Why are objectivity and reason characterized as male and subjectively and feeling as female? How does this characterization affect the goals and methods of scientific enquiry? This groundbreaking work explores the possibilities of a gender-free science and the conditions that could make such a possibility a reality. “Keller’s book opens up a whole new range of ideas for anyone who cares to think about the history of science, that is, the history of the modern world. . . Let us be glad to be in times when such a sparkling, innovative. . . book can be produced, a book to start all of us thinking in new directions.”―Ian Hacking, New Republic “A brilliant and sensitive undertaking that does credit not only to feminist scholarship but, in the end, to science as well.”―Barbara Ehrenreich, Mother Jones “This book represents the expression of a particular feminist perspective made all the more compelling by Keller’s evident commitment to and understanding of science. As a lively and important contribution to the scholarship of science, it will undoubtedly stimulate argument and controversy.”―Helen Longino, Texas Humanist “Provocative arguments, presented with authority.”― Kirkus Reviews “Consistently thoughtful, provocative, and interconnected. . . A well-made book that will be useful in upper-level undergraduate and graduate women’s studies, philosophy, and history of science.”―E.C. Patterson, Choice “Written with grace and clarity, [this book] will stand as an important contribution to feminist theory, to the sociology of knowledge and to the continuing critique of the established scientific method.”―Lillian B. Rubin “A powerful book.”―Jessie Bernard
Evelyn Fox Keller (born 1936) is an American physicist, author, and feminist and is currently a Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Keller has also taught at New York University and in the department of rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.
Keller received her B.A. in physics from Brandeis University in 1957 and continued her studies in theoretical physics at Harvard University graduating with a Ph.D. in 1963. She became interested in molecular biology during a visit to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory while completing her Ph.D. dissertation. Her subsequent research has focused on the history and philosophy of modern biology and on gender and science.
She is also on the advisory board of FFIPP-USA (Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace-USA), a network of Palestinian, Israeli, and International faculty, and students, working in for an end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and just peace.
A set of essays split into three parts. The first part is a historical analysis which ranges from Plato to Bacon and the Age of Reason. Part two looks at subject and object. The final part considers theory, practice and ideology. It requires careful reading if, like me, you don’t have a scientific background and the chapter on quantum mechanics was a challenge. This was written in the 1980s and Keller’s main work is as a molecular biologist. Keller looks at the assumptions underpinning scientific research and method and looks at why objectivity has been seen as male and subjectivity as female. The essays cover a broad range of topics including historical philosophy, psychoanalysis and sociology as well as science. Keller takes a specifically feminist perspective and the implications for science and its study. She analyses the work of a colleague, Barbara McClintock and speculates how gender issues impacted on her and her work, despite winning the Nobel Prize. Keller makes the argument for a gender free science very convincingly and ends at an appropriate point: “To know the history of science is to recognize the mortality of any claim to universal truth. Every past vision of scientific truth, every model of natural phenomena, has proved in time to be more limited than its adherents claimed. The survival of productive difference in science requires that we put all claims for intellectual hegemony in their proper place – that we understand that such claims are, by their very nature political rather than scientific.”
a seminal text on how aspects of gender are deeply embedded within the structure of science, enjoyable in the sense of being enlightening. the case study of McClintock's career and questions about objectivity were the most interesting, as i wasn't as convinced with some of the developmental psychology ideas.
