Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 7, pp 1801–1806 | Cite as

Précis of Objectivity and diversity: another logic of scientific research

  • Sandra HardingEmail author

Central assumptions in today’s dominant philosophy of science were formulated in the context of the encounter of Vienna Circle logical positivism with McCarthyism and the Cold War. The Vienna Circle physicist philosophers, all socialists and mostly Jewish, were émigrés from European fascism. When they sought to settle in the United States, insisting on value-freedom for science and its philosophy—“the view from nowhere”—became a political necessity. Historians point out that they thereby turned the unity of science thesis into one about the nature of science, though it had originally been a call, a plea, for scientists to share a focus on the social problems for which fascists were already starting to provide hideous “solutions” (Reisch 2005).

But that was many decades ago. Today we live in a world animated by strikingly different social and political impulses and science institutions. Yet that value-free ideal of objectivity is still used to police university research, public debates,...


Objectivity Diversity Methodology Epistemology Social justice movements 


  1. Calhoun, C., Warner, M., & Van Antwerpen, J. (2007). Varieties of secularism in a secular age. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Daston, L., & Galison, P. (2007). Objectivity. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Evans, R., & Collins, H. (2007). Rethinking expertise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Galison, P., & Stump, D. (1996). The disunity of science. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Goodenough, W. H. (1996). Navigation in the Western Carolines: A traditional science. In L. Nader (Ed.), Naked science: Anthropological inquiry into boundaries, power, and knowledge. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Hacking, I. (1983). Representing and intervening. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Harding, S. (Ed.). (1987). Feminism and methodology: Social science issues. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Harding, S. (1991). Strong objectivity and socially situated knowledge. In S. Harding (Ed.), Whose science? Whose knowledge?. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Harding, S. (Ed.). (1993). The “Racial” economy of science: Toward a democratic future. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Harding, S. (Ed.). (2004). The feminist standpoint theory reader. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Harding, S. (Ed.). (2011). The postcolonial science and technology studies reader. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hollinger, D. (1996). Science, jews, and secular culture. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Jacob, M. (1988). The cultural meanings of the scientific revolution. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  14. Jakobsen, J. R., & Pellegrini, A. (Eds.). (2008). Secularisms. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Jasanoff, S. (Ed.). (2004). States of knowledge: The co-production of science and social order. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Jasanoff, S. (Ed.). (2005). Designs on nature: Science and Democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Tersity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kellert, S. H., Longino, H. E., & Waters, C. K. (Eds.). (2006). Scientific pluralism. Minn: Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  18. Kuhn, T. S. (1970). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Levey, G. B., & Modood, T. (Eds.). (2009). Secularism, religion and multicultural citizenship. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Mendieta, E., & VanAntwerpen, J. (Eds.). (2011). The power of religion in the public sphere. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Muhlhausler, P. (2001). Ecolinguistics, linguistic diversity, ecological diversity. In L. Maffi (Ed.), On biocultural diversity: Linking language, knowledge, and the environment. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  22. Padovani, F., Richardson, A., & Tsou, J. Y. (Eds.). (2015). Objectivity in science: New perspectives from science and technology studies. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Proctor, R. (1991). Value-free science? Purity and power in modern knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Reisch, G. A. (2005). How the cold war transformed philosophy of science: To the icy slopes of logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Richardson, A. W. (2006). The many unities of science: Politics, semantics, and ontology. In S. H. Kellert, H. E. Longino, & C. K. Waters (Eds.), Scientific pluralism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  26. Sands, K. (2008). Feminisms and secularisms. In J. R. Jakobsen & A. Pellegrini (Eds.), Secularisms. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Scott, C. (1996). Science for the west, myth for the rest? In L. Nader (Ed.), Naked Science. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Selin, H. (2007). Encyclopedia of the history of science, technology and medicine in non-western cultures (2nd ed.). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  29. Visvanathan, N., et al. (Eds.). (2011). The women, gender, and development reader (2nd ed.). New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Education and Gender StudiesUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations