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Science Multicultural? Postcolonialism, Feminism, and. Epistemologies

Science Multicultural? Postcolonialism, Feminism, and. Epistemologies. Science popularization books, La Terre avant le déluge by Louis Figuier and L'Univers: Les infiniment grands et les infiniment petits by Félix-Archimède Pouchet, represent the success of science popularization publishing of this period and the desire to spread naturalistic knowledge far and wide. With a spiritual approach to nature, they underline the important epistemological stakes of this. The aim of this study is to question the literary, stylistic and formal strategies to assert or underline thoughts on nature in these books.

Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, . .By trying to show that science is g either that knowledge is valid only within a particular socio-cultural context or that socio-cultural or political factors are imbued within the content of science, Harding disputes the conventional view characteristic of the scientific enterprise: knowledge accumulation, objectivity, disinterested inquiry, universality, rationality, unity of science and parismony.

There are only feminists doing science. Admittedly, I did not read this entire book. I would love to do so, but there simply isn't time. Trying to understand varying perspectives, and then using those perspectives in deciding which questions need to be asked, or how to ask them, doesn't make "feminist science" or "Jewish science" or "American science. Trying to figure out how to ask the right questions is simply one aspect of science as a whole. For any given topic there is a fact of the matter, and that fact is not feminist or northern or rural or conservative. What I have read, the chapters about science and feminist epistemologies, was very good.

Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies book. Start by marking Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

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Is Science Multicultural? explores what the last three decades of European/American, feminist, and postcolonial science and technology studies can learn from each other. Sandra Harding introduces and discusses an array of postcolonial science studies, and their implications for "northern" science. All three science studies strains have developed in the context of post-World War II science and technology projects. They illustrate how technoscientific projects mean different things to different groups.

Harding, S. (1998)Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies, Indiana University Press, Bloomington. Hess, D. J. (1995)Science and Technology in a Multicultural World, Columbia, New York. Gheverghese, J. G. (1991)The Crest of the Peacock: Non-European Roots of Mathematics, I. B. Tauris & C. New York. Keller, E. F. (1984)Reflections on Gender and Science, Yale University Press, New Haven.

Feminist theory’s emphasis on boundary-crossing epistemologies and gendered bodies can help critical realism complicate its notion of the bifurcation between epistemology and ontology.

Feminist theory’s emphasis on boundary-crossing epistemologies and gendered bodies can help critical realism complicate its notion of the bifurcation between epistemology and ontology ) attention to the risks of epistemic violence, to questions about credible witnesses.

The science question in feminism. Library availability.

Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies. Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World.

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Harding, being fairly well known in the fields of feminisms and epistemologies, seems to be merely interested in profit with this book. While discussing the material in a class, many first time readers have pointed out to me various points where Harding actually contradicts what she has said only chapters before. Her rhetoric is so flowery that I myself have often lost the direction of her argument and require significant re-reading and elimination of sentences to garner any valuable points. Harding continually refers to the same exact points over and over and over in a whirlwind of words that even she gets lost in. While her concepts are noble and indeed poignant, Harding could have slimmed some radical feministic viewpoints (women bear most of the damage of militaristic tendencies), and much, much more of the flowery language that weighs this book down into the most esoteric of philosophical endeavors, truly seeking knowledge of post-Kuhnian accounts and post-colonial studies from a strongly objective standpoint. (Last "sentence" inspired by far too many fruitless readings of Hardings work) Seek out Haraway or other Harding works rather than this garbled attempt.
By trying to show that science is multicultural-meaning either that knowledge is valid only within a particular socio-cultural context or that socio-cultural or political factors are imbued within the content of science, Harding disputes the conventional view characteristic of the scientific enterprise: knowledge accumulation, objectivity, disinterested inquiry, universality, rationality, unity of science and parismony. She presents her case by employing a range of disparate arguments some of which are; 1) irrelevant examples, 2) her `strong objectivity' argument, 3) Western science is an amalgam of other cultures' sciences and technologies, 4) propositions are valid relative only to the considered alternatives, 5) radical philosophy of science claims, 6) mistaken blending of science and technology, 7) increase of knowledge creates increase of ignorance somewhere else, 8) linguistic modifications fill in for philosophical discourse, 9) `knowledge systems' are local. I think none of these approaches go to any length in answering her question. Below are a few of my responses to some of the above.

1) Early on, Harding mentions Traweek's study of American and Japanese physicists but then we are told that Traweek didn't detect differences in knowledge production between these two cultures. I wonder how this example is relevant.

