerabend are representative. Hence, this paper shall be a response to Caroyln Miller’s work on the rhetoric of science where she posed an important question, here adapted for the present context: can postmodern philosophy of science account for revolutions of this sort, which neither involve paradigm shifts nor evolutionary metaphors? Perhaps there may be an alternative perspective for this kind of scientific change, revolutionary yet quiet.

Jacobson, AnneWhy Feminist Philosophers can Love their Brains, OR: How Cognitive Neuroscience isn’t the Basic Problem, though Stereotypical Analytic Philosophers (for the most part) Are

The content, methodology, and uses of cognitive neuroscience (CNS) seem to be very feminist unfriendly. Such a conclusion is suggested by relatively early research into the corpus callosum that led to quick conclusions about male superiority in traditionally male fields (Bleier, Houston, & Byne, 1986; Delacoste-Utamsing, 1982). The recent book, Neurofeminism, contains much more recent material about the applications and methodologies of CNS that look very objectionable (Bluhm, Jacobson, & Maibom, 2012).

We might also add that the basic content of CNS is feminist unfriendly, particularly as understood by stereotypical analytic philosophers. So viewed, it takes the mind’s workings to be a matter of causal relations among content-bearers that are wholly inner neural states or processes. This view is in radical error, at least on the face of it, since it leaves out all the ways in which culture permeates our mental lives.

There are a number of directions in which our discussion might go from here. For example, we could look at the claim that cultural influences are causes of mental states, but they are not part of the mental processes themselves (Adams & Aizawa, 2008; Robert D Rupert, 2006; Robert D. Rupert, 2009). Others address the issues by elaborating on enactive cognitive science (Hutto & Myin, 2013; Noë, 2004; Rowlands, 2010).

I will instead outline a position based on two claims: (1) it is wrong to interpret neuroscience as positing the philosophers’ mental representations, and (2) neuroscience works with a notion of “well functioning” or thriving that our recent philosophy of mind ignores. CNS sees us as essentially niche-bound creatures. As such, CNS offers many revisions to what seems to be common sense in a culture influenced by Descartes. We will look at two examples of re-understanding from CNS, both of which may make a difference to our moral appraisals of some types of very difficult people.

Jackson, Jennifer Kasi, Linda Fuselier, Melissa Latimer and Rachel StoikoAcademic Gatekeeping: Feminist Epistemology in Textbooks and Tenure/Promotion

We apply a feminist critique of knowledge construction to two significant issues related to the establishment of “equitable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics institutions”: 1) Textbooks and 2) Promotion and tenure (P&T) documents. Both of these institutions serve a gatekeeping function: 1) Textbooks introduce students to disciplinary content and influence which students will persist in a discipline, and 2) P&T documents are the basis for decisions about which faculty will continue in academic fields. We are interested in how disciplines and sub-disciplines establish what counts as knowledge and how reflective they are about discipline-specific conventions defining knowledge. In the textbook case study, we examine knowledge production and presentation within a sub-discipline (evolutionary biology). In the P&T case, we compare and contrast the knowledge requirements in three broad disciplinary categories – the social sciences, the natural sciences and the humanities. Our evaluation criteria are based on Longino’s “critical contextual empiricism” from The Fate of Knowledge (2002). Longino argues that the divide between sociologists and historians of science on one hand and philosophers of science on the other hinges on the separation between the rational and the social. Regardless of the actual depth of this divide, her framework for seeing knowledge as rational and social has great value. Rejecting a division between the content of knowledge and the social context in which it is produced, Longino argues that knowledge is inherently social and that communities must abide by the following conditions: “(1) the availability of venues for and (2) responsiveness to criticism, (3) public standards (themselves subject to critique), and (4) tempered equality of intellectual authority” (206), or inclusive knowledge communities. The case studies address her question: “Empirically speaking, how in particular instances do institutional and organizational changes interact with (reflect, facilitate, direct, make visible, grow out of) intellectual change” (212)?

Fuselier, Linda, Jennifer Kasi Jackson & Rachel StoikoThe Fate of Feminism in Evolution: A Case Study

In the case of the evolutionary biology textbooks, we focus on an example where there has been an internal feminist critique of knowledge production within the sub-discipline of sexual selection by members of the community who identify as feminist (primarily feminist empiricist). We investigate whether the disciplinary gatekeepers (textbook authors) have incorporated this critique and are acknowledging the impacts of the feminist critique in how the field is presented to students. Our analysis covers both the content of the subject (e.g. are feminist theories and hypotheses presented in the text and, if so, are they credited as feminist in origin) as well as how the knowledge construction practices of the sub-discipline are presented (e.g. do textbook writers acknowledge the impacts of social factors including language, androcentric bias, etc.?). Both of these areas have been the subject of writings by feminist evolutionary biologists. We hypothesize that gatekeepers do not recognize the validity of the feminist critique, and if they acknowledge it at all, it will be simply to exemplify the self-correcting nature of science (e.g. removal of androcentric bias) rather than to interrogate science as a product of the society and knowers that produce it. Given this hypothesis, we outline seven predictions and analyze textbooks using codes we developed based on the predictions. We conclude our work with recommendations to instructors who wish to supplement these texts with feminist perspectives and to use the texts to engage their students in a discussion of knowledge production. Our findings show that the subfield of evolutionary biology, as presented in introductory textbooks, does not meet Longino’s conditions for critical acceptance of knowledge in a pluralistic context. Our supplementary materials are intended as a way to maintain these standards in introductory classes.

