CRITICAL VALUES: FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND THE COMPUTING SCIENCES
My dissertation is an examination of the intersections between epistemology, philosophy of science, and feminist theory. Feminist philosophy of science creates new and valuable ways of looking at the sciences by using gender as a category of analysis, or a lens through which to critically assess and constructively build projects in science, as well as in the philosophy of science. I employ feminist philosophy of science and a gendered lens in particular to examine the computing sciences. Starting specifically from the underrepresentation of women in computing, the project creates a platform for exploring the dimensions and contributions of feminist philosophy of science. This is not merely a critique of philosophy of science or a feminist review of computing, but a positive project in its own right, examining the epistemological structure of scientific inquiry, including the nature of objectivity, epistemic agency and the composition of an epistemic community, the importance of those epistemic communities, and the role of values in science. A central tenet of the work is that objectivity in science does not require leaving personal and political commitments at the lab door, but that social, ethical, cultural, and other values play a foundational epistemological role in science. Using gender as a lens uncovers some of those values for critical evaluation. This is not to deny the importance of the natural, empirical world in science. I argue that a philosophical position must at minimum account for our actual relationships-emotional, embodied, social, etc.-in the world and their impact on our theorizing and that dismissing the embodied experience of scientists results in a diminished understanding of the world in addition to diminished epistemological theories.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:feminist philosophy of science computing and artificial intelligence epistemology
Date of Publication:01/01/2003