Making Up Knowers: Objectivity and Categories of Epistemic Subjects by Jennifer Jill Fellows B.A. University of Calgary 2003 M.A. University of Calgary 2005 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Philosophy) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2011 © Jennifer Jill Fellows, 2011 ii Abstract The aim of this dissertation is simple: to defend the epistemic concept of objectivity as one that has done and continues to do good ethical and epistemic work for some communities. Because of this good work, I argue, in contrast to philosophers like Richard Rorty and Lorraine Code, that objectivity should not be removed from epistemic discourse—it is a valuable ideal to have. Relying on work from Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, I will identify objectivity as a concept with a layered and changing history. There are multiple different conceptions of the concept of objectivity currently identified, and more new conceptions being suggested. So, when I claim that objectivity is a valuable ideal to hold, what I mean is that specific conceptions of the concept of objectivity have had ethical and epistemic virtues in their times and places, and there are current suggested conceptions of objectivity that also seem to have ethical and/or epistemic virtues. These virtues are a result of the effect that the role of objectivity as an ideal has on epistemic subjects who adopt it. I will defend objectivity as an ideal, not as an attainable epistemic perspective. I argue that all conceptions of objectivity share a structure that unifies them under the concept of objectivity. All conceptions of objectivity aim at overcoming something identified as problematically subjective (What this thing is will vary in given times and places). This recognition of the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity allows me to give an analysis of how different conceptions of objectivity yield different conceptions of the epistemic subject. Relying on work done by Ian Hacking, I will argue that the ideal iii of objectivity serves as a mechanism for making up knowers. Self-reflection and self- policing are at the heart of this method by which categories of knowers are created. Using the examples of the U.S. suffrage movement and Marine-Protected Areas, I will demonstrate that the ideal of objectivity obligates self-reflective persons which has been and continues to be both ethically and epistemically beneficial. iv Table of Contents Abstract...........................................................................................................................ii Table of Contents...........................................................................................................iv Acknowledgements........................................................................................................vi Dedication....................................................................................................................viii Chapter 1: The Path Ahead............................................................................................1 1.1. Introduction.........................................................................................................2 1.2. What is Objectivity?............................................................................................6 1.3. The Plan and Objective.....................................................................................19 1.3.1. Chapter Summary.....................................................................................20 Chapter 2: Objectivity in Question................................................................................25 2.1. Introduction.......................................................................................................25 2.2. Why Not Objectivity?.........................................................................................29 2.2.1. Rorty's Objections and Alternatives...........................................................29 2.2.2. Code's Charges Against Objectivity..........................................................44 2.3. Standpoint Theory and Sandra Harding...........................................................51 2.4. Problems with Rorty's Alternative.....................................................................58 2.4.1. Rorty and Habermas.................................................................................59 2.4.2. Objectivity, Truth, and Minority Opinion.....................................................65 2.5. Caricature and Change.....................................................................................76 2.6. Conclusion........................................................................................................81 Chapter 3: Making Up Knowers...................................................................................84 3.1. Introduction.......................................................................................................84 3.2. The Objective/Subjective Distinction................................................................86 3.3. Daston and Galison and the History of Objectivity...........................................94 3.3.1. Truth-To-Nature to Mechanical Objectivity................................................99 3.3.2. Aperspectival Objectivity..........................................................................106 3.3.3. Max Weber and Value-Freedom..............................................................111 3.4. The Subject and Community...........................................................................116 3.4.1. What is a Community?.............................................................................116 3.4.2. Community-Constrained Possibilities of Persons...................................123 3.5. Subjects and Objectivity.................................................................................131 3.6. Conclusion......................................................................................................138 Chapter 4: Objectivity, Ethics, and Minority Opinion..................................................140 4.1. Introduction.....................................................................................................140 4.2. Objectivity and The Suffrage Movement.........................................................143 4.2.1. The Response.........................................................................................152 4.2.2. Ethical Benefits of Objectivity in the Suffrage Movement.......................157 4.3. The Bias-Stalemate........................................................................................161 4.3.1. Moving Past Biases and the Problem of Community..............................165 4.4. The Next Stalemate?......................................................................................176 4.4.1. Empiricism and Standpoint Theory.........................................................186 4.5. Stalemates and Objectivity.............................................................................191 v4.6. Conclusion......................................................................................................194 Chapter 5: Trust, Downwind of the Expert.................................................................197 5.1. Introduction ....................................................................................................197 5.2. The Reconceptualization of Objectivity..........................................................199 5.2.1. Longino, Wylie and Inter-community Dialog............................................201 5.2.2. Objectivity and Trust-building..................................................................206 5.2.3. Trust-building Through Knowledge-Sharing............................................217 5.3. The Appearance of Trust-building in MPA's....................................................222 5.3.1. MPA's and the Stakeholder.....................................................................224 5.3.2. Lessons From Knowledge-Sharing in MPA's..........................................230 5.3.3. Ethical and Epistemic Benefits................................................................234 5.3.4. Concerns with the Current MPA Collaboration........................................239 5.4. Possible Solutions to the Problem of Trust.....................................................244 5.4.1. Rhetoric and Trust...................................................................................244 5.4.2. Humour and Trust-building......................................................................252 5.5. The New Objective Ideal.................................................................................259 5.5.1 The Epistemic Subject to be Overcome...................................................260 5.5.2 The Regime for Overcoming ...................................................................261 5.6. Conclusion......................................................................................................264 Chapter 6: Mind the Gap............................................................................................267 6.1. Introduction.....................................................................................................267 6.2. Questioning Objectivity...................................................................................268 6.3. Objectivity as an Ideal.....................................................................................272 6.3.1. Creates Ethical Commitments.................................................................272 6.3.2. Allows for Dissemination of Knowledge..................................................275 6.4. The Metaphysical Gap....................................................................................279 6.4.1. Objectivity and Metaphysical Realism.....................................................284 6.4.2. Metaphysics Against Feminist Epistemology?........................................287 6.4.3. Metaphysics in Support of Feminism......................................................291 6.4.4. A Possible Example.................................................................................295 6.5. Conclusion......................................................................................................301 Bibliography................................................................................................................304 vi Acknowledgements Thank you to my supervisor, Dr. Alan Richardson, who waded through many rough drafts as I attempted to clarify my ideas. I don't think he knew what he was in for when he agreed to supervise me three years ago, but though I suspect I overwhelmed him at times with the volume of my writing and the intellectual leaps I occasionally took, he never lost his patience or sense of humour. Thanks also to Dr. Steven Taubeneck who never minded when I monopolized his office-hours. There was a time, in my second year, when I thought I might give up on the Ph.D. altogether, but Dr. Taubeneck's encouragement kept me going, so thanks to him for cheering me on. Thanks to Dr. Christina Hendricks for her astonishingly detailed review of the penultimate draft of my dissertation, undertaken while she had a cold. Her comments were invaluable and I appreciate the time it must have taken her to make them. Thanks to Dr. Alison Wylie for her perceptive suggestions of further reading I might do, and for her words of encouragement when I was running out of steam at the end. I'd also like to thank the University of British Columbia for the Doctoral Fellowships I received as a graduate student there. Thanks to Frederick Ulmer for sparking an interest in communities and in higher education in me, and for illustrating that the undermining of our beliefs can be opportunities for investigation. Thanks to Dr. Peter Morton for supporting and encouraging me in my decision to major in philosophy as an undergrad and for many philosophical discussions over coffee. Thanks to Dr. Debra Jensen for all of her aid, sympathy and support, and for the courageous example she sets in living her life as she does. Thanks to my parents vii and brother, who always answered the phone when I needed someone to talk to, and who supported me all through this process. Thanks to my partner, Evan Sklarski, who now definitely knows more about philosophy than he ever wanted to know, but was happy to wrestle with ideas with me late into the night, giving any insights that he could, and being the first sounding-board for much of the material that appears here. He also ensured that I was well fed and rested and made sure that I had a life outside of the dissertation. There were many other people who helped along the way, students and profs at UBC, U of C and MRU as well as people I met at conferences across Canada who heard and commented on various ideas that came to form parts of this dissertation. Thanks to you all. viii Dedication For my knight in orange gortex who followed me across a mountain range. He pushed me on when he knew I could go further, and insisted I rest when he knew I'd gone too far. 1Chapter 1: The Path Ahead Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex: for it is with this drive that all its beauty is bound up. More fittingly than the fair sex, women could be called the unaesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor poetry, nor the plastic arts do they possess any real feeling or receptivity: if they affect to do so, it is merely mimicry in service of their effort to please. This comes from the fact that they are incapable of taking a purely objective interest in anything whatever, and the reason for this is, I think, as follows. Man strives in everything for a direct domination over things, either by comprehending or by subduing them. But woman is everywhere and always relegated to a merely indirect domination, which is achieved by means of man, who is consequently the only thing she has to dominate directly. Thus it lies in the nature of women to regard everything simply as a means of capturing a man, and their interest in anything else is only simulated, is no more than a detour, i.e. amounts to coquetry and mimicry.1 Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth. . . It was only later, in the eighteenth century, that genuinely democratic men began to view the matter objectively. Diderot, among others, strove to show that woman is, like man, a human being. Later, John Stuart Mill came fervently to her defense.2 1 Arthur Schopenhauer, “On Women” (http://www.heretical.com/miscella/onwomen.html accessed October 19th 2010.) Emphasis added. 2 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (New York, London and Toronto: Everyman's Library,1993), 21.1. Introduction In the quoted passages above, the first from Arthur Schopenhauer's infamous essay “On Women” and the second from Simone de Beauvoir's almost equally infamous book The Second Sex, the term 'objectivity' is employed. In Schopenhauer's work, 'objectivity' is a state of mind that, it is argued, women simply cannot achieve. In the passage from Beauvoir, objectivity is a state of mind required of men, in order to see and to treat women fairly, defend women, and see that they possess the same capabilities as men. Objectivity, as demonstrated in these two quotes, is a powerful concept. By using the concept of objectivity, Schopenhauer simultaneously suggests that his own claims are objective, and that whatever women may say in their own defense cannot be taken seriously, as they are incapable of seeing the world objectively. Beauvoir argues that until men were able to view the matter objectively themselves, their arguments with regard to women could not be trusted. This claim serves to undermine claims like Schopenhauer's, just as his own claims serve to undermine claims like Beauvoir's. Thus both Beauvoir and Schopenhauer use the term to simultaneously affirm their own views and discredit their opponent's. The power of objectivity is both a power to affirm and to discredit. But both cannot be objective at the same time, surely, since the views of each contradict the position of the other. Yet each claims to be objective, and does so, in part, to discredit the views of the other. Since each is able to discredit the opposing view, one might wonder whether objectivity is doing any helpful work in this debate over women's roles. Is the investigation into the question over what women can and cannot do helped by the language of objectivity? If we Li-lii. Emphasis added. 3could determine who was objective, this might help in this debate, but who is objective: Schopenhauer or Beauvoir? I suspect many might wish to claim that Beauvoir was more objective, and not solely because Schopenhauer's disgust with his subject matter comes through almost audibly in the passage (suggesting a possible biased perspective) but because I suspect that many of my readers tend to agree more with Beauvoir's conclusion regarding the equality of men and women than with Schopenhauer's. But if this is so, does this mean that all one means when one claims that someone is 'objective' is that the beliefs that person espouses are in accord with one's own? (Implying that at one time Schopenhauer was more objective than Beauvoir?) Or is there some other basis from which to assert confidently that Beauvoir really was more objective than Schopenhauer? One might wish to claim that Beauvoir's position is more objective than Schopenhauer's because what Beauvoir claims is closer to the truth (or is true) whereas what Schopenhauer claims is clearly false. This illustrates something about the nature of objectivity; if it is thought to be beneficial at all, it is thought to be so partially because being objective is sometimes seen as a way to gain truths. But suppose that there is no way to determine that Beauvoir was really more objective than Schopenhauer, or that her views were more likely to be true. Then if we insisted on using the term 'objective' under such conditions, perhaps all objectivity would mean is 'a belief or state of mind I endorse or agree with.' Yet, psychologically, we might still associate it with the idea that there is some truth in a belief that is objective, for some reason besides like-mindedness to trust this belief. That is, even though we 4cannot prove that Beauvoir is more likely to hold a true belief that Schopenhauer, her claim that her position is the one objective individuals endorse might make us tend to psychologically, though not logically, associate her position with the truth if we agree with her, and might tend to psychologically, though not logically, make us suspect her of lying or of being mistaken if we do not agree with her. Thus, in Schopenhauer's time, the opposite might have been true. Many might have agreed with Schopenhauer, and felt that his claim to be objective meant that his view was more likely to be true. In this manner, those who hold minority opinions might effectively have been silenced by Schopenhauer's assertion that objectivity was on his side, and that women could not be objective. Though those holding minority views would have likely disputed Schopenhauer's claims to be objective, the psychological link between objectivity and truth might have led the majority to disregard their claims. Objectivity, then, in addition to being associated with the truth, and indeed because of this association, is a powerful rhetorical device in epistemic debates, and may be argued to be a powerful tool for the silencing of minority views. There are several concerns with the ideal of objectivity at present, many of them motivated by the kind of problem just discussed: objectivity may be a powerful way to silence minority opinion. Those concerned with objectivity fall into two broad categories: those who want to do away with the ideal entirely and those who argue that the ideal needs to be revised. Two of the main proponents of the removal of the ideal are Lorraine Code and the already-mentioned Richard Rorty. Lorraine Code has argued that objectivity as a concept is understood in White masculine terms, thus excluding women's 5perspectives, as well as the views and opinions of other marginalized groups.3 On the basis of these worries, one might wonder whether objectivity is a valuable epistemic goal to have. Instead, the ideal of objectivity may be seen to be exclusionary of minority viewpoints, and therefore a dangerous concept used to justify the power wielded by the majority and to keep the minority out. This is exactly what Richard Rorty argued with regards to objectivity. Rorty, one of the most vocal critics of objectivity, claimed that whatever good the term was doing in our discourse could more effectively be accomplished by appeals to widespread agreement and the value of a heterogeneous community.4 He believed that objectivity was a useless and dangerous term, in part because of this pathway to truth that objectivity seems to promise. Rorty's and Code's arguments will be examined in detail in Chapter Two. Feminist epistemologists and philosophers of science also raise concerns about the ideal of objectivity. They claim that the term needs to be rethought before it can be usefully put into practice. Among those who will be examined in this dissertation are Sandra Harding, who calls for something she labels Strong Objectivity to replace our current understanding of the term (Strong Objectivity involves including multiple standpoints, and adjudicating between them to determine which are more valid, rather than aiming for a neutral standpoint), Helen Longino, who argues for an inclusion of values and background beliefs into our understanding of the ideal of objectivity, and a recognition that objectivity is a product of communities, not individuals, and Naomi Scheman, who calls for a focus on the relationship between objectivity and trust. As things stand, many feminists call for a 3 Lorraine Code, What Can She Know? Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991). 4 Richard Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.1991),13. 6revision of the concept of objectivity because the term is ambiguous, and dangerous or exclusionary. 1.2. What is Objectivity? Having just stated that many feminist philosophers find the term 'objectivity' to be vague, or to mean too many things, a natural question arises: What is objectivity? How is it understood? How is it used? When is it appropriate? It turns out that there are numerous answers to these questions. Heather Douglas in her article “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” notes that the term 'objectivity' has been understood in various ways. Historians of science have persuasively shown that what has been taken as objective, either in terms of methods or knowledge, has not been constant during the period since the “Scientific Revolution” in the 17th century.5 So, historically, objectivity has been used in many different ways. However, this does not, by itself, entail that the term does not have one basic meaning. Perhaps some groups in the past have been mistaken about how to properly understand the concept 'objectivity.' Indeed, Douglas notes that this has been the position of some philosophers who argue that objectivity is reducible to one meaning. However, other philosophers disagree—Douglas included (as can be seen from the title of her article). Philosophers, on the other hand, have taken two different approaches to objectivity. Some have argued that objectivity is ultimately reducible to one basic meaning onto which others have aggregated. . . [like Thomas Nagel's “View from Nowhere”]. Others have suggested that objectivity is an inherently 5 Heather Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity” Synthese, 138, no. 3 (2004): Pg. 454. 7complex concept, with no one meaning at its core, but instead several different senses packed together. . .6 Douglas gives three headings under which she claims that we can categorize the eight distinct meanings of objectivity depending on how the term 'objectivity' is applied. Objectivity can be applied to a process, that is, it can refer to a process used that guarantees objectivity somehow. Objectivity can be ascribed to an individual. It can be claimed that an individual is objective, or has an objective perspective. Finally objectivity can be ascribed to the produced knowledge, the product of the process, or the claims made by the individual. Douglas argues that different meanings of objectivity “are not logically reducible to one core meaning.”7 Under these headings she identifies eight distinct understandings of the term 'objectivity'. The first two fall under objectivity as ascribed to the process. These two meanings are forms of manipulable objectivity, “When we can use objects around us, we trust our accounts of their existence and properties as reliable. . .”8 and convergent objectivity “we approach the results through multiple avenues, and if the same result continues to appear, we have increasing confidence in the reliability of the result.”9 The next three meanings fall under objectivity as ascribed to the individual. They are detached objectivity, “the prohibition against using values in place of evidence”10; value-free objectivity, where, unlike detached objectivity, “all values . . . are banned from the reasoning process,”11; and value- 6 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 454. 7 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 455. 8Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 458. 9Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 458. 10 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 459. 11 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 459. 8neutral objectivity, which is “free from all value-influence.” 12 The last three apply to the knowledge produced. They are forms of procedural objectivity which allow for “individual interchangeability and [excludes] individual idiosyncrasies or judgments from processes.”13 Concordant objectivity differs from procedural objectivity in this manner: “Instead of seeking to eliminate individual judgment. . . this sense checks to see whether the individual judgments of people in fact do agree.”14 Finally, interactive objectivity differs from the other two in that “[i]nstead of simple agreement, this sense of objectivity requires discussion among the participants. . . The hope is that by keeping scientific discourse open to scrutiny, the most idiosyncratic biases and blinders can be eliminated.”15 These are the eight senses of objectivity that Douglas finds currently in use. However, Douglas notes that these senses are not commonly used one at a time. Often, they are conflated. When we refer to something or someone as objective, we generally are referring to more than one sense of objectivity. While discussing some of the work on the history of objectivity that has already been done, Douglas notes that Daston and Galison, two historians of objectivity who identify multiple types of objectivity themselves, still conflate senses according to Douglas's account. When Daston and Galison describe the rise of “mechanical” objectivity in the nineteenth century, they are calling on several senses of objectivity that were seen as connected: procedural objectivity. . . detached objectivity. . . and convergent objectivity. . .16 12 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 460. 13 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 461. 14 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 462. 15 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 463-464. 16 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 466. 9 Daston and Galison's story of mechanical objectivity will be discussed in the next section and in detail in Chapter Three. The important thing to note here is that, while Daston and Galison themselves highlight distinct uses of the term 'objectivity' throughout history, Douglas is able to point out that even one of these several uses identified by Daston and Galison is itself a conflation of several other uses of the term. It is generally not recognized that objectivity has been understood in several different ways in the past, let alone that even these different ways can be split up into even more distinct senses. In general, as Douglas herself acknowledges, we do not use the term 'objectivity' with an awareness or intention to pull apart its various conceptions. “Although there are eight distinct senses to objectivity, it is rare that we invoke just one when we use it in practice.”17 Douglas argues that it is important to realize how complex objectivity is as a concept, and this is a complexity that we must keep in mind as well. The complexity, according to Douglas, allows for objectivity's flexibility. She says: It should also be clear that the complexity allows room for change. We might decide that some meanings should be dropped (as I think value-free objectivity should be). And we might find that new meanings will be added as our practices change over time. There is no ahistorical fixedness to objectivity to date; there is little reason to think we are finished developing the term.18 Because objectivity is so complex, because it can be, and usually is, understood in so many different ways, it can be changed. Douglas breaks down the use of the terms in 17 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 468. 18 Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 468. 10 terms of what 'objectivity' is to refer to (the procedure, the knowing subject, or the knowledge claim). Elisabeth Lloyd, another feminist philosopher, divides the concept of objectivity along traditional distinctions between different areas of philosophy. She identifies only four different uses of the term. These four meanings are 'perspectiveless', 'publicly available,' (these first two she labels epistemic meanings), 'independent of observer,' and 'really real' (these last two she labels as ontological meanings). She argues, in agreement with Douglas on the irreducible complexity of the term, that these four different meanings of objectivity are not reducible to each other, and that philosophers confuse themselves by equivocating on the term 'objective'.19 Lloyd also argues that feminist epistemology, and increasingly other epistemologies, are attempting to change the common understandings of objectivity. I draw two conclusions from this quick survey of Douglas and Lloyd: One, objectivity is an exceedingly complex ideal, and may be carved up in various ways depending on the terms one chooses to carve it up in relation to—be they what the term is in reference to, standard philosophical categories, temporal, or some other terms. Two, the feminist epistemological project of rethinking the category of objectivity is not a new project. Objectivity has changed and is changing and likely will change; feminists are participating in this change, and rightly so, but the change has been happening for at least a century and a half in science now, if not longer. This has not, yet, answered the question of what objectivity is. It has, rather, shown that the question itself is exceedingly complicated. Objectivity is understood in many 19 Elisabeth Lloyd, “Objectivity and the Double Standard for Feminist Epistemologies” Synthese vol. 104, no. 3: (1995): 53. 11 different ways by different people. Even the types of objectivity identified differ from scholar to scholar. There may be no one thing that objectivity is. But there is one thing that I will hold constant, that Douglas herself notes has been a constant: objectivity's relationship to subjectivity. She notes that objectivity's historical opposite is subjectivity.20 Douglas argues that this historical opposition between objectivity and subjectivity is no longer appropriate, and perhaps never was. She argues that “subjectivity is not just the lack of objectivity, and objectivity is not just the overcoming of subjectivity. . . ”21 because subjectivity and objectivity may blur and overlap. In particular, Douglas suggests that a value or a feeling, both commonly labeled as subjective, might actually be supported by evidence, or by intersubjective agreement, and so might count as a type of objectivity (in the case of agreement, concordant objectivity).22 It is here where I differ with Douglas. I do think that objectivity and subjectivity are understood in opposition to each other. The reason I suspect that Douglas finds things that have historically been labeled as subjective, but that might now be objective is possibly that what it means to be subjective and objective change over time, just as Douglas notes. However, Douglas is dividing up the concept 'objectivity' in terms of what it is in reference to, not in terms of history. I will, largely, be employing Daston and Galison's strategy of looking at various historical conceptions of the term, not conceptions in terms of reference, or in terms of standard philosophical areas. While acknowledge that the complexity of objectivity may be understood differently 20Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 468. 21Douglas, “The Irreducible Complexity of Objectivity,” 470. 22This similar to the argument Sharyn Clough makes with regards to feminist values, to be discussed in the next chapter. See Sharyn Clough, Beyond Epistemology: A Pragmatist Approach to Feminist Science Studies (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, inc., 2003), 116. 12 depending on the relations used to carve up the term, I will rely on the historical relation, rather than the philosophical (objectivity in terms of philosophical areas of study—epistemic, ontological, etc.—which seems to be how Lloyd breaks the term down) or reference relation. The reason I choose to do this is because I think this historical perspective allows me to explore an interesting aspect of the way in which the concept of objectivity operates on the epistemic subject. This new perspective on the historical relationship between objectivity and the epistemic subject is lost if we view objectivity in terms of reference or in terms of philosophical areas, leading to Douglas' and my disagreement over the relationship between objectivity and subjectivity. Viewed in terms of reference, both objectivity and subjectivity can refer to the same thing (in this case, values). However, viewed historically, they don't seem to be used to refer to the same thing at the same time by the same epistemic community. In any given period a conception of objectivity appears to always oppose a conception of subjectivity, as I will demonstrate in the coming chapters.23 Daston and Galison, in their history of objectivity titled Objectivity, find that it has been an epistemic goal in the sciences since the mid-nineteenth century. Prior to that, it appears in moral philosophy, particularly the philosophical writings of John Stuart Mill. Daston and Galison attribute the first use of the term to William of Ockham and Dun Scotus, in the fourteenth century, when they brought the term into English from the Latin. But the use of the term, then, was very different from how the concept is understood now.24 As originally deployed, the objective referred to the way things appeared to the mind, whereas the subjective referred to the way things were 'in 23 This will become clear in Chapter Three. 24 Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity, (New York: Zone Books, 2007), 29. 13 themselves.' Objectivity does not take on a conception familiar to a modern audience until the 1850's, when it becomes associated with the removal of the epistemic subject and all that is merely subjective about the concept in order to represent the world the way it really is. Daston and Galison categorize three different types of objectivity in history, mechanical objectivity (characterized by the epistemic subject's attempt to record nature like a machine) structural objectivity (characterized by the epistemic subject's obligation to follow shared structures for data gathering, manipulation and representation) and trained-judgement (characterized by the allowance of some judgement into the process of knowledge-gathering, but only if that judgement was properly cultivated so as not to distort the data).25 Daston, in previous work, identifies one more type of objectivity present in the history of objectivity, aperspectival objectivity (characterized by the attempt to remove individual idiosyncrasies from scientific discourse).26 Daston and Galison characterize objectivity not in terms of reference, or in terms of philosophical areas, but in terms of points in history, and, more interestingly, in terms of what is seen as problematic in the epistemic subject.27 Different types of objectivity are set up in opposition to different features of the epistemic subject, be they a tendency to overly idealize nature,28 or an inability to communicate effectively with others because of personal idiosyncrasies.29 While I recognize that objectivity, as irreducibly complex and multi-layered, can be divided up into different types along many different lines, it is this historical and subjective line that I find most insightful for this dissertation. Since there seems no 25 Daston and Galison, Objectivity. 26 Lorraine Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” Social Studies of Science 22, no. 597 (1992): 597-618. 27 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 37. 28 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 34. 29 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 600. 14 definitive reason to divide objectivity along one set of criteria versus another, I have chosen to follow Daston and Galison and consider objectivity in its complexity in terms of its historical opposite, subjectivity. As long as we are mindful that the terms objectivity and subjectivity have a history, we can see that at any given time, those concepts labeled as subjective are seen as undesirable traits needing to be overcome by the objective. Since my focus will be on subjectivity, I will mainly focus on the concept of objectivity as ascribed to knowing subjects (rather than as ascribed to procedures, or to resulting knowledge claims), and I will use an historical framework to carve up the various conceptions of the concept of objectivity. This means that I will be focused on objectivity in its epistemic sense, as applied to knowers. Nonetheless, as Douglas notes, objectivity is a complex term, I will not be able to solely focus on the term as applied to knowing subjects, but will also, from time to time, have to look at the term as applied to knowledge itself, or truth (Douglas's third category, broadly construed) and, at the end of the dissertation, will examine briefly the relationship between objectivity and metaphysical realism, or the really real (Lloyd's fourth category of objectivity). The question “what is objectivity?” is still unanswered at this point, except to say that it is a vague, complex and multi-layered term and that my decision to focus on it in terms of epistemology only can never be fully successful because of the complexity of the term. But I can point to a structure which I will rely on in my investigation into objectivity. Relying on work by Daston and Galison I will structure my discussion of objectivity in terms of an overarching concept, and various conceptions of that concept. The overarching concept of objectivity will be understood 15 as the ideal set up in opposition to something problematic about the epistemic subject. The ideal of objectivity, at its most basic level, is a concept intended to overcome something merely subjective. Various conceptions of objectivity arise to deal with specific problems of the epistemic subject. So, while aperspectival and mechanical objectivity are both part of the concept of objectivity (in that they both aim at overcoming an identified problem with the epistemic subject) they are two distinct conceptions of the concept of objectivity (the first overcoming our tendency to prettify or idealize what we see, the second overcoming our individual idiosyncrasies that make communication with others difficult). Both share a conceptual structure, obliging the individual to step beyond the merely subjective in some way, but the 'merely subjective' identified is distinct in each, and so the regime used for obliging the individual to step beyond the merely subjective is different in each case. Communities develop and follow regimes or methods for policing epistemic subjects and correcting their behaviour with reference to the conception of objectivity endorsed. I will call an individual under obligation to step beyond the merely subjective the 'epistemic subject'. In order to be an epistemic subject—an individual engaged in the discovery and production of knowledge—one must be an individual committed to the ideal of objectivity. (While not all epistemic subjects necessarily have a commitment to objectivity, I will restrict my use of the term in this dissertation to those that do. I do not intend to deny that there could be ways of being a knower that do not require a commitment to objectivity, but these categories of subject are not the focus of this dissertation. I stipulate my restricted use of the term 'epistemic subject' here not as a statement about any connection between objectivity and knowledge, but as a short- hand use of the term for convenience.) In sum, I will deal with objectivity as an ideal 16 on three levels, the concept of objectivity, various conceptions of the concept that appear in different times and places, and the regimes used by communities to police the obligations that each conception of the concept places on the epistemic subject. The philosophical importance of referring to objectivity as an ideal will become clearer later on. Some might object to my characterization of the concept of objectivity as an ideal. However, the characterization of the concept is one I share with Richard Rorty, one of the ideal's most vocal opponents. Rorty characterizes objectivity as a useless concept precisely because it is conceived of in an ideal fashion, as a concept that places one under obligations that cannot be fully met.30 Paradoxically, it is because of this quality of the ideal of objectivity that I think it is valuable (rather than useless). The unmet obligations necessitate a constant striving by the subject who is under them. This move to a discussion of obligation will allow me to look at what kind of effect obligations of objectivity tend to have on individuals who are under them. Or, to put the point a slightly different way, I will investigate what effect the ideal of objectivity has had on epistemic subjects who hold it as an ideal. Ian Hacking has suggested that ideals are a way of working upon the self.31 He claims that ideals, categories and labels are all ways of 'making up people'. Hacking argues that categories of personhood are not static, but change in different communities at different times. As one example, Hacking devotes a book to a psychological disorder known as 30 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 13. 