Latimer, Melissa, Jennifer Kasi Jackson & Rachel StoikoPromotion and Tenure Documents: A Comparison of How Low and High Consensus Disciplines Define Standards

We examine P&T documents as a mechanism through which a discipline makes public its criteria, responds to critique, and ensures review by a diverse group of knowers. We present results from a content analysis of the P&T documents in three disciplinary divisions (science, social science, and humanities) that evaluates the relationship between disciplinary consensus and the articulation of evaluative criteria. Within the target college, a university-wide document, a college-level document and department-specific documents guide annual reviews and P&T decisions. The humanities and social science documents are more descriptive than the science documents, which tend to defer to the college document and/or rely on strictly quantitative measures. We hypothesize that the faculty members in lower consensus disciplines have an understanding of knowledge as contextual and therefore are more aware of the need to provide clarity around promotion and tenure indicators instead of assuming that standards are universal. In contrast, we expect that members of higher consensus disciplines assume that “everyone knows” what the standards are because of the belief that these fields adhere to shared theories, methods, etc. In reality, P&T standards develop in a context, as Longino argues. If standards are not well-articulated in guidelines, faculty members experience confusion, especially when they work in non-traditional fields or in ways that challenge disciplinary norms of knowledge construction. To test our hypotheses, we use Longino’s framework to establish codes based on the following criteria: “(1) the availability of venues for and (2) responsiveness to criticism, (3) public standards (themselves subject to critical interrogation), and (4) tempered equality of intellectual authority” (206). We argue that academic departments should openly discuss discipline-specific P&T guidelines using criteria derived from Longino’s principles, in order to create inclusive knowledge communities with departmental climates conducive to the success of a diverse group of knowers.

Promotion and Tenure Documents: A Comparison of How Low and High Consensus Disciplines Define Standards

We examine P&T documents as a mechanism through which a discipline makes public its criteria, responds to critique, and ensures review by a diverse group of knowers. We present results from a content analysis of the P&T documents in three disciplinary divisions (science, social science, and humanities) that evaluates the relationship between disciplinary consensus and the articulation of evaluative criteria. Within the target college, a university-wide document, a college-level document and department-specific documents guide annual reviews and P&T decisions. The humanities and social science documents are more descriptive than the science documents, which tend to defer to the college document and/or rely on strictly quantitative measures. We hypothesize that the faculty members in lower consensus disciplines have an understanding of knowledge as contextual and therefore are more aware of the need to provide clarity around promotion and tenure indicators instead of assuming that standards are universal. In contrast, we expect that members of higher consensus disciplines assume that “everyone knows” what the standards are because of the belief that these fields adhere to shared theories, methods, etc. In reality, P&T standards develop in a context, as Longino argues. If standards are not well-articulated in guidelines, faculty members experience confusion, especially when they work in non-traditional fields or in ways that challenge disciplinary norms of knowledge construction. To test our hypotheses, we use Longino’s framework to establish codes based on the following criteria: “(1) the availability of venues for and (2) responsiveness to criticism, (3) public standards (themselves subject to critical interrogation), and (4) tempered equality of intellectual authority” (206). We argue that academic departments should openly discuss discipline-specific P&T guidelines using criteria derived from Longino’s principles, in order to create inclusive knowledge communities with departmental climates conducive to the success of a diverse group of knowers.

Kourany, Janet and Manuela Fernández PintoTowards a Science-Based Policy for Breast Cancer: A Taxonomy of Problems and Prospects

The 28th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month just wound down around the world a few months ago, but the confusions surrounding breast cancer are as pervasive as ever. Should women of all ages be doing monthly breast self-examinations? Should they be getting annual clinical breast examinations as well? Should they also be getting mammograms every year? Every other year? Every third year? And if so, at what age should these begin, and at what age cease? And how should the ever-smaller lesions that these mammograms uncover be treated? The health policies dealing with these questions vary from country to country and even from medical organization to medical organization within the same country. So why wouldn’t women be confused? Science, of course, was to settle such questions in a uniform way, worldwide—in as uniform a way, worldwide, as the international Breast Cancer Awareness Month itself. So, why hasn’t it done so?

