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Women in/and Science

Patricia S. Bowne pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu
Wed Feb 19 19:37:05 EST 1997

This is a very interesting thread! I've taught about the
feminist critiques of science in an undergraduate philosophy
of science course off and on for the past 7 years. Like Muriel,
I'm self-taught, with the additional handicap that I disagree
with most of the feminist critiques of method (so far as I 
understand them -- the first time I read that science was
'bourgeois' in Harding, I thought the opposite of 'bourgeois'
was 'aristocratic'! :-D  ). Still, my students have read some
of the material and we've discussed it, and I usually have to
argue the feminist position because none of the students will.
(They're all female, by the way).

Something I noticed last time I taught the course, though, was
that my students, while most of them disagreed with the
feminist critiques, weren't doing so because they believed in
the traditional model of science. They seemed not to believe in
any model of science, for the most part. The curriculum I had
designed to play off their unreflective belief in the old-fashioned
model of science was a dismal failure.

This year, I'm on a committee dealing with professional ethics
and I'm revising the philosophy of science course to deal with
different models of science and how the values embedded in those
models relate to the values students want to live by. We'll be
reading excerpts from Bronowski, Popper, Kuhn, Fox Keller, Latour,
Hull, and Namenwirth, I think. Then we'll discuss ethics cases.

Does anybody know a good source of short ethics case studies I
can use? I especially want ones that deal with the research 
process (both its procedural and cultural aspects), as I want
to teach students something about how that process works and
remind them of the experimental design principles they learned
earlier. I don't want to be bogged down in 'science in society'
topics exclusively, because the discussion veers into too many
other areas.

All the best

Pat Bowne

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