31 Ian Hacking, “Making Up People,” in Historical Ontology (Cambridge , Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004), Pg. 116. His focus was on ethical ideals, but in this dissertation I will demonstrate that objectivity is an ethical and epistemic ideal. So, if Hacking is right, than objectivity will be a way of working on the knowing subject as well. 17 psychogenic fugue.32 This disorder was suffered mainly by men, and marked by travel and amnesia. An individual would forget everything about himself, travel to a new state or country, begin a new job, obtain a new identity, and six months later he would remember his old life and head back home. Hacking claims that one possible reason why the disorder was so prevalent in the nineteenth century and has all but disappeared now is because of more sophisticated tracking systems. It is much harder to hop a train, travel across country borders, obtain a job and begin a new life without having to provide proof of identity (either in the form of a passport or social insurance number, for example).33 Thus, the possibility of a patient traveling for six months and unintentionally creating a whole new identity for himself without anyone around him realizing what has happened is much lower (at the very least he'd have to get some sort of fake identification). The implication is clear. Circumstances create categories of personhood. But equally clear for Hacking is the insight that community labels, ideals, and norms, form part of those circumstances. Once psychogenic fugue is a category of personhood defined by strict behaviours and norms, we can identify what it is to be an individual with a case of psychogenic fugue, and what is not. My suggestion here, and one I will develop throughout, is that the ideal of objectivity also creates categories of personhood. Once we know what a given conception of objectivity entails, we know what is required of an epistemic subject. A community can judge whether an individual is an epistemic subject based on to what degree she conforms to the obligations placed on her by the conception of objectivity. So, objectivity makes up knowers. 32 Ian Hacking, Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illness (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1998). 33 Hacking, Mad Travelers, 51-79. 18 But, because the conception of objectivity is changeable, this is not the end of the story. If the conception of objectivity is mechanical, then it prescribes to individual knowers that they must strive to be like cameras. The community that adopts this conception of objectivity monitors its members and deems whether individuals get to count as knowers under the terms of mechanical objectivity. Ultimately, this is internalized by the epistemic subjects who think of themselves as objective, or as striving to be objective, in a mechanical sense. However, as subjects strive to be objective, they may notice something wrong with the current conception of objectivity, some ways in which it is no longer meeting the demands of the current intellectual landscape. In response they may do one of the two things we see being attempted by those who dissent to objectivity now. They may suggest it is a term like psychogenic fugue: a term that has outlived its usefulness (this is Rorty's strategy). Or, they may say that objectivity is more like one of Hacking's other examples, homosexuality. Homosexuality was transformed from being a sexual deviant listed in the DSM to an accepted sexual orientation in many parts of the world.34 Perhaps, like homosexuality, objectivity is a category in need of revision, not removal—this is the strategy employed by Harding and Longino. In the dissertation that follows, using this conceptual structure, I will support Harding and Longino's strategy against Rorty's and Code's.35 I will do more than just support this strategy. I will suggest that Harding's and Longino's strategy is one that has been successful in the past and continues to be successful. As Douglas claimed above, objectivity's complexity and changeability is part of the term's strength. 34 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 103. 35 Code's strategy is slightly different from Rorty's. While Rorty's can be compared to psychogenic fugue, Code's cannot. She does not claim that objectivity has outlived its usefulness, but that it was never useful. See Chapter Two. 19 1.3. The Plan and Objective In this dissertation, I will defend the concept of objectivity as a valuable epistemic ideal. I have three objectives: First, to examine and challenge the arguments of those who, like Lorraine Code and Richard Rorty claim that objectivity is an ideal best discarded (this will be the aim of Chapter Two); second, to examine the history of objectivity with reference to Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison and to rethink the objective/subjective distinction in terms of Ian Hacking's possibilities of personhood (this will be the aim of Chapter Three); and third, to argue, based on this different way of thinking of objectivity, that objectivity has had and continues to have ethical and epistemic benefits for epistemic subjects and communities that hold it as an ideal (this will be the aim of Chapters Four and Five).36 It is not necessary to attain the ideal in order to find it beneficial. In sum, I will argue that the concept of objectivity has already gone through many conceptions in the past, and that the re- conceptualization of the term that many feminist philosophers of science, such as Sandra Harding, Helen Longino and Naomi Scheman are urging is another shift in the understanding of the term. These shifts have happened before, and will happen again. The term needs to be rethought from time to time, but one cannot conclude from this that the concept of objectivity is either dangerous or unhelpful, though various conceptions of the concept may become unhelpful in certain times and places, and may need to be revised. 36 Because I will be defending objectivity on both ethical and epistemic grounds, my defense is can be called a type of virtue epistemology. For a detailed discussion of social virtue epistemology see Miranda Fricker Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). 20 1.3.1. Chapter Summary In Chapter Two I will go over the two different strategies of challenging objectivity already mentioned, calling for its revision or calling for its removal. I will examine major proponents of both strategies. Richard Rorty and Lorraine Code are two of the strongest voices calling for the removal of objectivity from epistemic discourse. Their reasons for calling for the removal of the term will be examined and clarified. Rorty also offers a proposed alternative to the ideal of objectivity. While this dissertation does not attempt to fully explore or explain Rorty's philosophy, I will have a few concerns to raise with regards to his proposed alternative to objectivity. Much of what I will say has been said or suggested before both by supporters and by critics of Rorty's view. I will then move to an examination of those calling for a revision of the term rather than for its removal. Sandra Harding is a prominent figure calling for the revision of the term objectivity and her reasons for demanding its revision will be explored. I will also raise a concern that Rorty, Code, and to a lesser extent, Harding, have simplified their understanding of the concept of objectivity, and neglected its complexity and its history, thus leading Rorty and Code in particular to view the concept as useless and dangerous. In Chapter Three I will examine the history of objectivity relying on work by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison. I will support the conceptual framework I have stipulated here with reference to Daston and Galison's work. I will show that the concept of objectivity has historically always opposed something problematic about the epistemic subject, and seems to still be doing so. I will quickly outline some conceptions of the concept of objectivity that have appeared in the past, and draw out 21 two influential conceptions of the concept that have had a significant historical influence and continue to be influential today: value-free objectivity and aperspectival objectivity. Turning to work done by Ian Hacking, I will argue that we have good reason to believe that objectivity does create categories of epistemic subject based on what has deemed to be problematic with the epistemic subject in the past. I will argue that objectivity is one of the methods by which communities make up knowers. Because objectivity opposes something problematic about the subject, and because it becomes internalized and requires self-policing, I argue that one of the basic characteristics of epistemic subjects created by concepts of objectivity in the past has been self-reflection. Epistemic subjects are under obligation to be self-reflective individuals since they must examine themselves in order to identify the problematic aspects of subjectivity that objectivity has been set up in opposition to. Having thus established that objectivity does make up knowers, I will turn in Chapters Four and Five to an examination of what kinds of knowers have been created. Chapter Four will take an historical look in order to determine whether objectivity can be said to have been ethically or epistemically beneficial in the past. Using the example of the U.S. Suffrage movement, I will establish that a past conception of objectivity in terms of aperspectivalism and value-freedom, because of the commitments it places on the epistemic subject, likely did result in at least one conversion experience, that of William F. Kirby, senator for Arkansas. Because he had a personal commitment to avoid idiosyncratic beliefs and to root out background values, Kirby came to conclude that there was no intellectual reason why women should not vote. This example demonstrates that, in contrast to Lorraine Code's 22 arguments, objectivity is not inherently oppressive. It has contributed to ethical benefits in the past. However, this example by itself does not fully answer Rorty's criticism of objectivity since he claimed that objectivity might have been beneficial in the past but has now outlived its usefulness. I also acknowledge in the second half of Chapter Four, that this past conception of objectivity in terms of value-freedom and aperspectivalism was not itself free from problems. In particular, this conception was found to need to be reconceptualized. Helen Longino, among others, has suggested a way in which this conception might be reconceptualized. I examine Longino's claims and suggest that part of the motivation for these claims is a desire to avoid what I will call the bias-stalemate. Longino's suggested reconceptualization of objectivity by itself points to another possible stalemate, or breakdown of dialog, that might arise between epistemic communities rather than within an epistemic community. Relying on work by Alison Wylie, I examine a way in which she is suggesting reconceptualizing objectivity so as to move beyond an inter-community stalemate. In Chapter Five, I take up the question of whether objectivity, as a concept, is useful now. I establish that one current conception of objectivity being used now is a Longino-Wylie type of conception of objectivity—one concerned with adjudication between values, and concerned with inter-community dialog, and one still being reconceptualized. One of the motivations behind this move to a Longino-Wylie conception of objectivity is the recognition that one value of objectivity is that an objective individual is a person who can be trusted. Naomi Scheman argues that, with the opacity of knowledge-producing institutions, and the lack of dialog between these institutions and other communities, trust has broken down. She thinks that lay 23 communities are justified in their decision not to trust communities of experts in current circumstances. This recognition, combined with the possible threat of an inter- community stalemate, leads to a current conception of objectivity concerned with inter-community dialog and trust. I argue that epistemic subjects concerned with their inability to appear as trustworthy individuals will be under obligation to enter into dialog with non-expert communities. One suggestion of how to build trust and enter into dialog with other communities comes from Heidi Grasswick, who suggests that knowledge-sharing may be a way to foster trust. Using the current example of the development of Marine-Protected Areas, I argue that Grasswick's suggestion is being adopted by scientists, at least in some scientific communities. I also argue that this scientific adoption of trust-building practices is leading to both ethical and epistemic benefits for the communities involved. From this I conclude that objectivity has not outlived its usefulness. However, I also note that objectivity is still changing. Scientists who attempt trust-building through knowledge-sharing are still struggling to build trust between their own and lay communities. Here, I shift from giving a descriptive account of how the negotiation of various conceptions of objectivity has proceeded to this point, and instead give a normative suggestion of how to overcome this current problem of the epistemic subject, the problem of trust. I suggest that scientists examine research done in rhetoric on how to present oneself as a trust-worthy individual. It may be time for scientists to consider revising the way they write and how they present their arguments and findings. In Chapter Six, I examine one more objection that a supporter of Rorty's might give against the concept of objectivity. Rorty's main opposition to the concept of 24 objectivity was that it necessarily carried with it metaphysical connotations. Rorty argued that, because of this, he could not see any way to revise the term, and thus the term must be discarded. While I will have dealt with the term largely as an epistemic ideal throughout the dissertation, what I have said here in Chapter One means that I must acknowledge that my ability to separate the metaphysical from the epistemic connotations of the term will be problematic at best. In the last chapter of the dissertation I will suggest ways in which I think that the metaphysical connotations of the term may, themselves, be beneficial ethically and epistemically. I do not have space to give more than a suggestion here, and hope to pursue this possibility in future research. 25 Chapter 2: Objectivity in Question 2.1. Introduction In this chapter I will use the conceptual structure for objectivity outlined in Chapter One (thinking of objectivity as an umbrella concept under which fall various conceptions of that concept) in order to understand what is motivating objections to objectivity arising mainly in pragmatism and feminist epistemology. As will be illustrated, these objections to the concept of objectivity fall into two main categories, those who argue that the concept is inherently dangerous and must be removed, and those who are calling for a reconceptualization of the concept, rather than an outright removal of the concept. I will argue that those who call for an outright removal of the concept of objectivity do so largely because of a mistaken view of the concept. Their mistake is in viewing the concept as a static ideal rather than a concept with a history: one that contains many different conceptions. As I have demonstrated in Chapter One, several philosophers have objected to the use of the term 'objectivity. They often cite 'objectivity' as an exclusionary term used to keep women and marginalized groups out of epistemic debates. Typically these objections conceptualize objectivity as impartial, value-free or value-neutral.1 Richard Rorty is, perhaps, the most prominent such philosopher, but there are also prominent feminist epistemologists and philosophers of science who object to the the term 'objectivity'. Lorraine Code, for example, presented a detailed account of 1 Sometimes a distinction is made between value-free and value-neutral, but sometimes no distinction is made. In the discussion that follows I will use the two terms largely interchangeably because value-free, value-neutral and impartiality, however they are conceived, seem to be aiming at overcoming the same problem, a perceived or real bias in the epistemic subject. The call for impartiality or value-neutrality rather than value-freedom seems motivated by a recognition that not all values count as biases. However, as my focus will be on values that have been classified as biases, I won't make this distinction. 26 androcentrism she sees built into the concept of objectivity (which she understands in terms of impartiality), in her influential 1991 book What Can She Know? Based on this account, Code advocates for a breakdown of the subjective/objective distinction. Sandra Harding argues that the 'traditional' account of objectivity in terms of 'value- neutrality' is unhelpful and not viable. But, in contrast to Code's proposal, Harding advocates for a reconceptualization of the concept of objectivity. Louise Antony has summed up the two main strategies open to those who wish to question the ideal of objectivity in her article “Quine as Feminist”. The first strategy is to prove the impossibility of satisfying the ideal— this involves pointing to the ubiquity of bias. The second strategy is to try to demonstrate the undesirability of satisfying the ideal—this involves showing the utility of bias.2 Antony claims that those opposed to what she calls “objectivity as impartiality”3 or objectivity conceptualized as free from bias, can argue that the ideal is not possible (by pointing out that it is impossible to be free from bias), and/or they can argue that it is not desirable (by pointing out the epistemic usefulness of some biases). Antony's assessment of these two broad strategies is useful for considering the work of both Rorty and Code, who can be seen to employ both strategies. However, in order to understand Rorty's and Code's arguments I will need to point out a slight, but significant discrepancy between the arguments they present and the general outline Antony gives of the two arguments deployed by those 2 Louise Antony, “Quine as Feminist:The Radical Import of Naturalized Epistemology” (originally published in L. Antony and C. Witt (eds) A Mind of One's Own (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1993)185- 225.) Reprinted in Epistemology; An Anthology 2nd edition, eds. Ernest Sosa et.al. (Malden, M.A: Blackwell Publishing 2008), 570. 3 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 570. 27 opposed to objectivity. Antony's quotation above suggests that the typical way of revealing the undesirability of objectivity is by pointing to the desirability of subjective characteristics that are blocked by a commitment to objectivity in terms of bias- freedom. According to Antony, the argument claims that subjective biases themselves might be useful. But some who question the utility of objectivity do not do so by highlighting the usefulness of subjective biases, or some other form of subjectivity, but rather directly claim that objectivity is itself a dangerous and useless ideal. For example, it is possible for a theorist to argue not (or not merely) for the positive epistemic value of some aspect of the subjective but for the inherent danger and uselessness of the ideal of objectivity itself. In this case, the weight is not on a positive epistemic value that is being excluded by the concept of objectivity. Rather, the claim is that objectivity is, in itself, dangerous, regardless of what aspects of subjectivity are excluded from epistemic debate by the ideal. This strategy is to show that objectivity itself is a dangerous concept. One way this is done is by illustrating how the concept serves to keep minority views out of epistemic debate. One might argue, in line with Antony's identified strategies, that objectivity is objectionable because it excludes minority voices from epistemic debate, and having a diversity of minority opinion in debate is epistemically useful (thus objectivity is harmful because of the useful aspects of subjectivity it blocks). However, one might argue (and Rorty and Code both appear to employ this strategy) that objectivity is dangerous because the result of shutting voices out of the debate is, in itself, a bad thing. To elaborate further, one might argue that sorting positions into properly objective and merely subjective, and that the labeling of objectivity and subjectivity themselves, are intrinsically bad. This additional note to Antony's argument needs to be kept in mind 28 as we move through the arguments given by Rorty, Code and Harding. Rorty is one of the most vocal objectors to objectivity and holds one of the strongest positions against objectivity: he demands not just its re-conceptualization, but its removal from our vocabulary. Similarly, Lorraine Code is almost as vocal an opponent as Rorty, arguing that objectivity is an inherently masculine, and therefore inherently oppressive term. This position is one that could be used to support Rorty's view. Code herself endorses a move towards relativism and away from objectivity as an epistemic ideal. Sandra Harding, and Louise Antony, in contrast to Rorty and Code, both find problems with the so-called 'traditional' or 'received' view of objectivity (a view Antony will question), but do not suggest the removal of the epistemic concept. Rather, both thinkers advocate for its reconceptualization. Similarly, some who claim to follow Rorty in his pragmatism do not support his conclusions on the question of objectivity. In this chapter I will raise and discuss the concerns with, and objections to, objectivity raised by Rorty and by some philosophers working in feminist epistemology. This chapter will establish what some recent and influential concerns with objectivity are and why they are serious enough that anyone advocating for the ideal of objectivity must defend it. Furthermore, by looking at how some of Rorty's followers resist the removal of 'objectivity' from discourse, I will illustrate both some limitations of Rorty's own position and some reasons why objectivity might be a necessary concept in epistemology. In subsequent chapters, I will argue that even though we may find the concept of objectivity problematic as has been demonstrated by Rorty, Code and others, it seems that we need the concept. Harding's call for a 29 reconceptualization of the concept of objectivity is a preferable solution to Rorty's or Code's, and is one that fits with the concept of objectivity as outlined in Chapter One. 2.2. Why Not Objectivity? In this section I will outline two arguments that have been given as to why objectivity should be removed from epistemic discourse: one by Richard Rorty and one by Lorraine Code. Both generally follow Antony's broad outline of the strategies typically employed by those who wish to question the viability of objectivity as an epistemic concept. However, they both show that there is one slight difference in how one can argue against the concept of objectivity. Both Rorty and Code aim to show that objectivity itself is an inherently oppressive concept that serves to support those in power and silence minority voices. Both object to objectivity not (or not only) because it blocks beneficial aspects of subjectivity, but because the distinction between the legitimate objective position and the merely subjective position is dangerous and so is intrinsically bad. 2.2.1. Rorty's Objections and Alternatives In my explication of Richard Rorty's position on objectivity, I have drawn on work from four of his most influential books: Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, and Philosophy and Social Hope.4 I am mainly concerned here with Rorty's discussion of objectivity. 