In this paper we explore three kinds of reasons a coherent and helpful science-based healthcare policy such as breast cancer policy might be difficult to achieve. One reason relates to purely practical issues. For example, scientific experts often disagree on questions of vital importance to policy, and their debates can continue well beyond policy appropriate timelines. A second reason, by contrast, relates to more straightforwardly epistemic concerns. Expecting science to play a definitive role in the formation of policy has traditionally presupposed that science can be a neutral arbiter of policy questions, a neutral supplier of factual information. But science, it turns out, is simply not like that. Science is shot through with social values, competing and contestable social values. Yet a third reason relates to what are decidedly normative concerns, that is, concerns that arise from the fact that much of scientific research today fails to meet the social or political standards one would expect it to meet in order to inform public policy. Relevant here, for example, are recent studies relating to the commercialization of science and to the sometimes sexist or racist or homophobic or ablest values of scientists themselves or their funders. We show that all these reasons apply to the case of breast cancer policy, and we explore the contributions that philosophy of science can make to this unfortunate situation.

Kovacs, AgnesThe Philosophy of Science of Georg Lukács and How it Helps to Extend Standpoint Theory to the Physical Sciences

The paper seeks to reconstruct the philosophy of science of Hungarian Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács, based on his History and Class Consciousness (HCC, 1923), and The Ontology of Social Being (1968). I argue that the latter, but not the former, provides ground for extending Marxist – and, by means of analogy, feminist – standpoint theory to the physical sciences.

HCC contains the philosophically most sophisticated elaboration of the notion of the standpoint of the proletariat, and it served as an inspiration for North-American scholars when developing feminist standpoint theory in the '70s and '80s. However, the applicability of standpoint epistemology to the physical sciences remains contested; it is unclear whether there are class- or gender-specific perspectives on inanimate nature, and what these would imply for the technical content of the sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.) investigating it.

In HCC, Lukács himself restricted the scope of the proletarian standpoint to the social world. However, he later deemed this position – and the whole book – fundamentally mistaken, and toward the end of his life, he elaborated his revised view in a 2000-page-long treatise, The Ontology of Social Being. In the Ontology, the extension of Marxist standpoint theory to the physical sciences is facilitated by the articulation of a Marxist ontology of nature, which then can be used to evaluate the metaphysical content of scientific theories.

I propose that in the same way, the feminist critique of the physical sciences may proceed by comparing the metaphysical foundations of these disciplines to the principles of feminist metaphysics. Just as Marxist ontology is centered on the claim that all being is complex and historical, so is feminist metaphysics centered on anti-essentialism, relationalism, and the critique of dualisms (Haslanger and Sveinsdóttir 2011). To illustrate how these principles or their obverse operate in physical and chemical theory, I shall refer to feminist work on fluid mechanics (Hayles 1992), electromagnetism (Whitten 2001), theory of matter (Potter 2001), and chemical and general thermodynamics (Kovács 2012, 2013).

Lanthier, JaclynGendered Cognition and the Abolition Thereof: Rethinking Models in Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology

A Yale study published in the 2013 New York Times article ' Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science' demonstrated evidence of a continued bias against women in the sciences. Statistics reported that only one-fifth of physics degrees in the United States were awarded to women and that out of all the physics professors in the country only 14% of them were women. (Pollack, 2013, 1) The old but by no means extinct or dated explanation for the scarcity of women in mathematics and the sciences has been to appeal to innate biological differences in male and female cognition. In this paper, I will argue against the biodeterministic linear-model of sex-difference research and propose a more malleable model grounded in the notion of cerebral plasticity and neurogenesis. Specifically, this model will advocate the elimination of the gender-difference focus altogether, replacing it with a more holistic (gender-neutral) conception of cognition and cognitive development. Part One will highlight the main features of the biodeterministic model and the ways that it has and continues to perpetuate the androcentric bias of male intellectual and cognitive superiority. This model will then be applied to current studies of gender cognition with respect to geometrical/ spatial reasoning and mathematical abilities. Part Two will focus on the current research in cerebral plasticity and neurogenesis, which will serve as the foundation for the model I will argue for in Part Three. Finally, I will outline the way in which the alternative model is characterized and apply it to the previous studies in Part One, showing how and why this model is not only epistemically but politically superior to the biodeterministic model.

Lehan, Vanessa – Reducing Stereotype Threat in Introductory Logic Classes

At my university the percentage of women in the introductory logic classes is close to 50%, however, we are lucky to get a handful of women taking the advanced logic classes and there is currently only one graduate student who is both female and specializing in logic. Richard Zack recently analysed data from The Journal of Philosophical Logic on his blog. He discovered that, over the past seven years, “out of 247 (non-unique) authors, 22, or 9%, were women. That's lower by several percentage points than any of the other publication rates for top journals reported by Sally Haslanger. . .out of the 94 authors from the US and Canada, only 2 = 2% were women.”

I take these numbers to suggest two things: firstly, the widely recognized fact that there are very few women currently working and publishing in logical areas, and secondly, that the subject appears to interest female undergraduate students but that stereotype threat is dissuading them from continuing studies in this area.

