Objectivity in Science

Volume 310 of the series Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science pp 189-210

A Plurality of Pluralisms: Collaborative Practice in Archaeology

  • Alison WylieAffiliated withDepartments of Philosophy and Anthropology, University of WashingtonDepartment of Philosophy, Durham University Email author 

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Innovative modes of collaboration between archaeologists and Indigenous communities are taking shape in a great many contexts, in the process transforming conventional research practice. While critics object that these partnerships cannot but compromise the objectivity of archaeological science, many of the archaeologists involved argue that their research is substantially enriched by them. I counter objections raised by internal critics and crystalized in philosophical terms by Boghossian, disentangling several different kinds of pluralism evident in these projects and offering an analysis of why they are epistemically productive when they succeed. My central thesis is that they illustrate the virtues of epistemic inclusion central to proceduralist accounts of objectivity, but I draw on the resources of feminist standpoint theory to motivate the extension of these social-cognitive norms beyond the confines of the scientific community.


Archaeology Community-based collaborative research (CBPR) Expertise Norms of justification Oral history Pluralism Procedural objectivity Social/cognitive norms Standpoint theory