Is the scientific value of objectivity in conflict with the social justice commitment to diversity? In her latest book, Objectivity and Diversity: A New Logic of Scientific Inquiry (University of Chicago Press, 2015),Sandra Harding (Education and Gender Studies, UCLA) argues not only that objectivity and diversity need not be in conflict, but that good research ought to be committed to both values at the same time. The book draws on a rich array of scholarship, spanning from 20th century philosophy of science to contemporary studies in indigenous and postcolonial philosophy and activism. It is an intricate study of the ways in which objectivity, positivism, and secularism are all deeply intertwined with their social contexts and historical moments. The book ultimately advocates a science that is both responsive to a methodological requirement for strong objectivity, and originates in local communities.
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Join John, Emily, and the lamp specter of B for this week’s discussion of some of the work of Dutch anthropologist and philosopher of medicine, Annemarie Mol. In this episode, we read several essays of Mol’s spanning three decades, and grappling with such questions as: who know what a woman is and how do the sciences both create and obscure her? What does Actor Network Theory (ANT) make of such terms as “coordination” and “order,” and can ANT make good on the promise of “theory” more generally? How are the “real” and “political” implicated in and through one another, and what is the ontological turn in Science and Technology Studies?
Our conversation asks about the relationship between epistemology and ontology, about the consequences of these views for democratic theory and democracy more broadly, and we even try our hand at engaging in a little Rawlsian thought experiment! We’ll leave it up to you to decide how well it plays out. The episode closes with a My Tumblr Friend from Canada question regarding some recents comments made by Bill Nye the Science Guy about the relevance of philosophy to science and in general.
We would also like to announce the launch of our new Patreon account. The first few minutes of the episode are replete with details regarding donating to the podcast, and rewards for our patrons. Please give it a listen, check out the site here, and consider sponsoring us if you are a fan! We are greatly appreciative and (we hope) appropriately humbled and reflexive by/about our neoliberal subjectivity. Thank you for your support!
Thanks to listener dmf of Synthetic Zero for suggesting we read these texts. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. Thanks to Leah Dion and to B for the music.
On this week’s episode Emily, Rachel, and B attempt to crack Max Horkheimer’sEclipse of Reason, written in 1947 in the aftermath of World War II. We focus in particular on chapter 2, “Conflicting Panaceas,” and chapter 3, “The Revolt of Nature.” We begin by discussing his somewhat surprisingFreudian turn in chapter 3, his critique of the scientific method, positivism and neo-Thomism, and his brilliant use of the term “philosophical technocracy” in critiquing the instrumental use of reason. Next, we attempt to unravel whether there is somewhat of a latent philosopher-king in his analysis of the cultural crisis of reason. In our segment on all dreams big and small, “One or Several Wolves,” we keep it brief and sweet–some dreams are just that transparent.
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. Thanks to Leah Dion and to B for the music.
The rest of our discussion of Reassembling the Social by Bruno Latour. This part of the conversation features some critiques we have of Latour, the style of the text, the ethics and politics of his project and knowledge production more generally, and the relation between Latour and other theorists.
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 here. Listen to the first part of the Latour talk here.
Thanks to Jordan Cass for the music in the episode.
In this ‘action’ filled episode, listen to B, John, and guest-host Lindsey Whitmore discuss Latour’s sociologically controversial book Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Covering topics from the infamy of agency to the ethics of documenting individual lives and experience(s), the team attempts to reassemble Latour for the purposes of critique. What is agency, and how do non-human entities act as agents? Can Actor-Network Theory be used to critique capitalism itself, or only the explanations used by critical theory that posit capitalism as an all-invasive force? What’s the deal with social construction and science?
This episode also includes part one of John’s interview with PhD student and freelance writer (and meme-maker extraordinaire) Amy Schiller, discussing her recentpieces on philanthropy and the way that marketized, consumer-driven “philanthro-capitalism” subsumes public, collective programs under ultra-wealthy private money and neoliberal market logics. We conclude by giving advice on attending a conference for the first time and academics dating non-academics without being pretentious elitists.
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Advice questions to submit? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Like our Facebook page. Download the mp3 here.
Thanks to Jordan Cass for the music in the episode.