In this paper I examine some research on how to diminish or eliminate stereotype threat in mathematics. Some of the successful strategies include: informing our students about stereotype threat, challenging the idea that logical intelligence is an “innate” ability, making students In threatened groups feel welcomed, and introducing counter-stereotypical role models. The purpose of this paper is to take strategies that have proven successful and come up with specific ways to incorporate them into introductory logic classes. For example, the possible benefit of presenting logic to our undergraduate students by concentrating on aspects of logic that do not result in a clash of schemas (i.e., logic as language and the benefit of logic as aesthetic enjoyment).

Liebow, Nabina"Prehomosexual Behavior”: LGBT Oppression and the Public Uptake of Scientific Research

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people face a staggering amount of violence, discrimination, and marginalization. In this paper I investigate the way in which the public presentation of scientific research on childhood behavior and adult sexual orientation reflects a deep cultural unease with sexual and gender minorities. I claim that research on these topics helps to sustain and fuel oppressive conditions for LGBT people. In making this case, I examine J. Bailey and Kenneth Zucker’s study “Childhood Sex-Typed Behavior and Sexual Orientation: A Conceptual Analysis and Quantitative Review” (1995), which appeared in Developmental Psychology, and “Is Your Child a ‘Prehomosexual’? Forecasting Adult Sexual Orientation” (2010), a Scientific American article that cites Bailey and Zucker’s findings. I take these two articles to be representative of the larger phenomenon I hope to elucidate. An analysis of these two articles illuminates the gap between scientific research and how it is often presented to and taken up by the public. I show that, despite a 15-year separation in publication date, both articles were written in similar social contexts in which gay rights issues were the focus of political debate and legislation. This supports the claim that what researchers cast as scientifically interesting depends largely on the cultural context at hand. This is also true, I argue, when it comes to the public uptake of scientific research. Next, I unpack a number of assumptions and claims made in each article, and, in doing so, I demonstrate how they reinforce oppressive social conditions for LGBT people. With this in mind, I defend the claim that it is difficult for scientific research that seeks to naturalize behavior associated with marginalized social identities to avoid contributing to systems of oppression.

Liebow, Nabina and Bryce HuebnerBias and Epistemic Injustice in Medical Decision Making

Poster Abstract: Across numerous measures, people in North America who identify as White tend to be healthier than members of other racial groups (National Center for Health Statistics, 2011). Recent data suggest that this is at least in part because medical judgments are sometimes based on subtle racial biases, which are formed unconsciously and triggered automatically (Penner et al 2013). Surprisingly, the epistemological and ethical implications of these biases have not been submitted to critical scrutiny. Here, we bring together philosophical and empirical resources to illuminate a pattern of epistemic injustice, which arises in medical practice as a result of implicit biases, and thereby contributes to racialized disparities in health care.

We argue that decisions made under conditions of risk or uncertainty are more likely to involve implicit biases. As a result, we claim that implicit biases are likely to affect ethically significant judgments about a patient’s need for medical attention, her reliability as a source of information, her willingness to be compliant with a treatment protocol, her tolerance for pain, and more. We also suggest that the reliance on implicit biases in these cases yields a distinctive form of epistemic injustice (Fricker 2007), which often leads patients to dismiss or ignore the recommendations of clinicians. This is striking because the resulting forms of patient noncompliance frequently yield patterns of behavior that appear to confirm biased judgments about Black patients. We maintain that feedback relations between the biased judgments of clinicians and the behavior of patients generates a form of structural injustice, which is embodied in racialized health care disparities, and which cannot be easily addressed by focusing on the decisions of individuals. Finally, we argue that the epistemological and ethical landscape of clinical practice must be modified to change default assumptions about patient credibility.

MacMillan, BlakeCrossfit, Five Fingers & Red Bull: The Science, Somaesthetics & Style of Athletic Skill

For many critical thinkers, the increasing entanglement of technoscience and sport represents a declining level of autonomy, a threat to the bodily integrity of athletes, and the dehumanization of games, recreation and play. At best, scientifically informed practices for training athletes are connected to the normalization of bodies; at worst, they are viewed as the intrusive, immoral and often painful consequence of categorizing, physiologizing and medicalizing elements of athletic capacity, such as strength, speed and power. Generally, the most pervasive trope in critical treatments of technoscience and sport is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the dystopian account of the human / technology nexus, in which human creation and use of technology ultimately becomes our own demise. In feminist treatments of similar entanglements, a predominant trope is Foucault’s concept of the “docile body”; a body “that may be subjected, used, transformed, and improved.” My underlying goal is to create new tropes for thinking critically about (or rather, with) sport. Heyes (2007) argues that skillful somaesthetics practices (her example is yoga) “track elliptically and unpredictably around a kind of joy that feels distinctively and transformatively different from the normalized pleasures we are typically permitted to have…” Following Heyes, this paper looks at a (re)emerging strategy, embedded in three different commercial ventures related to sport (namely the Crossfit commercial fitness program, Vibram’s Five Finger “toe shoes,” and the Red Bull energy drink), to re-skill and re-stylize high-levels of athletic performance. Within the conceptual space that lies between feminist and disability studies, on the one hand, and performance-oriented kinesiologists, on the other, there is room for an ironic, modest, and flawed appropriation of these commercial strategies that will help produce new ways to think about sport as a venue for flourishing.

