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Objectivity and DiversityAnother Logic of Scientific Research$
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Sandra Harding

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241227

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241531.001.0001

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Stronger Objectivity for Sciences from Below

Stronger Objectivity for Sciences from Below

(p.26) 2 Stronger Objectivity for Sciences from Below
Objectivity and Diversity

Sandra Harding

University of Chicago Press

It is an epistemological mistake to conflate the motivation of research by social values or interests with an inevitable deterioriation of its reliability and predictive powers. After all, corporate, imperial, or military interests and motives don’t make weapons less reliable at killing; nor do environmental or health concerns in themselves damage the reliability of research they motivate. Only in some cases, but not all, do social values and interests have that effect. The social justice movements have produced a standpoint methodology more competent to maximize objectivity. The need for standpoint’s “strong objectivity” arises when research communities lack diversity and are isolated from pro-democratic social tendencies. Research that starts off questioning nature and social relations from the daily lives of economically and politically vulnerable groups can increase its reliability and predictive power. Such research insists on the conventional goals of fairness to the data and to its severest criticisms. It retains central commitments of the conventional notion of objectivity while escaping its limitations.

Keywords:   diversity, epistemology, methodology, objectivity, strong, research, social justice, standpoint

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