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March 11:   Catherine Hundleby (University of Windsor)

“Rehabilitating Scientific Objectivity”

Abstract: The history of the concept of objectivity reveals locations for its constructive evolution and rehabilitation. It became associated with science as an element of communication and the sharing of experience (Daston 1992; Daston & Galison 2007). These social and empirical elements reveal continuity between the history of the concept and feminist revisions of it that may allow it to be effectively transformed. Conceiving objectivity as absence of perspective has been a rather recent turn in the concept’s history (Daston 1992; Daston & Galison 2007), but the aperspectival ideal remains quite entrenched in contemporary thinking (Harding 2015). For decades feminists have rejected that ideal and developed alternative conceptions of objectivity (Harding 1991; 2015; Longino 1990; 1997) primarily in reaction against the aperspectival ideal. This move receives further support from recent research on implicit social biases indicates that individual reflection can be not only ineffective against such biases. An aperspectival ideal may even be counterproductive in pursuing an ideal of objectivity as value neutrality: people who value objectivity tend to have stronger social biases (Uhlmann & Cohen 2005; 2007), which makes this transformation all the more urgent.

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Date(s) - March 11, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

McMaster University, Kenneth Taylor Hall 109


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