Malavisi, Anna – Epistemic Injustice in Global Development

There are millions of children, women and men who do not have access to clean running water, an adequate supply of food, electricity, education and the fulfillment of other human rights. This can be considered as a moral failing on the part of individuals and institutions. Global development is comprised of a system of ideas, policies, institutions and individuals which at first glance is supposedly concerned with the amelioration of the living conditions of those populations living in disadvantaged situations. However, this in fact is not necessarily true. A fundamental problem in development is the suppression of knowledge or what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls, “a form of epistemicide.” From my own analysis which draws on my experience as a development professional for many years in Latin America, I argue that one of the fundamental problems of development theory and practice is grounded in the limitations in the theoretical discussions of knowledge, and how this knowledge is then applied in the practice. I introduce the notion of epistemic injustice and analyze how the theory and practice of global development is epistemically unjust. To help build this analysis I draw on the work of feminist epistemologists and other theorists such as Boaventura de Sousa Santos. Santos introduces the term cognitive justice, and claims that cognitive justice is an essential component of global justice. Cognitive justice for Santos can be likened to epistemic justice in many ways; so beginning with Miranda Fricker’s concept of epistemic injustice I will work through the work of epistemologists such as Anderson, Medina, Dotson and others, but also of Santos to construct and articulate more fully a concept of epistemic injustice. I finish by offering some thoughts on what needs to happen to achieve epistemic justice in global development.

Maloney, CathyLearning to Understand: International Education Programs and Intercultural Learning

Intercultural understanding, as a specific mode of knowing across difference, is an increasingly necessary form of knowing as the world becomes more and more connected through international workplaces and increased mobility. University students are encouraged to “internationalise their education” by participating in study abroad opportunities and international internships. They are told that gaining immersive international experiences as part of their university studies will increase their intercultural understanding and communication skills and help to prepare them for an international workplace. However, as the push to expand international educational experiences intensifies in North America, so does research demonstrating that immersion alone is not enough to guarantee gains in intercultural learning. It is all too easy for a student who is immersed in a different cultural environment to remain mentally in his or her own cultural monologue while interacting superficially with cultural others. What is needed is a model of approaching intercultural understanding that provides the right kind of epistemological fit for understanding across difference and which can inform intercultural learning in international education programs.

Intercultural understanding is a dynamic and intersubjective form of meaning making. As such, feminist methodologies and Gadamerian hermeneutics can function as useful tools for learning which have the right epistemological fit for the subject matter. Designing pre-departure programs which introduce students to the fact of their epistemological locatedness, the role of interpretation in their everyday understanding of the world, and the need for reflexivity in understanding across difference will prime them for greater success in engaging in intercultural learning. It is hoped that preparing students for their experience abroad will allow them to have the kind of transformative learning experience which study abroad programs promise and help them to see intercultural learning as a lifelong process.

Marino, PatriciaFeminist Perspectives on Rational Choice Theory and the Problem of Altruistic Preferences

Through its use of rational choice theory (RTC), economic methodology models persons as rationally maximizing the satisfaction of our own self-interested preferences. But real people often have altruistic preferences. This paper discusses various responses to this mismatch, drawing on literature in feminist philosophy of economics, and focusing on fairness.

In her now classic 1989 paper "A Feminist Critique of Rational-Choice Theories: Implications for Sociology," Paula England criticizes RTC from a feminist point of view, arguing that the theory not only uses, but also valorizes, self-interested "separative" selves, when women are more likely to be "connected selves." In a 2001 response, "Rational Choice Theory and the Lessons of Feminism,"Ann Cudd challenges these claims on grounds that when it comes to sexism and oppression, RTC aptly diagnoses the difficulties and suggests concrete solutions.

Central to Cudd's response is a refinement of the idea of "self-interest." When preferences range over the preferences of others, double-counting can lead to unfairness: if A wants cake, and B wants cake too, but also wants A's preference to be satisfied, A will end up with most of the cake. But preferences, Cudd says, can be other-regarding in different ways: B may have preferences directly for A's well-being, and then double-counting does not arise. Persons with these other-regarding preferences are self-interested, but not selfish; they are thus connected selves well-modeled by RTC.

To the possibility that interactions will be unfair to the less selfish, Cudd suggests a game-theoretic response, in which careers refuse care to those who do not reciprocate. I argue that that while reciprocity refusals may change behavior, they are unlikely to change preferences; therefore, the problems with fairness still arise. I end with reflections on the role of negotiation in caring relationships.