4I have also relied on work by Martin Kusch (Martin Kusch “Rorty on Solidarity and Objectivity in Science; A Reassessment,” Forthcoming (in Finnish Translation) in an anthology on solidarity), Sharyn Clough (Beyond Epistemology)and Jürgen Habermas (Jürgen Habermas, “Richard Rorty's Pragmatic Turn,” In Rorty and His Critics, Robert Brandom ed. (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2000.) 31-55.) in developing my understanding of Rorty, as well as his biography written by Neil Gross (Neil Gross, Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2008.)). However, what appears below is an incomplete account of Rorty's larger project. 30 Many of his other theories will not be examined, or will be discussed in very little detail. But the focus of the dissertation is on the concept of objectivity, not on Rorty's philosophical theories. Rorty holds the view that all analytic philosophy erroneously presupposes a gap between the knower and the world, resulting in the conclusion that truths about the world could only be gained by striving for an objective perspective. Objectivity, in Rorty's view, becomes necessary because of this gappy conception of the relationship between epistemology and metaphysics. Rorty argues that this picture of a gap is in error. The gap does not correctly represent what is really going on when we label something as 'true'. However, because of this error in reasoning, Rorty concludes that we were led to posit the concept of objectivity as an ideal that would allow us to overcome the gap. Therefore, if we remove the gap, we remove the need for the concept of objectivity. This, according to Rorty, is beneficial, since, on his view, objectivity itself is dangerous. One early example of this argument against objectivity in Rorty's work is cashed out in terms of essences. The accepted story among analytic philosophers regarding essences is that philosophers once used to be very concerned with essences. However, many analytic philosophers pride themselves on having moved past all this talk of essences decades, if not centuries, ago. So, what Rorty means when he claims that neo-Kantians, Platonists and Positivists all think of the definition of a human being as being an essence seeker5 is a bit unclear. Yet he goes on to build a theory of the role of metaphysics and epistemology on this idea of these 5 Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), 357. 31 philosophers defining humans as essence-seekers. The notion that our chief task is to mirror accurately, in our own Glassy Essence, the universe around us is complement to the notion. . . that the universe is made up of very simple, clearly and distinctly knowable things, knowledge of whose essences provides the master-vocabulary which permits commensuration of all discourses.6 Rorty claims, in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, that humans aim to become mirrors that accurately reflect the essence of the world around them without tarnishing it with their own essences. The idea, to put it in slightly different terminology, seems to be that we strive to see the world as it truly is, but this takes effort. Most of the time, without exerting effort, we end up only seeing some kind of imperfect image of the world, distorted by our own perspectives and 'essences'. What we are colours how we see the world, preventing us from seeing it as it really is. Rorty argues that this idea of a gap between human knowing subjects and the world as it 'really' is is the problem. It is an error to think of the world and ourselves in this way. In fact, Rorty argues that this conception of a gap between ourselves and the world is the whole reason for the existence of epistemology in the first place. According to Rorty, if we did not posit a gap between ourselves and the world, we could do away with the discipline of epistemology entirely: “This classic picture of human beings must be set aside before epistemologically centered philosophy can be set aside.”7 And it is the setting aside of epistemology, along with epistemic language, like 'objectivity', that Rorty is aiming for. But one might wonder why this gappy picture of the relationship between epistemology and metaphysics is problematic. Why set 6 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 357. 7 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 357. 32 aside the language of objectivity? In his 1979 book, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty claims there are roughly two uses of 'objectivity'. The first is the use he argues that we think we intend when we speak of something as being 'objective'. He claims objectivity is intended to be understood as applying to someone or some data that represents nature faithfully.8 The second is the use he thinks we actually intend when we speak of something as being 'objective'. He claims we actually use the term to refer to 'widely agreed-upon belief.' “Within traditional epistemology, this latter use of the term has only rarely been seen for what it is: an admission that our only usable notion of 'objectivity' is 'agreement' rather than mirroring.”9 Thus, Rorty claims that we think we are speaking about things as objective, intending to speak of the world as it really is, but we really use the term 'objective' as a label for whatever we all happen to agree upon. One ramification of this conflation of the two senses of the term should be readily apparent. By confusing agreement for reality, the majority gain a significant amount of power, while those in marginalized positions have their views discounted as not mirroring reality. For example, if the majority views women's suffrage as demonstrably illogical, and confuses the two senses of objectivity, than they confuse their widespread agreement on this issue with the reality of the situation, which is both dangerous in itself, and instrumentally unhelpful. I will illustrate Rorty's discussion of both uses of the term 'objectivity' beginning with the first use in some detail before discussing the second. The first understanding, and the one Rorty claims epistemologists strive to 8 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 335-338. 9 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 336. 33 employ, is that objectivity is roughly understood as faithfully representing nature.10 That is, a belief is objective just in case that belief represents nature, or a person is an objective individual just in case that individual is able to form beliefs that accurately represent nature. In Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Rorty traces this view of objectivity through history, claiming that the view of an inner perspective and outer world, and the need for the inner perspective to match the outer (or to be a mirror image of it), has been the driving force behind philosophy since Descartes. Rorty argues that the shift from epistemology to philosophy of language was just a new development in this quest to make the inner match the outer. This time the inner was no longer seen as the 'mind' or thought, which Rorty classifies as a “'private' mirror of nature” but was seen as language, which Rorty claims it was all too tempting to think of as a “'public' mirror of nature.”11 Initially, philosophy of language was meant to move us past these mirroring worries, but Rorty claims that for many philosophers the worries over mirroring remained. The worry shifted from a concern that we were all brains in vats, to a concern that our language was shaping the way we see and investigate the world and could be obscuring the truth of the outer.12 Analytic philosophers may have thought that the move from mind to language as the focus for representation would eliminate the gap, but Rorty claims that in many cases the same situation still holds. One still has the representation (sentences and/or propositions in the language, not beliefs in the mind), and what it is a representation of (the world). Thus, the gap between the representation and the world often remains, 10 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 335-338. 11 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 211. In this case, the 'inner' represented by language does not seem to be an inner relative to an individual, but rather a whole community might share a perspective on the world, influenced and represented by language. 12 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 257-311. 34 despite the move from mind to language. A decade later, in his book Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, Rorty expanded on this view claiming that this whole 'correspondence' theory of truth—in which objectivity serves as a way to ensure that we gain the truth—is in error. We need to make a distinction between the claim that the world is out there and the claim that truth is out there. To say that the world is out there, that it is not our creation, is to say, with common sense, that most things in space and time are the effects of causes which do not include human mental states. To say that truth is not out there is simply to say that where there are no sentences there is no truth, that sentences are elements of human languages, and that human languages are human creations.13 If truth is a property of sentences, which are human creations, then objectivity is unnecessary. There is no gap between us and the truth about the world. Rather, truth could not exist were it not for humans and human language. Thus, according to Rorty, we can do away with the concept of objectivity once we recognize our mistaken gappy view of our relationship to the world, and to truth. Rorty argues that we can give up the notion of objectivity, but he does not want to give up the notion of truth. He argues that the existence of the term 'objectivity' depends on the way we think of the concept of 'truth'. If Rorty can show that the correspondence theory of truth makes no sense, then there is no need for the term 'objectivity'. Objectivity exists because correspondence exists. Without correspondence, we will have no need for objectivity and we can let it drop. This leaves Rorty with the task of explaining truth in a way that does not depend on correspondence (not a daunting task in itself, and one that has 13 Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989) 5. 35 been undertaken by other philosophers as well).14 Not only can objectivity be easily lost once we recognize that there is no correspondence theory of truth but Rorty argues that it should be lost. Rorty thinks objectivity is shifting our focus from real-world people and real-world communities by encouraging us to think in a way that does not require reference to any human beings. In his 1991 book Objectivity, Relativism and Truth, Rorty argues that individuals who seek objectivity distance themselves from others in a community. Rorty claims that: Insofar as a person is seeking solidarity, she does not ask about the relation between the practices of the chosen community and something outside that community. Insofar as a she seeks objectivity, she distances herself from the actual persons around her not by thinking of herself as a member of some other real or imaginary group, but rather by attaching herself to something which can be described without reference to any particular human being.15 Objectivity, then, according to Rorty, serves to distance and separate us. It works against any fostering of community, and encourages individuals to disengage from actual persons and actual situations. Rather than listening to a minority view and considering why those in the minority hold a different opinion, Rorty's worry seems to be that those in the majority, believing that they have objective truth on their side, disengage with their interlocutors. In place of objectivity, Rorty advocates solidarity. He argues that we should be solidarity-seekers. We should look for answers within 14 See, for example A. Tarski, “The semantic conception of truth” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 4 (1944): 13–47; Donald Davidson “A Coherence Theory of Truth and Knowledge” Originally published in Truth and Interpretation: Perspectives on the Philosophy of Donald Davidson, Ernest LePore ed. (New York: Blackwell, 1989) 307-319, Reprinted in Epistemology; An Anthology 2nd edition. eds. Ernest Sosa et.al. (Malden, M.A: Blackwell Publishing, 2008): 124-133. 15 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 21. 36 our community, and engage with actual persons. So objectivity is useless, since there is no glassy essence which we need to polish in order to correctly mirror the world, as Rorty put it in 1979. In 1989 he rephrased the same objection, this time focusing on correspondence rather than essences. He argued that there is no gap between us and the truth of the world to bridge. Truth exists in language, and therefore requires us and our communities. In both 1979 and 1989 there is a common message. Rorty claims both with reference to the language of essences and with reference to the language of gaps and correspondence that there is no separation between the knowers and the world to overcome. Rorty also argues that objectivity is dangerous, since it allows and encourages individuals to disengage from the communities wherein Rorty thinks truth is actually created. He urges us to make this shift in thinking from the correspondence view of truth and objectivity to a community view of truth and a loss of objectivity. This will keep us grounded in our communities regarding both scientific and moral truths. This grounding is itself one more benefit Rorty sees arising out of a removal of the concept of 'objectivity'. He highlights this benefit both in his 1991 book, as was shown above, and in his earlier 1989 book where he argues that: The importance of this shift [away from correspondence and towards community] is that it makes it impossible to ask the question 'Is ours a moral society?' It makes it impossible to think that there is something which stands to my community as my community stands to me. . .16 Making this shift away from objectivity not only grounds us in our community, but discourages us from looking beyond our community. Not only are we grounded in the 16 Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, 59. 37 physical, but looking to the metaphysical, or beyond the community in any other way, is now discouraged. To think of some larger community is to think of something beyond my community against which the truth of the moral and scientific claims my community makes can be measured. But Rorty argues that this is just the correspondence theory of truth again. We need to make the mental shift away from this theory, and make it impossible to transcend our community borders. We need to see the ideal of the objective perspective as both impossible and undesirable in order to promote and expand community solidarity. Some might have concerns about a theory that makes it impossible to transcend one's own community. It looks as though this theory extends not only to the failure to transcend to the metaphysical, but potentially the failure to even compare one's community to another community. Yet we seem to be able to compare our own community to others without necessarily invoking a correspondence theory of truth. It is possible that Rorty's intention is merely to block the metaphysical transcendence, not the social one. However, Rorty needs this notion of the inability to look beyond one's own community in order to explain and support his positive view of ethnocentrism, to be discussed shortly.17 So social transcendence may also be problematic in Rorty's theory. In place of comparing our community to others, Rorty advocates a widening of community borders (as will be discussed below). Thus we are not transcending community borders, we are widening them to include others. Rorty argues that the history of objectivity proves that objectivity, as understood in the first sense of the term, a representation of nature, is fruitless and 17 While this view may seem puzzling and counterintuitive to some readers, and while I will have questions and concerns to raise, the task right now is to gain as clear a picture of Rorty's proposed alternative to objectivity as possible. Questions and objections will be raised in section five. 38 undesirable.18 This goal of striving to match one's inner representations to the outer world is unattainable, and rests on a misapprehension of what it means to be 'true'. It also isolates individuals and turns the focus away from community, which is an unhelpful and undesirable outcome. Rorty does more than just claim that objectivity is isolating, is shifting the focus away from community and is unhelpful. He also claims that 'objectivity' as understood in this first sense of the term, does not really exist anyway. We cannot really make the inner match the outer and when we examine the way we really do use the term, it turns out that we do not use it to identify propositions and beliefs that do match the outer, since we have no way of knowing when they do this. Instead, we use the term to denote any beliefs that are widely accepted. So, Rorty's discussion of objectivity in the first sense—as an ideal needed in order to bridge the gap between epistemology and metaphysics, or knowledge-claims and the world, as Rorty alternatively states it—loosely matches Antony's assessment of the two general ways philosophers tend to question objectivity as an epistemic ideal. Rorty does argue that the ideal is unattainable, though he does not do so by pointing out that biases cannot be removed, but rather by suggesting that there is no gap between our biased perspectives and the world to overcome. The gap itself and the proposed need to overcome the gap, are mistaken detours in the history of philosophy. Rorty also argues that objectivity, in this first sense, is undesirable, though he does so by suggesting not that the opposites of objectivity are desirable in themselves, but by arguing that objectivity pulls us away from community solidarity, something he sees as desirable. So, Rorty's assessment of objectivity in the first sense broadly conforms to Antony's two categories. 18 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 7. 39 The second use of objectivity which Rorty identifies is that 'objective' is understood as widespread agreement. In 1979 he suggests that objectivity is used as a rhetorical device to suggest that one group holds the true picture of the world, and others are mistaken. He attributes this to a perpetuated dogma that “only where there is correspondence to reality is there the possibility of rational agreement.”19 Thus, if individuals who take themselves to be rational all agree, they can be confident of holding a true picture of reality. In 1989's Objectivity, Relativism and Truth, Rorty argues that science is a social tool, and it is not bringing us closer to objectivity, in the first sense of the term.20 All objectivity and scientific inquiry in search of objectivity is really doing is shaping social opinion. To say that something is 'objectively true' is actually just to say that 'we all agree,' or 'we find it useful to believe'.21 In summary, Rorty argues that the first use of objectivity is useless, unhelpful and unattainable and gives us a picture of the world that works against solidarity. This second use of objectivity, as long as it goes unrecognized and is conflated with the first, is dangerous. The best way to ensure that the second use of objectivity, which Rorty seems to have no in-principle objection to, is not conflated with the first, is to refrain from using the term 'objectivity' in these cases, and simply acknowledge that the belief is widely agreed-upon. In Objectivity, Relativism and Truth, Rorty argues that objectivity is fruitless and dangerous when used in the second sense (as objectivity can only ever be used) 19 Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 335-338. 20 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 33. 21 Rorty, Richard, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 43;. Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 336. This again is a problem with Rorty's account which I will discuss later. It only takes a moment to see that there are cases where 'widely agreed-upon' and 'useful' need not, and often do not, refer to the same beliefs. However, I will deal with this concern with Rorty's view after delivering a clear picture of the view in its entirety. 