PHIL 560 A: Seminar In The Philosophy Of Science

Objectivity

Meeting Time: 
Th 3:30pm - 5:20pm
Location: 
SAV 408
SLN: 
18292
Instructor:
Alison Wylie

Syllabus Description:

PHIL 560: Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Objectivity, in the ideal and in practice

Weekly readings

  • D&G = Daston and Galison, Objectivity (2007)
  • Kitcher STD = Science, Truth and Democracy (2001) PDF
  • Longino Fate = The Fate of Knowledge (2002)
  • Background: optional readings intended as resources for in-class presentations and term papers.

____________________________________________________________

Week 1 | March 31: Introduction to the seminar

____________________________________________________________

Week 2 | April 6-8: Philip Kitcher week!

April 6, 7:00-8:30 pm: Stice Lecture by Philip Kitcher, ‘Progress in the Sciences and the Arts’, Kane Hall 220. Details / Register

April 7: Philip Kitcher visits the seminar

Required reading: 

  • Kitcher STD: Part I, ‘The Search for Truth’; focus on chapters 3-6.

Background reading: Read at least one of the following reviews and/or search out a review not listed.

  • Simon, J. (2006) ‘The Proper Ends of Science’, Philosophy of Science 2: 194-214. PDF
  • Bluhm, R. (2012) ‘Book Review: Kitcher’s Science in a Democratic Society’, Philosophy, Science & Law, Vol 12. PDF | online
  • Strawson, G. (2002) ‘Scientific Americans’, New York Times, Book Reviews (January 20): 20. PDF
  • Wolpert, L. (2002) ‘Unpersuasive thoughts and unhelpful ideas’, Science 295 (25 January): 633. PDF

Required reading response: Everyone post a response to the first section of STD in which you pose a question for discussion with Kitcher when he meets with the seminar.

April 8, 3:30-5:30: Philosophy Colloquium, Philip Kitcher, ‘Pragmatism, Truth and Progress’, Savery Hall 264.

____________________________________________________________

Week 3 | April 14: Well-ordered science

Required reading:

  • Kitcher STD: Part II, ‘The Claims of Democracy’; focus on chapters 10-12 and 14.

Background reading:

  • Kitcher, P. (2011) ‘Well ordered Science’ in Science in a Democratic Society, pp. 105-137, New York: Prometheus. PDF

 ____________________________________________________________

Week 4 | April 21: Research in an imperfect world

Required reading:

  • Anderson, E. (2006) ‘The Epistemology of Democracy’, Episteme 1-2: 8-22. PDF
  • Brown, M. B. (2004) ‘The Political Philosophy of Science Policy’, Minerva 42: 77-95. PDF

Background reading:

  • Rehg, W. (2011) ‘Evaluating Complex Collaborative Expertise: The Case of Climate Change’, Argumentation 25: 385-400. PDF

____________________________________________________________

Week 5 | April 28: Contextual and historical contingency

Required reading:

  • D&G: Prologue and chapters I-III; focus on ‘Mechanical Objectivity’, pp. 115-190.
  • Hacking, I. (1999) ‘Why Ask What?’ in The Social Construction of What?, 1-34. PDF

Background reading:

  • Daston, L. (1992) “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” Social Studies of Science 22: 597- 618. PDF

____________________________________________________________

Week 6 |  May 5: Trouser words

Required reading:

  • D & G: chapters IV-VII; focus on ‘Trained Judgment’ and ‘Representation to Presentation’, pp. 309-415.
  • Hacking, I. (2015) ‘Let’s Not Talk about Objectivity’, in Padovani, Richardson and Tsou (eds.), Objectivity in Science, pp. 19-34, Dordrecht: Springer. PDF

Background reading:

  • Csiszar, A. (2015) ‘Objectivities in Print’, in Padovani, Richardson and Tsou (eds.), Objectivity in Science, pp. 145-165, Dordrecht: Springer. PDF

____________________________________________________________ 

Week 7 |  May 12: The rational-social dichotomy

Required reading

  • Longino Fate: chapters 1-4; focus on ‘Kitcher’ section in chapter 3, pp. 51-67; and ‘Disassembling the Rational-Social Dichotomy’, pp. 124-144.