McCann, CaroleScience and Mrs. Sanger: Boundary Objects of Demography

Following Avery Gordon’s observation that scholars must attend to how “conditions in the past banished certain ideas, things, individuals,” because “those ghosts tie present subjects to past histories,” this paper uses the science studies concept of boundary objects to develop feminist tools for interrogating the ghosts haunting reproductive politics. Boundary objects are flexible discursive and materials objects that “exist at the junctures where varied social worlds meet.” In line with the conference theme of gender, oppression and the public understanding of science, this paper examines how the disciplinary narratives of mid-twentieth century demographers deployed gendered conventions of science and politics to position ‘laywomen’ birth control advocates as objects at the border but outside of their scientific field. It argues that demographers regularly used the figuration of ‘planned parenthood nuts’ publicly to demarcate population politics from their science. The paper begins with a close reading of the folklore surrounding the founding of the Population Association of America as the national professional organization of demographers in 1931. The ‘official’ story, told at the Association’s major anniversaries and written into textbooks, situates the exclusion of Margaret Sanger as the act that warrants demographers claim to objective science. A feminist science studies lens illuminates how the figuration of Sanger as a “troublesome woman” and “propagandist” serves to distinguish authoritative knowledge and its producers from the ‘unknowledges’ generated by birth control advocates. The paper then traces reverberations of this narrative in demographers’ accounts of their conflicts with feminists at three UN Conferences on Population and Development. It concludes that despite the apparent rapprochement between demographers and feminists after the 1994 Cairo Conference feminists remain a vital boundary object distinguishing demographic knowledge from political ideology; and that this figuration continues to haunt/hinter feminist reproductive justice movements.

McHugh, NancyScientific Integrity and Scientific Injustice

Literature on scientific integrity defines scientific misconduct as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism (FFP) in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.” (Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy 2009 3, Steneck 2006, Fannelli 2009). Scientific misconduct is primarily detrimental to the internal integrity of science (Steneck 2006), though it can also have much farther-reaching consequences, such as Andrew Wakefield’s scientific misconduct involved in his fraudulent and fabricated research linking autism to childhood MMR vaccination (Wakefield 1998, 1999, Goodlee 2011). A second form of scientific ethical violation is “questionable research practices” (Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy 2009). These involve misrepresentation, bias and inaccuracies (Steneck 2006) and are defined in the by the National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy as the violation of scientific standards other than those covered by scientific misconduct (2009 5).

A third category of scientific ethics violations, this paper’s primary focus, is what I refer to as scientific injustices. Though “scientific injustice” could be understood broadly, for the purpose of this paper scientific injustice is research and practice in biomedicine and health and governmental policy that harms individuals and groups because of how these individuals and groups are socially situated. Harm is understood to include physical harm, emotional harm, and harm through further social disadvantaging. Thus, scientific injustice occurs at both the level of research, such as misuse and exploitation of research subjects, and at the level of research outcomes and policy, such as the forced sterilization of women as part of North Carolina’s eugenics program. The paper finishes by developing the example of childhood lead poisoning research arguing that while the current framework for scientific ethics is adequate to remediate and mitigate scientific misconduct and questionable research practices, it is an inadequate framework for remediating and mitigating scientific injustice.

McKinney, RachelExtracted Speech and Epistemic Injustice

Much recent philosophical work argues that power constrains speech -- pornography silences women, testimonial injustice thwarts a speaker’s claim to knowledge, bias distorts the performative force of subordinated speech (MacKinnon 1993, Langton/Hornsby 1998, Fricker 2007, Kukla 2012). Though the constraints that power places on speech are serious, power also enables some speech. Power doesn’t just keep us from speaking -- it also makes us speak. This insight plays a central role in the work of Michel Foucault (Foucault 1978, 1985).

In this paper I explore how power produces, rather than constrains, speech. I discuss a kind of speech I call extracted speech: self-subordinating speech that an agent is made to produce.

The paper proceeds as follows. First, I review the literature on silencing, testimonial injustice, and discursive injustice as describing constraining practices of epistemic injustice. Then, I offer a short discussion of Foucault on confession to introduce productive practices of epistemic injustice.

I then give examples of a productive practice of epistemic injustice -- what I call extracted speech. I provide a series of short case studies of police interrogation, coerced consent, and forced disclosure of private information.

I then given an analysis of extracted speech. On my analysis, a speech act is extracted just in case it is (i) elicited from a speaker S, and (ii) subordinates S. Elicitation consists in the conditions under which an utterance is offered as a response to prior discourse. I give a Gricean analysis of elicited speech as that which fulfills the perlocutionary intentions of an interlocutor seeking such speech. Subordination concerns the function of a speaker’s utterance to rank, devalue or license harm against the speaker herself. Such subordination can be either causal or constitutive in nature.

I finally close with some reflections on the theoretical significance of extracted speech.

Meintjes, IngridThe Biopolitics of Delirium

Michel Foucault links the ideas of labor, profit and science thus: the development of the modern life sciences emerged at the same time, and in mutually constitutive events, with the classical political economy, with labor as the fundamental productive force of this economy. Melinda Cooper’s work (2008) describes the ‘modern science of political economy’ whereby the study of life in its evolutionary and ontogenetic development as that which produces, grows and reproduces, occurs at the same time as the subjugation of life to capital.