40 but conflated with the first sense (as he thinks we often do). Rorty argues that those who claim to hold the objective truth on their side are intolerant to others, and mistreat them. He likens objectivity to a weapon that allows us to have “firm, unrevisable, moral principles which were not merely 'ours' but 'universal' and 'objective.'”22 Rorty goes on to show that this weapon works both against its wielders and the opposition. “How could we avoid having these weapons turn in our hands and bash all the genial tolerance out of our own heads?”23 Those who rely on objectivity may, according to Rorty, become less tolerant. They claim to have found something which they label as 'objective' but which is really only 'wide-spread agreement'. By failing to recognize that objectivity is unattainable and useless and by claiming to have some deep metaphysical truth where they really only have agreement among the members of their community, those who strive after objectivity become intolerant of others who disagree. Disagreement here is not merely a matter of what is 'useful to believe,' or what is 'widely agreed-upon,' but is mistakenly seen as a matter of what is 'objectively true'. Those who dissent from prevailing opinion are seen to be in error, to fail to hold objective truth. Those with objective truth on their side can easily ignore and marginalize the dissenters. This understanding of objectivity, then, is active and dangerous. By contrast, those who rely on solidarity become more tolerant. It is the path of solidarity, not objectivity, that leads to a tolerant and liberal society and is the path Rorty advocates for. His suggestion seems to be that solidarity will lead to the inclusion of more minority voices, allow for more flexibility in beliefs, and could ultimately lead to truths that are deemed to be more useful. This second refutation of objectivity, based on the second use of the term Rorty 22 Rorty,Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 43. 23 Rorty,Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 43. 41 identifies, is similar to Antony's second suggestion of how individuals typically question or refute the ideal of objectivity. However, it is not exactly the same. Rorty points to the ideal itself as causing harm not because of what it does not allow (biases, values, etc.) but because of what it does allow (a belief that one has the truth in some transcendent metaphysical sense of the term). Objectivity, according to Rorty, is dangerous because it is a tool that can be used to silence minority opinion and foster intolerance. Instead, Rorty again urges that we recognize that objectivity really has no connection to truth in a metaphysical sense, and thus see the term for what it really is. For pragmatists, the desire for objectivity is not the desire to escape the limitations of one's community, but simply the desire for as much intersubjective agreement as possible, the desire to extend the reference of “us” as far as we can.24 In his 1991 book, Rorty again advocates recognizing that objectivity did not mean what we thought it meant, and thus doing away with the term. He argues that the term should be replaced with a commitment to community solidarity and with a desire to expand our widespread beliefs as far as possible, gaining as much intersubjective agreement as possible. Thus, here in 1991, as in 1989, the focus is on community solidarity rather than transcendence, metaphysics, or the external world. In answer to the question of why one might value solidarity over objectivity, Rorty can give no non-circular justification for this value of wide-spread agreement. Since he has insisted that one cannot look beyond one's community's borders for justification, Rorty must conclude that no non-circular justification is possible. Instead, 24 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 23. 42 he appeals to ethnocentrism. He argues that the reason why these values of widening intersubjective agreement and community solidarity are good values is merely because his community values them and has a history of valuing them. In answer to the challenge of why a liberal society with a value of widespread agreement and solidarity is a good thing to aim for, Rorty appeals directly to circularity. He claims that “[w]e should say that we must, in practice, privilege our own group, even though there can be no noncircular justification for doing so.”25 The reason to privilege these values of wide-spread agreement and liberalism is that we do privilege these values, we have privileged these values, and we must privilege them because of the community we belong to. These values are a defining feature of a liberal community, and a basis on which to build solidarity. Rorty's argument for ethnocentrism allows him to give circular justifications for the beliefs and values he holds. For Rorty, if others are sufficiently different from his own community, the value of widening community borders must be given up for another value, community preservation. In these cases, conversation breaks down and, should the encounter be sufficiently threatening, Rorty claims that the matter will come down to each side reaching for his or her gun. 26This allows him to avoid the charge of relativism, since he can condemn another community's beliefs and values from his own community's perspective. Conversation can break down and one can legitimately value one's own community's beliefs over another community's beliefs.27 Having concluded that objectivity is either useless, unattainable and unhelpful, 25 Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth, 29. 26 Richard Rorty,“Universality and Truth” in Rorty and His Critics ,ed. Robert Brandom, (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2000),13-14. 27 In avoiding relativism Rorty leaves himself open to some serious challenges as will be discusses in Section 2.5.1. However, as will be shown with Code, not all objectors to objectivity are concerned with avoiding relativism. 43 or rhetorically deployed in dangerous ways, Rorty advocates its loss. It either separates us from each other and the world, or it gives us a false sense of confidence and certainty when we conflate wide-spread agreement with the notion of objective truth and correspondence with reality. In place of objectivity Rorty advocates acknowledging that all we meant when we claimed to possess objective truth was that we held beliefs that were widely agreed-upon, but keep in mind that this does not mean we hold beliefs that correspond in some special way to the world. This requires not just giving up objectivity and its conceptual connection with the gap between the knowing subject and the world, or the inner and the outer, but also consciously altering how we understand the term 'truth'. Rorty's account is both descriptive and prescriptive. He thinks that the account he gives of objectivity in terms of 'widespread agreement' is really the way the term is deployed. He also thinks 'truth' really cannot refer to any correspondence notion. This is the descriptive aspect of his account. However, his account is also prescriptive insofar as his ability to make us cognizant of the truth of his descriptive claims will alter the way we live and the values we hold. We need to discard objectivity and the correspondence theory of truth and replace these with a notion of widespread agreement and a new account of truth. Rorty seems hopeful that his descriptions of the ways we really use objectivity and truth will lead us to accept his prescription that we discard objectivity and re-conceptualize truth.28 Though Rorty's account is one of the strongest criticisms against objectivity, since it actively advocates for the loss of the epistemic concept, there are also others who criticize the ideal of objectivity, some 28 In order to maintain consistence in Rorty's own account, it is important to note that this 'really' likely refers to how Rorty sees things from his own perspective, and is an endorsement by Rorty of our also adopting this perspective. He cannot mean anything like 'the way the world really is' if he is to maintain consistency in his account. 44 almost as strongly as Rorty. Lorraine Code, to whom I will turn next, argues that objectivity is dangerous because it is a largely Western, androcentric term. She claims that the term itself restricts women and other marginalized groups from participating in the construction of knowledge. 2.2.2. Code's Charges Against Objectivity The objections I will present from Lorraine Code come from her 1991 book What Can She Know? Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge. In this book, Code begins by questioning what she sees as 'traditional epistemology' and a traditional understanding of paradigmatic knowledge. She claims that traditional epistemology often cites paradigmatic knowledge in terms of “S knows that p” where S is any knower and p is any object of knowledge. By phrasing the paradigm of knowledge in this way, traditional epistemologists deny the sex of the knower as being important. It is exactly this issue (whether the sex of the knower is important) that Code wishes to address. She finds objectivity, as an epistemic ideal, to highlight exactly why she thinks the issue of the sex of the knower is important: Objectivity, quite precisely construed, is commonly regarded as a defining feature of knowledge per se. So if women's knowledge is declared to be naturally subjective, then a clear answer emerges to my question. The answer is that if the would-be knower is female, then her sex is indeed epistemically significant, for it disqualifies her as a knower in the fullest sense of the term.29 Code argues that, because of the common understanding of objectivity, the connection between objectivity and knowledge, and the common understanding of the relation of women to objectivity, the sex of the knower absolutely matters. To put it 29 Code, What Can She Know?, 10. 45 simply, if the knower is female, she cannot be objective and so cannot really hold the status of being a knower. Code's understanding of objectivity, here and throughout the book, is based on a value-neutral conception of the term. That is, Code argues that those who label themselves as objective take themselves to be value-neutral.30 Code has several strategies for combating this understanding of the relationship between women and knowledge. First, she challenges the paradigmatic status of 'S knows that p,' and argues that there is such a thing as subjective knowledge. Second, she argues that one must pay attention to where the ideal of objectivity came from, or more properly, out of whose standpoint the idea evolved. This allows her to expose the ideal itself as androcentric and value-laden, not value- free or impartial, despite what those who call themselves objective might think. Finally, based on this, Code argues for a more relativistic view of knowledge. She claims that knowledge should be relative to standpoint and situation. Throughout the argument Code maintains that she is not advocating a complete loss of objectivity. However, the objectivity she is comfortable in keeping seems to be one that refers to the world, not to the knower. She links objectivity to facts and to realism.31 From this, I conclude that she wishes to maintain a realist position, and has a commitment to an objective world, but she does not appear to have a commitment to objectivity on the part of the knower. It is this type of objectivity, an objective perspective or objective stance, that Code objects to. As my aim here is to defend objectivity as an epistemic ideal, Code's allowance of objectivity with regards to the world is still a dismissal of objectivity as an 30 Code, What Can She Know?, 31. 31 Code, What Can She Know?, 215. Curiously, this means that Code tacitly endorses the very gap between knowledge and reality that Rorty is striving to have us see as an error in thinking. Yet, many of Code's arguments will be seen to strengthen Rorty's position. 46 epistemic ideal and thus runs counter to my aims in this dissertation. Code, like Rorty, begins her discussion of objectivity by examining what she takes the term to mean. She does not outline two distinct uses of the term, as Rorty finds. However, after my discussion of the various ways the term has been interpreted in Chapter One, it should not be surprising that Code identifies one paradigmatic use, and Rorty finds two common uses. (After all, Douglas identified eight uses whereas Lloyd only found four.) Code claims that objectivity is most commonly understood as value-neutrality. The assumption of value-neutrality at the heart of the received view of objectivity owes much to the pride of place accorded to scientific knowledge, with its alleged value-neutrality, among human intellectual achievements.32 Code claims that the reason that objectivity is understood as value-neutrality is because that is how objectivity is understood in science, and scientific knowledge carries a huge amount of weight. So, in approaching her critique of objectivity, Code understands the term in terms of value-neutrality. I will illustrate in the next chapter that this is a common understanding of the term. But this is not the end of her discussion of the term. Codes goes on to argue that [k]nowledge produced in seemingly objective ways carries an authority that mirrors, reinforces, and probably also derives from masculine authority. Its alleged derivation from detached, pure thought permits it to claim superiority over modes of thought infected by emotion or feeling. 33 Code argues that we attach objectivity to knowledge and assume that the only 32 Code, What Can She Know?, 31. 33 Code, What Can She Know?, 35. 47 statements that count as real knowledge are those that are objective. This leads to an inequality when it comes to access to, and claims of, knowledge. Objectivity, characterized as unemotional, detached and impersonal, is, according to Code and Elisabeth Fee whom Code cites, also characterized as masculine.34 It is derived from and reciprocally confers authority on men. Women, by contrast, are often characterized as emotional, attached, personal, and subjective, and as such are blocked from being knowers under this understanding of objective knowledge. To support this perceived dichotomy, Code notes that reason has been the domain of men. When early modern philosophers claimed that man was rational, they did not intend 'man' to stand for 'humans.' “It is commonplace of western philosophy and folklore, then, that women are irrational creatures, either inferior or utterly lacking in reason.”35 Code later revises this point about the relationship of the received view of objectivity to masculinity, clarifying that it is a certain type of masculinity to which she is referring. That is, objectivity grew out of, and reinforces the authority of, Western European men.36 Having established her understanding of the received view of objectivity, and her understanding of where it came from and whom it represents and gives authority to, Code argues that the only way for women and other minorities to gain authoritative entry into epistemic debate is for them as knowers to challenge the paradigm of knowledge, and the assumption that knowledge is always objective. Code argues throughout her book that there is another standard of knowledge which has just as much legitimacy to be paradigmatic as “S knows that p” does. This is relational 34 Code, What Can She Know?, 35. 35 Code, What Can She Know?, 117. 36 Code, What Can She Know?, 70. 48 knowledge between subjects. Code argues that subjects know other subjects, and that this is a case of subjective as well as objective knowledge. There are objective facts about subjects, such as their sex, hair colour, height, etc. However, the knowledge is also a subjective knowledge for two reasons:1) the object of knowledge is a subject in relational knowledge; and 2) Code argues that “'knowing that' [as in S knows that p] captures but a small part of what people know.”37 In addition, in relational knowledge, subjects change. Who we are as people and what we know about each other, shifts and changes as we face different situations together. Thus the knowledge is not static and stable the way paradigmatic, objective, “S knows that p” knowledge is.38 With this revelation that there is at least one other candidate for the paradigm of knowledge and that this candidate is markedly subjective, Code argues that, “knowledge is, necessarily and inescapably, the product of an intermingling of subjective and objective elements.”39 Code argues that the location of the knower, the enthusiasm, desire, and values the knower might have all gone into shaping the knowledge-claim. Yet these facts, facts of location, emotion and value, are facts that are not admissible under a value-neutral, objective conception of knowledge. Therefore, knowledge is not entirely objective if what we mean by objective is value- neutral. It's hard to see why Code would think knowledge is objective at all given that it fails to meet the received view of objectivity. But remember that Code also applies the concept of objectivity to facts about the real world, even though she doesn't list this as part of the received view. So, insofar as there is some fact of the matter about 37 Code, What Can She Know?, 253. 38 Code, What Can She Know?, 36-46. 39 Code, What Can She Know?, 30. 49 the knowledge-claim, there is an objective element. But, for Code, this objectivity is not an ideal that the epistemic subject strives for, it is a fact about the world. Because location, values and emotions matter, Code argues that the sex of the knower matters as well, thus answering her initial question. However, with this understanding of knowledge as subjective and objective, Code is able to address the troubling received view of objectivity. Women and other minorities cannot be barred from being knowers in the fullest sense once we recognize that being labeled as non- objective is no barrier to knowledge. Though this book, What Can She Know? is primarily a book examining whether the sex of the knower matters, one of the reasons Code thinks it must matter is because of the dichotomous relationship of sex to objectivity. One sex is thought capable of being objective, the other is not. This argument of the inherent oppressiveness of objectivity supports Rorty's view of objectivity as dangerous. Both Code and Rorty have extended Antony's common arguments against objectivity. They both strive to show not only that objectivity is unattainable, and that alternatives to objectivity are useful, but that objectivity itself is a dangerous concept to have. It silences minorities, breaks down solidarities, encourages intolerance and enables a tyranny of one group over the other. Insofar as knowledge is power, those who have access to the knowledge have power over those who don't. Finally, Code highlights one more way in which objectivity can be dangerous to minorities; the term isolates the majority from political responsibility and criticism. Code argues that [s]cientists can absolve themselves from moral-political responsibility by invoking the overriding value of objectivity. Presenting their findings in an 50 impersonally objective manner ('the facts show'), speaking with the authority of their institutional position, masks the identity—indeed, the existence—of the cognitive agents whose values, in effect, shape and guide the inquiry.40 Code argues, in a move Rorty would likely agree with, that objectivity is used as a way to remove the holders of knowledge from debate and responsibility. One cannot debate with the truth. If something is true, if it is a fact, then it is unquestionable, and as such those who hold it are in the right. Those who dissent are left with no recourse. Both Rorty and Code, then, argue that the term 'objectivity' is masking what is really going on in our knowledge-making practices. Code and Rorty represent the strongest opposition to the ideal of objectivity. Their opposition goes further than Antony lays out. They don't just claim that objectivity is leaving out important and useful tools in the production of knowledge. Rather, they argue that objectivity itself is dangerous and useless, regardless of whether or not values and partiality are useful for knowledge. There is something built into the category of objectivity itself that is harmful to minorities and communities according to Rorty and Code. If objectivity is dangerous, unhelpful, masking our true epistemic practices, allowing existing inequalities to persist, and working against the fostering of communities (not to mention being an unattainable ideal in the first place), then why would anyone want to defend it? Yet some people do acknowledge all these problems, and still seek to defend objectivity, typically by suggesting a reconceptualization of the term. Sandra Harding is one of the leading philosophers advocating for a reconceptualization of the term. While she does have criticisms 40 Code, What Can She Know?, 35. 51 against the received or common view of objectivity, she represents a more moderate view than Rorty or Code, since she does not advocate for the loss of the term, and indeed suggests that losing the concept of objectivity may be extremely difficult. 2.3. Standpoint Theory and Sandra Harding While Rorty and Code highlight dangerous and oppressive elements in the term 'objectivity' and therefore advocate its loss, Sandra Harding, though she agrees that objectivity has been oppressive, does not advocate for a loss of the term. In very general terms, Harding represents a group of feminist epistemologists who find objectivity conceptualized as value-neutral to be harmful, but do not draw the larger conclusion that objectivity as an epistemic concept is inherently dangerous or oppressive. Rather, Harding advocates keeping objectivity as an epistemic concept, but notes that “[i]t needs updating, rehabilitation, so that it is capable of functioning effectively in the science-based society. . .”41 Harding argues that objectivity can be kept, but not in its value-neutral form. Harding, like Rorty and Code, begins her 1995 paper, “'Strong Objectivity': A Response to the New Objectivity Question,” by briefly examining the concept of objectivity itself. Like Rorty and Code, and like Douglas and Lloyd as discussed in Chapter One, Harding finds that objectivity can be understood in various ways. However, unlike these other thinkers, Harding declines to come to a definition (or two, or eight) of the term. Rather, she notes that the term has meant many different things to different people in different contexts.42 There is one constant that she claims to 41 Sandra Harding, “'Strong Objectivity': A Response to the New Objectivity Question,” Synthese 104, no. 3(1995) 347. 