David A. Hollinger tarafından harika bir önsöz yazılmış, kendisi şöyle demiş: “Keller, bilimin eril bir proje olmaktan çıkartılıp insani bir proje olarak yine bilimin içinden kişilerce düzeltilmesi ve duygusal emek ile düşünsel emek arasındaki, bilimin erkeklere tahsis edilmiş bir alan olarak kalmasını sağlayan iş bölümünün reddedilmesi çağrısını yapıyor.” Bilim pratiği ile dil arasındaki ilişkiyi türlü makaleler üzerinden irdeleyen Keller, “Bilimin doğası erillik fikrine ne kadar bağlıydı ve başka türlü olsaydı bu durum bilim açısından ne anlam ifade ederdi?” ve “İnsan deneyiminin bir yönünü eril, diğerini dişi adlandırmak ne anlama gelir?” sorularına yanıt arıyor. Duygusal ve düşünsel iş bölümünde kadınlara duygusal ve kişisel olma alanı atfedilirken erkeklere ise bilimsel, gayri şahsi ve akli olan alanlar tahsis edilimiştir. Bu bölünmenin sonucunda kadınlar bilim pratiğinden dışlanmakla kalmamış, dişil ile eril, öznel ile nesnel, sevgi ile erkek arasında geniş ve derin bir uçurum yaratmış; toplumun tüm üyeleri bu kurgudan bir şekilde etkilenmiştir. Bilim dünyasında bir değişiklik arzusunu kokladığım bu kitapta, sadece bilimde değil günlük yaşamda da kullandığımız dilin ne kadar önemli şeylere neden ve sonuç olabileceğini kavradığımı eklemek isterim. Dudaklarımızın arasından dökülen o kelimelerin, bilimin nesne ile doğa üzerinde tahakküm kurmasının bireyin kendisini fildişi bir kulede konumlandırıp zarar görmeyecek bir otorite olarak tanımladığını fark etmemi sağladı.
Excelentes flexiones de Keller en torno al origen de la objetividad tal y como la entendemos hoy (como distanciamiento y frialdad) y sus raíces patriarcales. Quien esté buscando un panfleto anticientífico se llevará una gran decepción, ya que los aportes de esta filósofa y científica tienen como función que nos planteemos críticamente el papel y el quehacer de la ciencia y sus elementos constitutivos, pero no con el deseo de arramblar con ellos, sino para reformarlos y poder hacer una mejor ciencia en el futuro. Y por ello obras como esta de Fox Keller se vuelven impresdindibles.
Keller’s argument that science and scientists view the world through a gendered lens remains a critical perspective. Unfortunately, her baroque writing style clouds the message behind an impenetrable wall of “academese.”
A. Synopsis: How much of the nature of science is bound up with the idea of masculinity, and what would it mean for science if it were otherwise? This book is a collection of essays which explores the relationship between gender (using feminist theory) and science (using the social studies of science), both of which are socially constructed. The social studies of science draws on Kuhn and others who have argued that more than internal logic goes into choosing what is the best theory. Feminist theory explores why objectivity, reason, and mind are considered masculine and subjectivity, feeling, and nature as female. B. Structure: The book is structured into three sections: historical, psychological, and scientific/philosophical C. Historical couplings of mind and nature (history) 1. One of the most common metaphors in Western history is the sexual metaphor for knowledge. Knowledge is a form of consummation, a mastery over the feminine nature. This section explores two different periods in Western history each with different perspectives of nature and a science-gender system. The first is the sexual imagery of Plato’s dialogues. Plato restricts knowledge to the domain of theory and nature to the realm of forms. Thus he is able to make a path to knowledge guided by love and not aggression. Second, is the Baconian conception of the path to knowledge. His path is through experiment and the object is material, and not the world of forms. This is an aggressive way to view a feminine nature. D. The inner world of subjects and objects (psychology) 1. This section is based upon psychoanalytic object-relations theory. This explores how our early family relations shape our conception of the world. This section explores how subjectivity was linked with femininity. When an infant is born it is a ball of subjectivity. As it develops it gains a sense of itself as separate from the world, particularly the mother, and thus the infant becomes objective. Western patterns of childrearing encourage this autonomy or objectivity more strongly in little boys than girls. She argues that science might be better if it adopted a “dynamic objectivity” or a way for the scientists to become sympathetic with their observations. E. Theory, practice, and ideology in the making of science (science/philosophy) 1. Here she argues what the content of science might become if scientists were able to tackle problems more hermaphroditically. Her argument is not for more women to become involved in science, but for a the mental characteristics usually associated with females to become involved in all science.
Incredibly informative, important work exposing the ways patriarchal norms influence scientific inquiry. The impact can be found in what is explored, the way it is studied, the interpretation of findings, as well as in the language used to discuss science, nature, and the mind.
Apart from the insanely complicated essay on quantum mechanics, this is a stellar read even for humanities-inclined people. Contains a pretty fantastic cut-down of the idea of the autonomous white male scientist as an ideal.