Deboleena Roy (2012, unpublished) describes the work of the UK-based AUdACiOuS project (Towards a Universal Biological-Cell Operating System), which develops synthetic microbial life forms able to respond to the growing demands for biomass required to feed and sustain the ‘promissory futures of synthetic biology’. Roy’s example shows how inorganic elements are now capable of 'doing' labor for profit. Profit now requires something in excess of life: life has been found wanting, and profit requires overcoming its ecological and economic limits (Cooper, 2008). Now, that which is not alive can overcome life and its limitations, even reproduce it exponentially. Where life was an imperative for profit in the neoclassical model, inorganic life’s ability to overcome biological shortcomings is a boon for neoliberal economics.

Cooper calls this ‘the concept of delirium’: ‘a way of understanding the biotechnological project of reinventing life beyond the limit’, and suggests that a new critique of the political economy is required which interrogates how this new synthetic reality reconfigures the relationship between bodies, science and the economy. Not only is synthetic biology able to produce an ‘inorganic labor force’ (Roy, 2012, unpublished), living labor is (re)subjugated to the profit machinations of synthetic life by re-deploying structures which reproduce colonial-era inequalities (Vargas-Vargas, 2013). Requiring something in excess of life to meet neoliberal profit motives has consequences on the ‘life’ it strives to exceed. This paper applies feminist development economics approaches to social reproduction in order to interrogate some of the material consequences of pursuing the ‘promissory futures of synthetic biology’ (Roy, 2012, unpublished).

Michaud, JanetTransdisciplinary Collaboration and Critical Contextual Empiricism

The terms 'interdisciplinarity' and ‘interdisciplinary collaboration’ have become buzzwords amongst academics within the last decade; they are often used to attract attention in grant and scholarship writing. However, as the topic has gained more traction in the literature, distinctions have been made between different types of approaches to collaborative work across disciplines; namely, multidisciplinary (Gorman 2002), interdisciplinary (Kellert 2008; Repko 2012), and transdisciplinary approaches (Klein 1990; Leavy 2011), among others.

In this paper, I will ask which approach is best suited to fulfill the aims of social epistemologists of science such as Helen Longino. In Longino’s critical contextual empiricism she claims that, in order to make scientific practice and knowledge more objective, we must ensure that there is sufficient critical interaction, uptake, and tempered equality of intellectual authority within scientific communities (1990, 1994, 2002). My aim is to determine, in cases where we value the objectivity of scientific knowledge, which collaborative approach would more easily incorporate the values that Longino claims are necessary to produce fruitful scientific knowledge.

I will argue that transdisciplinary collaboration puts collaborators in the best position possible to fulfill the epistemic goals that social epistemologists like Longino have brought to our attention. Transdisciplinarity aims for collaborators to leave behind the biases, methods, and background assumptions of their disciplines in order to engage in properly cohesive and inclusive collaboration with others from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. Thus, transdisciplinarity allows each collaborative experience to develop its own methods and values free from the influence of inappropriate biases and intellectual authority brought about by disciplinary approaches, readily allowing for tempered equality and uptake. Moreover, the transdisciplinary approach demands that stakeholders also play a role in collaboration; Longino’s criteria allows these collaborators to participate effectively in the collaboration by ensuring that they are also included in the collaborative process.

Miller, SarahEpistemologies of Ignorance and Sexual Violence

Feminist literature on epistemologies of ignorance has made vital advances in recent years for our understandings of and political and ethical responses to various forms of oppression. In this paper, I draw on those recent advances to bring clearer conceptualization to a specific type of oppression that remains underexplored in the epistemologies of ignorance literature and which could benefit significantly from the tools that literature offers, namely, sexual violence. I draw on and extend recent work on the relationships between epistemologies of ignorance and vulnerability (Gilson 2011 and 2013) to analyze how these complex relationships sustain oppressive beliefs about and practices in support of sexual violence.

Taking sexual violence in the present day United States as my focus, I analyze the societal mechanisms that sustain ignorance surrounding certain forms of sexual violence through the active production and maintenance of not knowing about some vulnerabilities and the concomitant heightening of the significance of other vulnerabilities. For example, I analyze the mechanism of the fixation on women’s vulnerability to sexual assault, of women denying their own vulnerability in this regard, of men denying their vulnerability, and of the general population denying the prevalence of certain forms of sexual violation, such as of children and the disabled.

The cost of efforts to maintain ignorance about multiple patterns of sexual violence is extraordinarily high. This ignorance is oppressive for both men and women—though in very different ways. I demonstrate this point by considering a specific example, namely, the prevalent and, I argue, pernicious paradigm of ‘protecting the vulnerable,’ detailing several specific epistemic harms that result from this paradigm, including the assumption of vulnerability and passivity of ‘the vulnerable,’ as well as constructing the subjectivity of sexual violence victims and potential victims in ways that limit and define them nearly solely and derivatively in relation to the subjectivity of the perpetrator (Pohlhaus 2013, and Cahill 2012, and Fricker 2007).