Background reading:

  • Douglas, H. (2000) ‘Inductive Risk and Values in Science’, Philosophy of Science 67: 559-579. PDF
  • Intemann, K. (2005) ‘Feminism, Underdetermination, Values in Science’, Philosophy of Science 72: 1001-1012. PDF
  • Elliott, K. C. and D. J. McKaughan (2009) ‘How Values in Scientific Discovery and Pursuit Alter Theory Appraisal’ Philosophy of Science 76: 598-611. PDF

____________________________________________________________

Week 8 |  May 19: Procedural objectivity

Required reading:

  • Longino Fate: chapters 6-9; focus on ‘Socializing Knowledge’, pp. 124-145.

Background reading:


May 19, 7:00-8:30 pm:
Katz Lecture, ‘What Knowers Know Well: Why Feminism Matters to Archaeology, Kane Hall 210. Details

____________________________________________________________

Week 9 |  May 26: ‘Strong’ objectivity

Required reading:

  • Harding, S. (1993) ‘What Is Strong Objectivity?’, in Alcoff and Potter (eds.), Feminist Epistemologies, pp. 49-82, New York: Routledge. PDF
  • Collins, P. H. (1991) ‘Learning from the Outsider Within: The Sociological Significance of Black Feminist Thought’, in Fonow and Cook (eds.) Beyond Methodology, pp. 35-58, Indianapolis IN: Indiana University Press. PDF
  • Haraway, D. (1988) ‘Situated Knowledges” The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective’, Feminist Studies3: 575-599. PDF
  • Wylie, A. (2015) ‘A Plurality of Pluralisms: Collaborative Practice in Archaeology’, in Padovani, Richardson and Tsou (eds.), Objectivity in Science, pp. 189-210, Dordrecht: Springer. PDF

Background reading:

  • Lloyd, E. A. (1995) ‘Objectivity and the Double Standard for Feminist Epistemologies’, Synthese 3: 351-381. PDF
  • Wylie, A. (2012) “Standpoint Matters: Feminist Philosophy of Science,” Pacific Division Presidential Address, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 86.2: 47-76.

 ____________________________________________________________

Week 10 | June 2: Final thoughts

Required reading:

  • Scheman, N. (2001/2011) ‘Epistemology Resuscitated: Objectivity as Trustworthiness’, in Tuana and Morgen (eds.), Engendering Rationalities, pp. 23-52, New York: SUNY Press. PDF
  • Grasswick, H. (2014) ‘Climate Change Science and Responsible Trust’, Hypatia 3: 541-557. PDF
  • Melo-Martîn, I. and K. Intemann (2011) ‘Feminist Resources for Biomedical Research: Lessons from HPV Vaccines’, Hypatia 1: 80-101. PDF

Background reading:

  • Howes, M. (2015) ‘Objectivity, Intellectual Virtues, and Community’, in Padovani, Richardson and Tsou (eds.), Objectivity in Science, pp. 173-188, Dordrecht: Springer. PDF

Required reading response: Post a retrospective reading response in these questions: Should we stop talking about ‘objectivity’? If yes, what are the alternatives? If no, how should we talk about it and/or how is it best conceptualized?

 

Additional Details:

Topic: Objectivity. Of all the epistemic ideals that have come in for critical reassessment in recent decades, ‘objectivity’ is perhaps most sharply contested. What counts as objectivity has been shown to have a history, to be contingent and changeable depending on context, interest, and the specific types of epistemic failings it is meant to counteract, and sometimes to mask the operation of the very distorting interests researchers are meant to transcend in the name of objectivity.  The aim of this seminar is to take stock of this epistemic ideal and assess what is at issue in debates that turn on claims of ‘objectivity’. We will begin with two retrospective accounts: Kitcher’s philosophical assessment in Science, Truth and Democracy (2001), and Daston and Galison’s social history of Objectivity (2007). We then turn to a close reading of contemporary philosophical accounts of objectivity as informed, on one hand, by analysis of scientific methodology and, on the other hand, by debate about the role of values in science. Philip Kitcher is the 2016 Stice Lecturer; he will join the seminar meeting on April 7. 

This is a reading-intensive seminar. The requirements include weekly reading responses and in-class presentations as well as a thesis-driven paper in which you analyze ideals of objectivity as these figure in your area of primary research interest.

For a more detailed description see the course website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1043337

TEXTS: Objectivity, Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison; Science, Truth, and Democracy, Philip Kitcher; The Fate of Knowledge, Helen E. Longino.

Credits: 
5
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:07pm