Harding speculates about theory plausibility and geography. "... cultures living on the edges of continental plates might well find the geology of plate techtonics [sic] more plausible (and "interesting"!) than do cultures with little experience of earthquakes, volcanos, and other phenomena characteristic of plate-juncture environments. The latter may have developed geological theories based on their experiences of the vertical movement of the earth visible in mountain ranges--theories that appear implausible and/or uninteresting to the plate-juncture dwellers." (p64)

First off, which culture would come up with the extraordinary idea of plate tectonics or experience vertical motion of mountain ranges?? Alfred Wegener, the originator of the theory of continental drift was born, lived and worked in Germany and Austria. After I plotted his various residences and compared it to earthquake hazard and volcano maps of northern Europe, I found that he resided in virtually the most geologically quiescent area in Europe. Even the one volcano in Germany (the West Eifel Volcanic field on the west side of the Rhine river) was nowhere near any of his residences. And most geologists of the time--even those who lived in high earthquake zones--gave his theory a cold reception. This one major data point seems contrary to Harding's geo-speculation. According to her, Wegener would of found his own theory highly unlikely.
6) On page 11, Harding first argues that scientific knowledge is created using technological practices and technologies. Then she claims that scientific research is focused on creating useful or new technologies (which is not really the case). She then concludes that scientific knowledge is inseparable from the technologies of its production which she then cojoins into one: technoscience. This is simply fallacious. Science, basic research, tries to answer certain questions about how nature works. Theories or hypotheses *can* eventually be applied to produce new technologies. Additionally, you don't have to have a science to have technical know-how... which is different from knowing why or providing an explanation or making a prediction. Do other cultures have a science like the 'West'? We don't know as none of the other cultures' sciences are ever discussed or detailed in the book. As Lewis Wolpert states; "The motivations behind science and technology are very different. The final product of science is an idea, or information, probably in a scientific paper; the final product of technology is an artefact--the clock or the electric motor, say. Unlike science, the product of technology is measured not against nature but in terms of its novelty and the value that a particular culture puts on it." (p31. The Unnatural Nature of Science.) So just because science uses technology doesn't mean it automatically should be subject to the same value analysis as that of technology or applied science. Some scientific theories or ideas may never have applications: black holes, quantum computing, gamma-ray bursts, etc. Others have seen applications such as the laser. Surprisingly, on the same page, Harding acknowledges that one can talk about technology without talking about science. Unfortunately though, we don't really get this through the rest of the book. Instead, we get science conjoined to technology which then gets blamed for all the hideous techno-environmental disasters. But as Gross and Levitt point out in their hard-hitting critique of the postmod relativists and the like; "For every bomb there is a vaccine; for every ICBM, a CAT scanner." (Higher Superstition, 1997)

9) "...all knowledge systems, including those of modern sciences, are local ones." (px) Harding implies that knowledge is infused with various geographical, socio-cultural, political, gender or personal biases of its origin of creation. Ignoring for the moment that this local knowledge claim is actually a universal one, she argues that universality is a specific cultural and epistemic characteristic of the West and is actually used, according to her, to invalidate and de-value other 'knowledge systems'. (Again, no real examples are provided.) But we have to wonder how Relativity or chemistry for example, don't apply universally; or how they purportedly contain biases or de-value other local knowledge systems. But if, as Harding states (p8), that scientific and technological ideas slip across borders as easily as air, then how can knowledge be `local'? She also indicates that non-Europeans should have access to the benefits that international science and technology offer; but then, this is the same science that has supposedly destroyed, "de-developed," the local knowledge systems of other cultures. We're trying to have it both ways here.

I would just say that the only real multicultural factor in science is in the composition of the scientific community itself.
Sandra Harding's work is a sharp reply to the elitism of the neo-positivists. In refuting realism, she seeks to put together the best of postcolonial, feminist and postmodern critiques of modern science. In a sharply dialectical manner(so rare these days) Harding maps the contributions and limitations of modern Science. She dismantles scientific myths, highlighting the fact that since its inception modern European Science has been multicultural. She does not throw the baby with the bathwater and argues for the possibility of a reconstructed notion of objectivity. For reconstructing objectivity, she goes back to what has been in her earlier works, her forte- 'standpoint epistemology'. She demonstrates how political disadvantage translates into an analytical advantage; experiences and knowledges of the oppressed are critical resources for a theory of society and nature. Thus Harding rejects realism but unlike many others who do so, does not get trapped into relativism.Overall, Hardings book is an excellent resource on how feminist and postcolonial scholarship is an engagement with the politics of Science. This work shows how not all postmodern epistemologies are necessarily anti-modern. A must for all feminist and postcolonial scholars.