In the final section, I consider possible epistemic, political, and ethical responses to these harms and the social situations that perpetuate them. Among other options, I argue for the importance of teaching ‘the vulnerable’ to protect themselves physically, sexually, psychologically, and emotionally. One place to start would be with the active cultivation of the understanding that one is worthy of one’s own ‘protection,’ as a fundamental component of epistemic and moral self-regard.

Moosa, ShaheenResponsibility for Climate Change: The Problem of Systemic Contributors

There is a challenge in determining who is responsible for mitigation and adaptation efforts regarding climate change, since many of those who contribute to climate change do so in indirect and unintentional ways. For example, take individuals living in affluent nations, who contribute to global institutions and economic arrangements that maintain the conditions of climate change. These individuals, whom I call systemic contributors, often contribute to the impacts of climate change by participating in everyday practices, for example, by filling up one’s gas tank or purchasing products that are shipped into one’s community from great distances. Climate ethicists, such as Dale Jamieson, suggest that common Western moral intuitions concerning responsibility are ill-equipped to ground individual responsibilities concerning climate change, since these intuitions often apply to agents who are causally responsible for harms that are committed with intent and full knowledge of the consequences of one’s actions in immediate, interpersonal contexts. The causes of climate change, however, are spatially and temporally diffuse. This complexity poses an epistemological challenge concerning individual’s knowledge and ignorance of climate science and the way their practices contribute to climate change. Because climate change is a complex phenomena, a model of responsibility that relies on tracking faulty acts back to their particular causes cannot easily reveal how systemic contributors are morally implicated in creating the continuing conditions of global climate change. Iris Marion Young has developed a social connection model of responsibility that, I suggest, provides a promising starting point for grounding the responsibilities of systemic contributors regarding climate change. Exploring the limits of Young’s model, I supplement her approach with an account of systemic contributors’ obligations to act with due care, which includes an epistemological requirement to understand the effects of one’s actions.

Mudde, AnnaPatience, Bonds, and the Small Scale: Thinking with Students About Science

This paper is a meditation on a cross-disciplinary research programme. Inspired by feminist philosophers of science, over the past year, I have been engaged in a project about the ways that scientific practices shape ways of knowing and seeing the world outside of the laboratory. My lens has been the developmental use of analogical thinking and exemplification. I employ a strategy that involves hiring graduate students in the sciences to act as consultants who speak to me in informal ways about their work. In part an exercise in student training, and in part a source of inspiration for me, I have found this strategy to be remarkably useful. In this paper, I reflect on my (developing) strategy and on what I have learned both from the challenges of cross-disciplinary communication and from the students themselves. I will also consider this strategy as a mode of theoretical-political solidarity-building in a time (and, at my institution, a particular context) of divide-and-conquer disciplinary politics.

The title of this paper comes from some of the responses students have given to the question: “Do you ever use analogies with things from ‘everyday life’ to describe or explain a new or complex concept or technology to non-specialists?” While my consultants often use analogies found in the philosophy of science (e.g., Quine’s web; the mirror of nature), one of the challenges I have encountered supports Thomas Kuhn’s insight about scientific education: as one consultant put it, “I wish I knew more about the history of science, so that I could see what I am doing [in the grand scheme of things], and connect it better to my other commitments.” In this paper, I consider that insight in light of my research strategy, which has become a site of unlikely, small, and quiet activism.

Murphy, Claudia Steve Lindaas, Sara Anderson, Alison Wallace, Kathryn Lucero and Whitney OxendahlFracking the Rez: Interdisciplinary Development of An Undergraduate Case Study

Workshop Abstract: We are developing a case study using a large unsolved local environmental issue suited to collaborative learning, thereby expanding student perspectives and understanding of complex scientific and ethical issues. Our group includes representation from Physics, Biology, Philosophy and Women’s and Gender Studies. We are also including two undergraduate students to guide and inform this process.

On a metalevel we are interested in the process of interdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences and the humanities, questions about best practices for producing an environmentally literate student body, questions about best practices for teaching the nature of science, and critical reflections on using environmental justice issues to improve student engagement/interest, science literacy and/or the understanding of the nature of science for underrepresented student populations.

Our case study focuses on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on the Fort Berthold Reservation in ND. We begin with a “story” about fracking on the reservation. The story focuses student attention on one alleged environmental consequence of fracking, e.g. flaring of natural gas, groundwater pollution, negative health effects. Students explore whether that consequence differs on the reservation as compared to elsewhere in ND. Students take a role in identifying stakeholders, in generating and finding answers to research questions and recommending policy.

We use the case study for the first time in an upper division WGS course on Gender, Justice and the Environment in April of 2014. Most of the students in the course are enrolled in order to meet a general education requirement on people and the environment. Most students are not science majors. Student learning outcomes include understanding that degradation of the environment has a disproportionate effect on people targeted with oppression, and understanding that science is politically and socially located.

Science and Technology in Society Teaching Group

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Feminism and Science Research Group

In the Feminism and Science Research Group we conduct research that is unified by attention to justice and the social nature of scientific, technological and medical research. We are interested in research policy, practice, education and implementation. Details