42 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 332-333. 52 have identified in the concept of objectivity. Harding, relying on the work of Robert Proctor, claims that no matter how objectivity has been understood in different contexts, it has always required value-neutrality.43 Harding traces one possible reason for this. If one thinks of political threats as imposing their values on science (Harding gives creationism as an example of this,) then a good, though far from foolproof way to deal with these imposed and unwanted values would be to demand value-neutrality from scientists. However, Harding argues that there is another type of political value that is found in science. This one goes unnoticed by the mainstream since it is a kind of politics that emerges in science from the culture in which scientists find themselves. These political values are not imposed on science from without, but arise within science because of the context in which the science is being done. “Paradoxically, this kind of politics [the second kind] functions through the depoliticizations of science— through the creation of 'normal' or authoritarian science.”44 Harding argues that it is through science's commitment to objectivity in the form of neutrality that these second, hidden, kind of political values really become influential. In many ways, then, her account of scientific objectivity parallels Rorty's and Code's. Harding claims that [t]his normalizing politics frequently defines the objections of its victims and any criticisms of its institutions, practices, or conceptual world as agitation by special interests that threatens to damage the neutrality of science and its 'civilizing mission', as an earlier generation saw the matter. Thus, when sciences are already in the service of the mighty, scientific neutrality ensures that 'might makes right'.45 43 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 333. I will challenge this as the best candidate for a constant in the concept of objectivity in Chapter Three and have already indicated in Chapter One that I find subjectivity to be a more fruitful constant. 44 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 335. 45 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 337. 53 The threat that objectivity presents is that it serves to keep the powerful in power. It supports the values of those in power paradoxically by denying that they are values and claiming that knowledge gained by those in power is objective. Thus it serves to silence minority opinion since minority values can easily be identified by the majority and thus identifies the holders of minority opinion as failing to be objective in terms of value-neutrality. Harding uses this argument to support her claim that objectivity as commonly understood (in terms of value-neutrality) is too weak to do what we want objectivity to do, since it does not prevent this power dichotomy and hidden values from entering scientific discourse. Not only can it not prevent values from entering the discourse but because of its commitment to value-neutrality, it cannot adjudicate between values. “Weak objectivity [value-neutral objectivity] is unable to discriminate between those interests and values that enlarge our understanding and those that limit it.”46 In order to combat the perceived weaknesses in weak objectivity, Harding proposes what she calls 'strong objectivity' and supports this concept with reference to feminist standpoint theory.47 According to Alison Wylie in her 2003 article and Kristen Intemann in her 2010 article, feminist standpoint theory has two basic theses: 1. The Situated-Knowledge Thesis: Social location systematically influences our experiences, shaping and limiting what we know, such that knowledge is achieved from a particular standpoint. . . 2. The Thesis of Epistemic Advantage: Some standpoints, specifically the standpoints of marginalized or oppressed groups, are 46 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 340. 47 Harding's decision to give her conception of objectivity the label 'Strong Objectivity' is a reflection of the affinity her position shares with the strong program in the sociology of scientific knowledge. 54 epistemically advantaged (at least in some contexts). . .48 These two requirements allow Harding and other standpoint theorists to allow values into epistemic and scientific debates, but not just any values. The second thesis of standpoint theory makes clear that not all values are created equal. Some values, in some contexts, with reference to some knowledge claims, are epistemically privileged over others.49 One can see that Marxist influence in standpoint theory as laid out here. Feminist standpoint theory and Marxist theory both share the claim that the standpoints of marginalized groups have the ability to be epistemically superior to mainstream standpoints. The key to gaining this epistemic privileged is consciousness raising, or critical reflection on one's position. Harding uses standpoint theory to reform the ideal of objectivity, arguing for a need to move away from value-neutrality and towards feminist standpoint theory. Harding argues that objectivity need not be given up. In fact she goes further than this, arguing that objectivity as an epistemic concept would be exceedingly difficult to give up. She argues that the ideal of objectivity, whether attainable or not (she suggests it's probably not) is “deeply embedded in the ethic and rhetoric of democracy at personal, communal and institutional levels.”50 Harding argues that the language of objectivity is the language people use in epistemic debates and when making knowledge claims. Not only is this the vocabulary we use, but Harding claims the ideal of objectivity is embedded in our ethical practices as well and embedded at 48 Kristen Intemann, “25 Years of Feminist Empiricism and Standpoint Theory: Where Are We Now?” Hypatia 25, no. 4 (Fall, 2010): 783. See also Wylie, Alison. “Why Standpoint Matters,” in Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology, eds. Robert Figueroa and Sandra Harding, (New York and London: Routledge. 2003): 28. 49 The importance of critical reflection will be discussed again in Chapter Four. 50 Harding, “Strong Objectivity,” 347. 55 all levels. This observation serves to question Rorty's proposal that one do away with the language of objectivity. In Harding's estimation, objectivity is such a part of Western European culture that we cannot simply make a clean break from the language and the ethical ideal and begin again. Thus, based on Harding's argument, one might wonder whether Rorty's insistence on doing away with the concept of objectivity is something that can be done easily, or even done at all. In line with her standpoint position, Harding advocates beginning from where we are. She argues that we should keep the concept of objectivity (because to do otherwise is exceedingly difficult), but update the concept and change the way it is understood. In short, she argues for a move from weak objectivity to strong objectivity. In her 1991 book, Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? Harding defines strong objectivity as “extending the notion of scientific research to include systematic examination of . . . powerful background beliefs.”51 She expands on this notion, arguing that science, under weak or value-free objectivity, only allows for a question to be examined from one perspective, that of the mainstream. In addition, those who occupy the standpoint of the mainstream are unable to critically reflect on their own values and beliefs. Thus these values and beliefs go unquestioned. By contrast, strong objectivity has as its mandate the questioning of these background values and beliefs. Harding argues that a good way to begin this critical examination of our own standpoint is by starting from the standpoint of the Other (in a Sartrean sense of Other), someone who is not occupying the mainstream. In an interview, Harding summed it up in the following way: 51 Sandra Harding, “'Strong Objectivity' and Socially Situated Knowledge” in Whose Science? Whose Knowledge? (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. 1991) 149. 56 So strong objectivity is an issue, to put it in an extremely simplistic way, of learning to see ourselves as others see us . . . marginal lives are at least one good place, one good strategy for doing this.52 Strong objectivity will also use the theses of feminist standpoint theory to allow values into the epistemic debate,and adjudicate between values, something weak objectivity is unable to do. “We must be able to identify the social causes of good beliefs, not just of bad ones . . .”53 Thus strong objectivity is strong because it acknowledges the existence of values in the epistemic debate (something weak objectivity ignores) and it is able to adjudicate between values (something weak objectivity cannot do). The adjudication seems to be dependent on context and situation. Thus, in some contexts Harding claims that the values of those holding a mainstream standpoint might be better, and in other contexts marginalized standpoints will be better. Though it is not the case that the marginalized position will always be the better one from which to critically reflect on and adjudicate between knowledge claims, Harding argues that it is still necessary to include these standpoints in scientific investigation. Without them, we are generating impoverished knowledge claims, and are unable to reflect on our own beliefs.54 In this way, Harding stresses that it is not only the subjects of knowledge that fall subject to political influence, but that the objects of knowledge are, likewise, influenced politically. The notion of 'strong objectivity' conceptualizes the value of putting the subject or agent of knowledge in the same critical, causal plane as the object of his or 52 Elizabeth Hirsh and Gary A. Olsen, “Starting from Marginalized Lives: A Conversation with Sandra Harding.” JAC 15 no. 2 (1995). http://www.jacweb.org/Archived_volumes/Volume15.htm#Issue2 53 Harding, “'Strong Objectivity' and Socially Situated Knowledge,” 149. 54 Hirsh and Olsen, “Starting from Marginalized Lives: A Conversation with Sandra Harding.” 57 her inquiry. 55 Strong objectivity allows us to critically examine ourselves, our own background beliefs, and how those beliefs have influenced and tacitly supported the objects of knowledge we claim for ourselves. This develops a reciprocal relationship between the subjects of knowledge and the objects of knowledge. Because there is this reciprocal relationship, we can learn new things about ourselves and about the world by attempting to take a perspective, or standpoint, different from our own. Harding argues that there are problems with our current conception of objectivity, but that we need to start from where we are and re-conceptualize the concept to deal with these problems. I will argue something stronger. I do not claim that we should keep the concept of objectivity merely because attempting to remove it would be difficult if not impossible. I claim that even if Harding is wrong in her assertion (though I don't think she is), there are good reasons to keep objectivity as an epistemic concept. However, Harding's theory of strong objectivity is similar to the view of the current conception of objectivity that I will develop in Chapter Five, particularly in stressing the need for critical reflection, and the need for an inclusion of marginalized views. My story differs the most from Harding's in my treatment of value- free objectivity. I do not view it as the constant in any conception of objectivity, and I claim that there is a story to be told about how value-free objectivity arose, and how it leads to a reconceptualization of objectivity that resembles Harding's strong objectivity. Rather than seeing strong objectivity as opposed to (and better than) value-free objectivity, I will claim that a reconceptualization of objectivity in terms of feminist standpoint theory has grown out of the legacy of value-free objectivity. I will 55 Harding, “'Strong Objectivity' and Socially Situated Knowledge” 161. 58 also suggest ways in which objectivity may be reconceptualized in the future in Chapter Six. But I think that Harding's stress on the importance of the inclusion of marginalized views, and the importance of critical reflection are correct. In the following chapters I will demonstrate that objectivity itself has been and can be ethically and epistemically beneficial. But before laying out my positive argument, I will examine the alternatives to objectivity raised by Rorty, and potential problems with the analysis of objectivity employed by both Rorty and Code, and to a lesser extent, Harding. 2.4. Problems with Rorty's Alternative There are some troubling issues with Rorty's view of the alternative to objectivity, not the least of which is where the distinction between persuasion and coercion lies, and how 'widespread agreement,' 'useful to believe' and 'good to believe' might work together in Rorty's account of truth. But I will not be looking at these obvious problems, or at least not directly. I will begin my critique of Rorty's view by looking at a concern raised against it by Jürgen Habermas. The concern raised by Habermas will illustrate one of the potential weaknesses in Rorty's proposed alternative to objectivity. From there, I will examine some concerns over Rorty's use of 'truth' and rely on the theories of Sharyn Clough, a pragmatist philosopher who has been influenced by Rorty's theory. Clough, though she is a pragmatist, refuses to adopt Rorty's call to do away with the language of objectivity. By looking at Clough's arguments and aims, I will suggest one way in which objectivity may be helpful to minority opinion rather than silencing it. 59 2.4.1. Rorty and Habermas Rorty has a very specific, and problematic, view of subjects in communities. This can most easily be seen in the exchange between Rorty and Jürgen Habermas. In Rorty and His Critics, edited by Robert Brandom, Jürgen Habermas argues that Rorty's account cannot establish its main claims. Habermas says: With the orientation toward 'more and more,' 'larger and larger,' and 'increasingly diverse' audiences, Rorty brings a weak idealization into play that, on his premise, is far from self-evident. As soon as the concept of truth is eliminated in favor of a context-dependent epistemic validity-for-us, the normative reference point necessary to explain why a proponent should endeavor to seek agreement for 'p' beyond the boundaries of her own group is missing. The information that the agreement of an increasingly large audience gives us increasingly less reason to fear that we will be refuted presupposes the very interest that has to be explained; the desire for 'as much intersubjective agreement as possible.' If something is 'true' if and only if it is recognized as justified 'by us' because it is good 'for us,' there is no rational motive for expanding the circle of members.56 Habermas claims that Rorty has given us no reason to think that we must, or even would, attempt to expand our circle of agreement, or expand our community. We get to choose our group, and once we have agreement within that group, there seems little or no rational reason to try to expand agreement beyond the boundaries of that group. The reason Rorty gives, that we just do value widening community borders because we happen to, and historically we have done so (his appeal to ethnocentrism), is not a rational support. Furthermore, given that we seem to be able 56 Habermas, “Richard Rorty's Pragmatic Turn,” 51. 60 to consider and change our values, why not change this one? Indeed, with his appeal to ethnocentrism Rorty has divided the world into those we must justify ourselves to and those we can disregard.57 So, once we have agreement among the group of people we must justify ourselves to, among those of our community, why should we try to justify ourselves to those outside of our community? They are strangers, and we don't need to justify ourselves to them. Why not just define them as those whose opinions don't matter, and end the debate? In general, Habermas is asking why we should think that a community, even Rorty's community, would value as much intersubjective agreement as possible,or should continue to do so given that it does? Why not just enough intersubjective agreement such that one's beliefs are not constantly being challenged? In Rorty's response to Habermas, he concedes that the only reason for valuing unforced agreement is because we live in a society that values rhetoric rather than, say, violence or some other method. Rorty claims that the only reason to seek agreement beyond our own group is because we live in a society that values agreement beyond groups. As we would expect, Rorty's explanation is circular and self-referential. But, again, he claims that there is no other reason possible. Habermas, according to Rorty, is asking the wrong question. He is asking a question that seeks to look beyond the borders of Rorty's liberal community. The question asks Rorty's community to reflect on and question its own values, and the reason for those values. If there is no rational reason to be found, why hold the values at all? But there is nothing outside of the community that will answer Habermas's question, according 57 See, for example Kusch, “Rorty on Solidarity and Objectivity in Science; A Reassessment,” for a discussion of Rorty's division of the world into those whose opinions count (members of his own community) and those who can be disregarded. 61 to Rorty. In fact, asking questions that encourage one to look outside one's own community for answers works against the value of community solidarity. If Rorty is right, the only answer possible is the self-referential one. He is morally obligated to try to expand the borders of his community by increased intersubjective agreement, but only because this is a value of the community Rorty belongs to. If his community did not hold such a value, he would not be obliged to act in such a way. As someone whose sense of moral identity is tied up with the need to go beyond boundaries of my own group, I can recapture the notion of hinaus bemühen soll, though perhaps not in a way that Habermas would find adequate. For I can say that I could not live with myself if I did not do my best to go beyond the borders in question. In that sense, I am morally obliged to do so, but only in the same sense that a Nazi who could not live with himself if he spared a certain Jew is morally obliged to kill that Jew.58 This gives us a clearer insight into Rorty's idea of the community he has chosen for himself. Note that claiming that the Nazi, from his perspective, is morally obligated to kill the Jew does not leave Rorty unable to condemn the Nazi from his (Rorty's) own perspective. This is the virtue Rorty is trying to convince us is found in ethnocentrism. Rorty's response to Habermas is that the motive for seeking more widespread agreement is that we happen to live in a community that does, in fact, seek more widespread agreement. As such it is built into our community's identity to do so. If another individual or community were to ask “but why?” as Habermas has done, we, those of us in Rorty's community, should feel free to retreat to ethnocentrism to explain why it is that we do so.59 This will hardly persuade those, like Habermas, who 58 Richard Rorty, “Response to Habermas,” in Rorty and His Critics, ed. Robert Brandom, (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2000): 61. 59 Note that it isn't quite correct to characterize this as a 'retreat to ethnocentrism'. Rorty's community 62 are asking 'but why?' especially if they happen to be members of a community that does not value expanding intersubjective agreement. This is especially troubling in this exchange since it seems, on the surface, that Rorty and Habermas are part of the same community. If so, Rorty's retreat to ethnocentrism does not place him beyond the range of Habermas's questions. Rather, Rorty either has to show that Habermas is, in fact, not part of the same community as Rorty, or that Habermas is part of the same community, but fails to understand his own community's values and the ways in which these values are supported and justified. Rorty seems to take the second path, rather than the first. Rorty has given his answer, he has no other. This answer will not persuade those who do not hold his beliefs, but he doesn't need to persuade them. For those who do hold his beliefs, but question why they hold them, as Habermas seems to, Rorty's response is that this questioning is a holdover from a desire for objectivity in the first sense. It is a mistake to ask such a question. One can see the tension between the two values Rorty claims his community possesses. The decision to expand community borders of widespread agreement as far as possible is in tension with the retreat to ethnocentrism. That is, one can always retreat to ethnocentrism in the face of an opponent one cannot persuade. The worry for Habermas is that one might too readily retreat to ethnocentrism. Why try to persuade if it's difficult, when one could simply ignore (or shoot)? Yet, paradoxically, ethnocentrism is also the very thing that supports and justifies this value of widespread agreement, while simultaneously working against it. Without the recourse is always proceeding from a position of ethnocentrism, whether they are trying to persuade other communities to agree with them, or whether they decide that another community is part of the group whose opinions don't matter. I call it a retreat here to mark it from the action of actively trying to persuade. Here, the ethnocentrism functions as a way to break off communication instead of functioning as a position from which to engage in communication (as it does in the case of persuasion). 