I think we have some awesome things, as a group, to present tomorrow. Essentially, my contribution comes from discussions I've had with Naomi and Helen Longino (another philosophy professor).
One needs to look very carefully at not only the source of scientific findings, but also at the context in which they are being utilized. We (as a society) ought to take the time to interrogate the assumptions, experiences and social circumstances of all the parties involved. In my mind, this is one of the messages of this course-- that things such as "objectivity" and "science" do not exist in an intellectual vacuum, and that there really is no such thing as absolute certainty or neutrality. All researchers and reporters of research are "positioned"... Both professors will concede that there is likely some compelling evidence for sex differences in certain abilities. What those are, exactly, and how they would factor into the process and efficacy of education are very much up for debate. In addition, what are the aims of such research? How do (or can) they contribute to a productive discussion about different demographics in science and math-related industries? How do such findings bode for the advancement of equal treatment and opportunity for talented and motivated women? In what way could such findings add to the general advancement of human understanding and pursuit of personal happiness?
These are the questions we might want to ask. I'd like to point out that these purported differences are by nobody's account great, or even persistent. The "debate" is in some ways not about the science so much as their social implications, insinuations, and the lack of trust between those operating in different intellectual paradigms.Posted by penn0079 at May 3, 2005 10:12 PM