63 to ethnocentrism, we would have no justification for wishing to widen intersubjective agreement at all. Habermas has pointed out something troubling in Rorty's account. And though Rorty is able to answer Habermas, and answer him in a way that is consistent with Rorty's account, this answer itself is troubling. It is a retreat to ethnocentrism, and a claim that Habermas is asking an unintelligible question, rather than an attempt to persuade Habermas to agree. It comes dangerously close to claiming that Rorty and Habermas are not part of the same community and thus comes close to allowing Rorty to ignore Habermas's questions, since they come from outside his ethnocentric foundation. The possibility of disengaging with one's interlocutors is always present on Rorty's account. In fact, it is the foundation on which all other values rest for Rorty. It allows him to condemn the Nazis but it might also allow people to silence minority opinion, the very thing Rorty claimed was a danger of theories which include objectivity. Rorty's account was supposed to remove objectivity from discourse and thereby remove this danger. For example, imagine a group of suffragists in the United States in 1918 who may wish to attempt to persuade the larger community of the legitimacy of votes for women. But the larger community might be confident of their beliefs that women should not vote. In actual U.S. history as I will discuss in Chapter Four, the larger community retreated to expert testimony to support their claim. In Rorty's scenario, the anti-suffragists might have simply retreated to ethnocentrism and claimed that they value women as non-voters simply because women are non-voters. This is the value the community has always held. In this way, the debate would come to a halt. For it is true that prior to 1921, women in the majority of the states in the USA could 64 not, and had never been able to, vote in federal elections. It was part of the value of the role of women that made up the community's value-system. It was part of the history that built community solidarity. In response to this concern, Rorty can also point to a value his self-identified liberal community has which he articulates in Contingency, Irony and Solidarity: valuing revolutionaries.60 Rorty might argue that, as one of the values that creates solidarity in his community is the value of revolutionaries, people willing to challenge the norm will be encouraged, not silenced. But, of course, this value of revolutionaries, as with all values in a contingent community (as Rorty's must be, since he has no appeal to a foundation to ground a community's borders) is open to challenge and question, and may at times be in tension with other values, such as ethnocentrism. Furthermore, with his argument that one should not look beyond the borders of one's own community, Rorty has made it difficult for revolutionaries to find the courage to speak out against values in their community, particularly those that might create solidarity. On Rorty's account, the history of a community supports the values that a community has at present, and the values a community has at present bring solidarity among community members. The value of women in the home, as non-voting members of society had a history, and created solidarity. Challenging both of these could be perceived as challenging the very foundations of a community. But, as Simone de Beauvoir famously argued, the question is not over what the state of affairs is at present, or was in the past. The question is, “should this state of affairs continue?”61 Rorty has a system where the history of present states of affairs, and the present values and beliefs held by a community, are enough to support that 60 Rorty, Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, 61. 61 de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, Liii. 65 those states of affairs continue. In order to change those states of affairs, one needs to try to persuade the majority while endeavouring to ensure that one is not classified as belonging to the category of persons whose opinions do not matter, those outside the community. For if one is classified as such, it is very unclear how one will be able to move away from this classification. The only reason Rorty's community values persuasion over force is because it has a history that led it to this value. But should this state of affairs continue? And why should it continue? And how do we ensure that it does continue? The answer to none of these questions is clear. In the meantime, minorities within Rorty's community play a delicate game with an opponent who may deem them too difficult to talk to or to be a threat to solidarity and who may retreat to ethnocentrism at any moment. This is the alternative to objectivity that Rorty has presented us with. It isn't obvious that it is less dangerous or oppressive than Rorty claimed objectivity to be. 2.4.2. Objectivity, Truth, and Minority Opinion The next problem I identify within Rorty's theory is with his account of truth. He wants to remove all connotation of objectivity or correspondence from the theory of truth, and simply leave truth as whatever we all widely agree upon. However, apart from the concerns regarding the relationship of 'widely agreed-upon' and 'useful' and 'good to believe,' there are two general areas that warrant skepticism within this proposal. First, I am skeptical that this thin account of truth will do everything that those who employ the concept of truth wish it to do. Second, I am skeptical that truth can be re-conceptualized in this way. On the first point, it seems that some of those most sympathetic with Rorty's 66 view are still resistant to giving up on the concept of 'objective truth,' though they may be willing to revise it. Sharyn Clough, in her 1998 article and again in her 2003 book, Beyond Epistemology, argues that she wants to remove the dichotomy between objectivism and relativism by removing the correspondence theory of truth, but she still wants to keep notions of objectivity in play.62 Clough agrees with Rorty in rejecting the gap between the knowing subject and the world, and agrees that thinking of truth as correspondence, and objectivity as the perspective necessary in order to mirror the world correctly are both unnecessary and unhelpful. Yet she does not follow Rorty to the conclusion that objectivity should be removed from epistemic discourse. That is, Clough is more similar to Harding than to Rorty and Code. She finds what she takes to be the common understanding of objectivity to be unhelpful, but she does not conclude from this that all talk of objectivity should be given up. Clough, like Harding, wants to include values in epistemic discourse. And, like Harding, Clough does not want to include all values, or grant them all equal weight. In order to allow values into epistemic discourse, but adjudicate between those values, Clough argues that values themselves can be supported by empirical data. Clough argues that, rather than viewing the formation of scientific knowledge as a negotiation between the raw data of the world and our value-laden perspectives on that data, we should instead see our own values as part of the set of facts we are investigating. As an example, she examines the archaeological question over whether the proper framework for investigating past archaeological sites is to seek to explain things in terms of 'man-the-hunter' or to focus more on the role of ancient women by using a framework focusing on 'woman-the-gatherer'. The first framework explains the society 62 In conversation at the IAPh, June 2010, University of Western Ontario. 67 under investigation by highlighting the importance of hunting to the community and “interprets stones as hunting tools”.63 The second framework of 'woman-the-gatherer' focuses on the lives and chores of women and “interprets stones as as implements for gathering and preparing edible vegetation.”64 Clough denies the gap between theories and values and also proposes to deny the gap between the world and our beliefs about it (or the gap between metaphysical realism and the epistemic knowledge- claims). Clough claims that her view is non-representationalist, in that we do not use values and beliefs to represent raw data in a certain way. According to Clough, values and beliefs are not filters through which data are passed, but are rather themselves data with empirical content and support. With regards to the archaeological debate above, Clough states that: I argue. . . that feminist political values are themselves beliefs with empirical content that can in turn provide good evidential support for preferring the “woman-the-gatherer” interpretation over the “man-the-hunter” interpretation.65 Clough bases this argument on empirical investigation conducted by feminists which demonstrates that the role of women in theories about human bodies and human behaviour has often been overlooked. Thus, the feminist political value which leads to the interpretation of woman-the-gatherer as opposed to man-the-hunter is itself a belief with empirical content, which is supported by evidence. It is not merely a filter through which evidence is interpreted. On Clough's theory, beliefs and values are themselves empirically supported. It isn't simply a matter of persuasion and metaphor to convince someone to hold your 63 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 116. 64 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 116. 65 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 116. 68 values over other values. Some values, in particular feminist values, are more supported by empirical evidence than others. We do not need to retreat to ethnocentrism because on Clough's view, ethnocentrism is not the only thing supporting our values. Clough argues that: A nonrepresentationalist understanding of contextual values or worldviews would conceive of them, not as filters through which the empirical data pass, but as further important strands in our web of belief. . . There is no need for us to doubt the empirical evidence for our feminist political values, as long as we conceive of the evidence as that which is provided by other beliefs in our web.66 The beliefs themselves, then, are not causing us to be biased, or hold value- laden theories that do not properly mirror the world. So Clough, like Rorty, rejects a picture of the knowing subject's relation to the world in terms of a mirroring of nature. Rather, these beliefs that were thought to be clouding the mirror are supported, are knowledge, and combine with the raw data to present a true picture of reality. Feminist values are actually more justified and more empirically supported than non- feminist theories, and as a result “they are true!”67 Clough ends both her 1998 paper and the second-last chapter of her 2003 book on this same emphatic line. She emphasizes that feminist theories are true. Not true in the sense of widely-agreed upon, but true in the sense of empirically supported. This is an important strategy for any feminist philosopher, or other holder 66 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 126. 67 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 127; Sharyn Clough, “A Hasty Retreat From Evidence: The Recalcitrance of Relativism in Feminist Epistemology” Hypatia 13, no. 4 (Fall 1998): 109. I will have questions to raise with Clough's account in Chapter Six. However, for now I am less concerned with the success of Clough's account and more concerned with why she choose to speak of truth and objectivity when she is also a self-identified Rortarian Pragmatist. 69 of a marginalized opinion, to make. Clough is claiming that it does not matter what the majority thinks. Her beliefs and values are true, even if they are not widely agreed upon, or are not recognized as useful or good. They are true because they are empirically supported. And Clough might even be tempted to claim that this is objectively so. Though she rejects the old accounts of objectivity, she claims not to be against objectivity in general. She just wants it to be reconceptualized.68 Rorty might have a response to Clough's need for truth as separate from wide- spread agreement. Rorty might claim that since these feminist values are empirically supported, Clough could be seen to be saying that they are useful to believe. They are useful because they fit the data better than the values held by the majority. As such, while they are not widely agreed-upon, they are useful and it would be good if these beliefs were adopted. In this sense, on Rorty's account, they may count as true. So perhaps there is no problem with the way Clough and other holders of minority opinion might want to deploy the concept of truth and the way Rorty does. Though this does highlight a discrepancy between 'useful to believe' and 'widely agreed- upon,' under the 'useful to believe' understanding of truth, Clough and Rorty may agree that these feminist beliefs and values are true. But here is another troubling area for Rorty. There are two understandings of 'true' in play. One is 'widely-agreed upon' and the other is 'useful'. And it isn't clear how these two work together. Certainly we might imagine that a community could hold a belief that is not as useful to believe as something else. But this account will not work on Rorty's view, since for Rorty, it is the community themselves that determines 68 Clough made this clear in a discussion I had with her at the 2010 meeting of the IAPh (International Association of Women Philosophers) in London Ontario, June 25-28 2010. 70 what is useful to believe. There is nothing beyond the community to measure community beliefs against in order to determine their usefulness. So, does Clough's assertion of truth actually count as true if it is not widely believed, and therefore is not widely seen as useful to believe, and therefore is not useful to believe? For Rorty, there can be no external measure of what counts as useful, thus the group must decide. In this case, it looks as though holders of minority opinion, on Rorty's account, do not ever hold the truth, until the majority agrees with them. One might wonder why I quibble about this at all. After all, Rorty's theory of truth is so changeable, how can it matter whether what Clough says is true or not? She simply has to keep saying it until she is able to persuade others to adopt it as true, or they decide that she is part of that group whose opinions they don't care about. But I claim that the reason Rorty was resistant to hang on to objectivity is the same reason Clough and other holders of minority opinion want to hang on to objectivity and truth. Even after we strip both concepts of their former metaphysical glory, the metaphysical gap is still lurking there. Even after unmasking objectivity for what it is, Rorty could not bring himself to allow it back into discourse, since it was too intimately tied up with metaphysical realism in his mind and he suspected in our minds as well. I suspect that Rorty worried that we could not forget that objectivity had been seen as “the bridgeway between our sensory receptors and the causal forces of the empirical data,”69 as Clough puts it. However, it is just this idea that there is a way the world is independent of what the majority thinks that attracts holders of minority opinion to concepts like truth and objectivity. The fact that both concepts gesture at something beyond the community, or prevailing community opinion, the fact that they 69 Clough, “A Hasty Retreat From Evidence,” 93. 71 have these metaphysical connotations (broadly construed), to evoking ideas about the way the world 'really' is independent of what we believe about it, is why they are attractive to those in the minority. They give support where no community-based support is possible. They allow and encourage one to look beyond one's community for support in just the way Habermas's question above does. On Clough's account, truth gestures beyond the community, which is just the move Rorty feared when he sought to separate 'true' from 'objectivity'. Rorty thought that this separation could result in truth being a safe word, but 'truth' is only useful to minority opinion if it does go beyond the borders of the community. Community solidarity is what those who hold minority views are fighting against.70 Though Rorty was concerned about the use of objectivity since he feared that it gestured beyond the community, he did not have the same worries about truth. Rorty allowed truth to remain in the discourse. And holders of minority opinion like Clough employ the term even when it is unclear whether on Rorty's account they have license to do so. I argue that the reason Clough and other holders of minority views deploy terms like 'truth' and 'objective' (though often a revised understanding of the term 'objective'), is because they want to ground their beliefs and epistemic claims, and they want these beliefs and claims to be grounded in more than simply ethnocentrism. Clough is trying to change majority opinion. Therefore, she cannot rely on the community (made up of the majority), to ground her claims. It is the majority's very 70 In this case it seems that a community's value of revolutionaries, which Rorty claims his liberal community has, is not enough support for those with marginalized views. Clough does not appeal to others by speaking of herself as a revolutionary. Rather, she appeals to others by appealing to something beyond her community's borders; truth not understood as wide-spread agreement, but understood as empirically supported. She does not seem to find the support she needs under the value of revolutionaries. Rather, she seeks to reconceptualize the value of objectivity in order to find support to speak to the majority. 72 claims she, and others in a similar situation, are trying to change. There are many other issues with Rorty's theory, and details that need to be fully explained and supported. However, this dissertation is not focused on examining and testing Rorty's alternative to objectivity. I have done enough here to show that Rorty's proposed alternative to objectivity, an alternative which rests on wide-spread belief, usefulness, a non-correspondence account of truth, and ethnocentrism, has the potential to be at least as oppressive to minority opinion as he claims objectivity is. Thus, I conclude that Rorty's alternative works no better than an account which includes objectivity, and may well be more oppressive to holders of minority opinion since it focuses on community solidarity, and resists looking beyond one's community for support and justification. The activity of changing opinions and beliefs is a difficult one, both mentally and physically, not to mention socially and politically. The determination necessary to claim one's theories and beliefs are true when the majority at large is denouncing them is enormous. The belief that one has 'objective truth' on one's side is a provider of strength to those fighting against the beliefs of the majority. In this case, both 'useful' and 'widely agreed upon' have failed the minority view. They cannot claim either, since it appears that what is useful is determined by the majority in the community. So they ground their beliefs elsewhere, in objective truth, variously understood. For Clough, the grounding for her objectively true beliefs is empirical data. It is the data, not the community, that demonstrates that her beliefs are true and that gives her the determination to fight against beliefs she sees as false. This has been true of minority views in other eras as well. The previous 73 imagined example of the U.S. suffrage movement serves to illustrate this as well. Susan B. Anthony and Elisabeth Cady Stanton became advocates for women's rights after Stanton was denied a seat as a delegate at a British antislavery convention. The reason for her denial was her gender. Sarah Hunter Graham, in her book Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, notes that Anthony and Stanton drafted the Declaration of Sentiments in which they outlined all the rights they were demanding from the U.S. Government in 1848 in response to this denial on the basis of gender.71 At this time, the women's movement relied heavily on feelings, emotions, and sentiment. Women during the early period of the women's rights movement employed sentimental novels to lay out their situation and advocate for change. While these novels were successful to some degree in illustrating the situation women found themselves in and in generating support, there emerges a new style of argument used by those advocating for women's rights roughly around the 1890's. Graham details how this change from a focus on generating sentiment shifted to a focus that emulated more faithfully the accepted political rhetoric of the day. In discussing the changes that suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt brought about in the National American Women's Suffrage Association (NAWSA), Graham notes that: At the 1895 NAWSA convention. . . Catt blasted the convention delegates with a pithy summary of the movement's shortcomings. Although suffragists had been agitating for forty years, they had not turned the sentiment generated into success. Calling for sweeping tactical changes, she put before the convention a three-pronged plan: a special committee to raise money for state amendment campaigns; a new standing committee of organization to 71 Sara Hunter Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 5. 74 coordinate national, state, and local suffrage work; and a cadre of specially trained organizers to direct state campaigns.”72 Carrie Chapman Catt observed that the old style of generating sentiment was not having the desired effect. It was time for a new strategy. About this time, some women advocating for women's rights changed their tone from one of sentimentality to a more scientific tone, gathering data and employing rational arguments. As emphasized in the quote above, suffrage groups trained their members to speak in a new language, one that I will identify with the nineteenth-century conceptualization of objectivity.73 Many prominent women suffragists had a scientific or social-scientific education. Alice Paul74 had an MA in sociology and a PhD in Political Science. Carrie Chapman Catt75 had studied education, medicine and law. Alice Duer Miller76 had a Master's in mathematics. In addition to the number of women involved in the movement who had been exposed to scientific education and rhetoric, NAWSA set up its own schools to train and educate new members. These schools stressed statistics and facts rather than sentiment and emotion. NAWSA exposed its members to the data that had been collected in states where suffrage was already legal, as well as in other countries, such as New Zealand. No suffrage campaigner was sent out to speak to the public without this training. In these training sessions, suffragists were taught how to 72 Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, 7. Emphasis added. 73 This conception of objectivity, and the ways in which the suffragists conformed to it, will be examined in more detail in Chapter Four. 74a former member of NAWSA (The National American Women's Suffrage Association) who went on to found the National Women's Party (NWP, their aims were counter to NAWSA, they sought a federal amendment on women's suffrage, whereas NAWSA wanted state-by-state change). 75 The leader of NAWSA from 1900-1904 and again from 1915-1920. 76 A prominent Suffrage columnist in New York. Her column “Are Women People?' ran in the New York Tribune and was eventually published as a book. 75 approach politicians and the public in general. They were told to avoid biases found in specific States of the Union. When addressing politicians, they were told to disallow “'any and every state 'pull' of bias or thought.' Stressing the need for an objective outlook from every member of the committee to avoid charges of partisanship or sectional bias. . .”77 The focus was to be on the good of the nation, and all biases or state concerns must be left out. The women themselves must present their case calmly and steer free from emotion. In this way, NAWSA actively cultivated a certain type of suffragist.78 She was not the sentimental, lyrical suffragist of the last century. She was trained, unemotional and unbiased. She could speak in a language that politicians could understand and she knew the scientific facts of the matter. She was as objective as was possible. And she demanded a certain level of objectivity from her audience. Just as she would not become emotional or biased, she would not allow State biases to cloud committee discussions. She used the rhetoric of objectivity to criticize her opponents for being irrational, sentimental, inconsistent and subjective in their arguments. Just as with Clough, NAWSA relied on the tools of objectivity to motivate their case. They claimed to stand on the side of objective truth and had statistics to back up these claims. They used the language of their oppressors to challenge the majority's claims and they grounded their own claims beyond the community borders, not in ethnocentrism, or in a value of revolution, but in empirical data. Objectivity and truth both fulfill a certain role, a role Rorty was concerned about. They serve to ground one's claims in something other than community 77 Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, 92. 78 Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, 59. 76 solidarity. Rorty (and Code) feared that in the hands of the majority this would be a powerful tool for oppression and marginalization. However, I find that in the hands of the minority, this is a powerful way to challenge majority opinion. I am concerned that Rorty's flat account of truth and his absent account of objectivity do not give minorities the kind of support they need in order to speak and to be heard. There is one final problem with accounts like Rorty's, Code's and to a lesser extent Harding's which I will examine before closing this chapter. This problem was raised by Louise Antony in her article “Quine as Feminist: The Radical Import of Naturalized Epistemology”. Antony questions the correctness of the view of objectivity as value-free or value-neutral as identified by Rorty, Harding and Code. In sum, Antony argues that mainstream epistemology does not conceive of objectivity in these terms. Antony charges Code in particular and other feminist epistemologists with making a “caricature of contemporary analytic epistemology.”79 I will argue that this caricature of analytic epistemology led to Rorty and Code failing to recognize the historical context of objectivity, and identify it as a concept that is constantly changing. This is why I claim that Harding is less at fault here. Though I find elements of this caricature in Harding's work, Harding acknowledged and relied on objectivity's changing history in her argument that objectivity needed to be changed again. 2.5. Caricature and Change Antony's paper, “Quine as Feminist,” has two main aims. One is to “highlight the virtues, from a feminist point of view, of naturalized epistemology.”80 The other is to “confront head-on the charges that mainstream epistemology is irremediably 79 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 559. 80 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 554. 77 phallocentric. . .”81 Antony's first aim will be discussed briefly in Chapters Four and Six. What interests me most here, is her second aim which strikes directly at theories, like Code's, that claim that mainstream epistemic concepts like objectivity are inherently masculine. Antony highlights two basic ways that most feminist epistemology understands the concept of objectivity. One is in terms of impartiality, and the other is in terms of value-neutrality.82 Code does seem to understand objectivity in terms of impartiality and value-neutrality, as highlighted above, and Harding does talk of objectivity in terms of value-neutrality. Rorty invokes both these ideals in his discussion of the potentially distorting perceptions of subject in relation to the world. His identification of objectivity as a call to clean mirrors and faithfully represent nature seems to coincide with a need for impartiality and value-neutrality since it is often values that are thought to distort our perspectives on the world. But Antony argues that this characterization of objectivity in terms of impartiality and value-neutrality is in error. But not only is it not the case that contemporary analytic epistemology is committed to such a conception of objectivity, it was analytic epistemology that was largely responsible for initiating the critique of the empiricist notions Code is attacking. Quine, Goodman, Hempel, Putnam, Boyd, and others within the analytic tradition have all argued that a certain received conception of objectivity is untenable as an ideal of epistemic practice.83 Antony argues that mainstream epistemology itself recognized the problem with an account of objectivity in terms of value-neutrality and impartiality before feminist 81 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 554. 82 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 555. 83 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 555. 78 epistemologists criticized this account of objectivity. This doesn't mean that the account should not be criticized, but it does mean that mainstream epistemology is more flexible than either Rorty or Code seems to allow. Harding, at times, appears to want to work within mainstream epistemology, and so can be seen as recognizing and trying to direct this flexibility. In sum, mainstream epistemology has altered its conceptualization of the term 'objectivity'. It is no longer solely thought of in terms of value-neutrality, or impartiality. Antony claims that mainstream epistemology recognized not only that objectivity was not attainable, but also that it was not desirable when conceived of as value-neutral. Thus, the two strategies employed by those who question objectivity outlined by Antony above are strategies already employed by those in mainstream epistemology. [L]et me summarize what I take to be the real lessons of the modern period— lessons that, I've argued, have been missed by many feminist critiques of 'traditional' epistemology. First, there is the essentially rationalist insight that perfect objectivity is not only impossible but undesirable, that certain kinds of 'bias' or 'partiality' are necessary to make our epistemic tasks tractable. Second, there is Hume's realization that externalism won't work, that we can never manage to offer a justification of epistemic norms without somehow presupposing the very norms we wish to justify. See this, if you will, as the beginning of the postmodern recognition that theory always proceeds from an 'embedded' location, that there is no transcendent spot from which we can inspect our own theorizing.84 Antony argues that mainstream epistemology has a history itself, and that this history 84 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 563. 79 has largely been simplified or ignored by critics of mainstream epistemology, specifically feminist critics. By paying attention to the history, Antony is able to show that mainstream epistemology, in many areas, is in agreement with its critics, not opposed to them. In part, what Antony says here sounds like Rorty. The appeal to postmodernism and the argument that there is no spot beyond our own embedded location from which to judge sounds like Rorty's own theory regarding the need for community solidarity. Yet this theory comes straight out of 'mainstream' epistemology, the type of philosophy Rorty was engaged in criticizing. There is also one significant difference between Antony and Rorty. While Antony does agree that there is no 'transcendent spot' to ground one's beliefs in, she does not follow Rorty in endorsing solidarity. She, instead, argues for a need for the very gap between knowledge and the world that Rorty in particular was arguing against. While Rorty endorses ethnocentrism and Code endorses relativism, Antony claims that without the correspondence theory of truth, feminist epistemologists, and others who wish to challenge mainstream beliefs, cannot do so in any robust sense. In particular, this is why Antony is drawn to Naturalized Epistemology as a possible solution to avoiding endorsing relativism. She argues that it allows “a conceptual gap between epistemology and metaphysics, between the world as we see it and the world as it is.”85 Antony, unlike Rorty, finds this gap to be necessary if holders of minority views are to gain any ground. Without appealing to at least this minimally realist notion of truth, I see no way to even state the distinction we ultimately must articulate and defend. Quine [sic. Quite?] simply, an adequate solution to the paradox must enable us to 85 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 556. 80 say the following: What makes the good bias good is that it facilitates the search for truth, and what makes the bad bias bad is that it impedes it.86 Antony, in a position which seems to agree with my own analysis of Clough, argues that those who hold minority views cannot endorse relativism because they wish to label mainstream biases as bad, while maintaining their own biases as good. Thus, there must be some way to differentiate between, say, feminist values and non- feminist values. This need not be an ahistorical transcendent fixed position. Indeed, given the areas of mainstream epistemology Antony is appealing to, it likely cannot be. But nor can it merely be community solidarity without resulting in an endorsement of ethnocentrism which, as seen above, is unhelpful to minority views. Instead, Antony, like Harding, argues for a change to the epistemic concepts in question. We can keep objectivity and truth, but we will have to change how we understand these terms. “A radical critique of science and society, even if it implicates certain ideals, does not require repudiation of those ideals.”87 Antony argues that we can critique the ideals of objectivity and truth, but we must recognize that these ideals have a history. These ideals have been questioned and critiqued before. We must be mindful of this history, and recognize that critiquing an ideal in its current form doesn't preclude us from reconceptualizing the ideal. Both Antony and Harding call for a reconceptualization of objectivity. Though Harding does seem to fall into the trap of caricaturing objectivity somewhat in terms of value-neutrality, both Antony and Harding, by recognizing that objectivity has a history, and a changing one, are able to see that the concept could be changed again. Rorty, because he failed to see 86 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 556. It seems that, though the text does say “Quine,” this must be a misprint of “Quite”. 87 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 572. 81 objectivity as an ever-changing concept with a rich history, and instead saw it as a static ideal, could see no solution to the problems with the concept other than removing the concept entirely. Code, because she not only saw objectivity as a static ideal but as a static ideal which grew out of a relatively static standpoint, could not see that mainstream epistemologists themselves have changing contexts, changing perspectives, and that what was an acceptable concept for the community at one time was not for the community at another. In general, the criticisms brought against objectivity from within mainstream epistemology are strikingly similar to those Code brings against the term. Antony argues that “labeling an entire tradition as overly masculine, or 'phallocentric' also attacks . . . the feminist credentials of those who work within the analytic tradition.”88 She also finds this stereotyping unhelpful as it allows feminist epistemologists to too easily dismiss “fruitful philosophical work, limiting [their] collective capacity to imagine genuinely novel and transformative philosophical strategies.”89 I claim, based on Antony's argument, that viewing one's opponent in an ahistorical, static way not only does a disservice to them but, even more striking, limits the strength of one's own argument. Rorty and Code, by viewing mainstream epistemology in a static and ahistorical fashion, were unable to avail themselves of the possibility that Harding and Antony have recognized. This possibility is the possibility of reconceptualizing epistemic concepts, like the concept of objectivity. 2.6. Conclusion In this chapter I have outlined the problems with, and objections to, objectivity 88 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 578. 89 Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 578. 82 as an epistemic concept. Largely, as Antony pointed out, these problems fall into two broad categories. On the one hand, objectivity as value-neutral or impartial is unattainable. On the other hand, objectivity as value-neutral or impartial is undesirable. It is thought to be undesirable for two reasons, the first identified by Antony, and the second by myself; 1) some biases and values are desirable and necessary for the construction of knowledge, and 2) objectivity itself is inherently oppressive and undesirable. In detailing Rorty's account of the dangers of objectivity I have uncovered some troubling aspects of Rorty's proposed alternative to the concept. I have argued that, because of its dependency on community solidarity, and ethnocentrism, Rorty's account has the potential to be at least as oppressive as objectivity, if not more so. I have argued that this is part of the reason that some Rortarian Pragmatists like Clough have been unwilling to endorse Rorty's argument for the removal of objectivity as an epistemic concept. Using work from Antony, I have argued that Rorty, Code and to a lesser extent, Harding, have presented a flawed account of the received view of objectivity in mainstream epistemology. I agree with Antony and Harding that, if one pays attention to the history of the ideal, one sees that the ideal has been reconceptualized many times in the past. Harding suggests that the argument made by Rorty and tacitly endorsed by Code for objectivity's removal is one that is difficult and may be unfeasible, given that objectivity is such a part of our epistemic discourse. However, by recognizing the history and malleability of the concept, it may be possible to reconceptualize objectivity without removing it. Harding and Antony endorse this 83 move. Harding suggests that the reason this needs to be done is simply because objectivity likely cannot be removed easily from epistemic discourse, so she suggests working with the language we already use. I think a stronger defense of objectivity is needed and can be provided. While I agree that objectivity needs to be reconceptualized, I will argue that there are good reasons to endorse this epistemic ideal, regardless of whether we could enact Rorty's proposed alternative, or another, less problematic alternative. Objectivity isn't just an ideal we must accept because we cannot get rid of it, or because Rorty's alternative is no better. In the chapters that follow I will demonstrate that objectivity itself is valuable. However, before I illustrate the value of objectivity, I must be clear about how I will understand the concept. There are many ways on offer, as I noted in Chapter One. I could understand the term using Douglas's eight categories, or Lloyd's four. However, as already indicated, I will take an historical view of objectivity. This allows me to follow Harding and Antony in advocating for a reconceptualization. It will also allow me to challenge Harding's assertion that the constant in objectivity is value- neutrality. Rather, I propose that a more fruitful link has been found between objectivity and subjectivity. Examining this link will be the focus of the next chapter. 84 Chapter 3: Making Up Knowers 3.1. Introduction I have two main goals in this chapter. First, I will examine the history of objectivity in order to establish subjectivity as a constant in the concept of objectivity, historically understood. I will argue that objectivity has not always been seen as value-neutral, in contrast to Sandra Harding's claim, but has always been paired with subjectivity. Using work by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, I will demonstrate that objectivity as a concept has been understood in many different ways throughout history. I will argue that there is one way in which all conceptions of objectivity can be valuable: the extent to which they tend to create beneficial categories of personhood. Second, using the history of objectivity I will examine the relationship between objectivity and the epistemic subject, and argue that changing conceptions of objectivity serve to make up different categories of knowers. The argument that objectivity tends to create beneficial categories of personhood will occupy the next three chapters of this dissertation. This chapter will lay the foundation for the demonstrations of the benefit of these categories of personhood to follow. In this chapter, I will demonstrate that objectivity does create categories of personhood. Using work by Ian Hacking, I will show that epistemic communities that hold objectivity as an ideal create categories of personhood for individuals belonging to those communities. To put it more simply, people who want to be knowers must strive to occupy the category of epistemic subject prescribed by the community they belong to, or must strive to change the category by reconceptualizing the concept of objectivity. Trying to occupy this category involves adopting certain ethical and 85 epistemic norms. By examining these norms in the next two chapters, I will demonstrate that this category of personhood has at times been an ethical and epistemic benefit for these communities. But first, I must establish that objectivity has the power to create these categories. In order to establish this relationship between objectivity and categories of personhood, I need to demonstrate that objectivity is related to a concept of the epistemic subject. It is the objective/subjective distinction to which I turn now. I will first examine the way Rorty's supporter, Clough, viewed this distinction. Then I will turn to a quick discussion of Thomas Nagel's view of the distinction. By doing this I will demonstrate that there are philosophers concerned with, and focusing on the objective/subjective distinction. After gaining some idea of how the distinction is thought to work, I will move on to examine the history of objectivity as given by Daston and Galison. I will show that objectivity has been understood in many different ways in the past, and continues to change based on changing concerns with the epistemic subject. What remains constant through all these changes is not a commitment to value-freedom, or value-neutrality, but a distinction between the objective and the subjective. Using work by Ian Hacking, I will argue that this constant distinction between the objective and the subject in all epistemic accounts of objectivity prescribes certain behaviours and attitudes for epistemic subjects to strive to achieve if they are to overcome their own subjectivity and attempt to gain objectivity. That is, objectivity creates possibilities of personhood. I will end this chapter with a short example of this creation of epistemic subjects (an example I will expand on in Chapter Four), demonstrating that this is not merely a theory with 86 regards to objectivity, but that one can see this theory in practice. 3.2. The Objective/Subjective Distinction Lorraine Daston, who will be discussed in more detail below, tells us that throughout the history of objectivity as an epistemic concept, objectivity has always opposed subjectivity. As will be shown, objectivity has not always been conceived of as value-neutral, or impartial, but it has always been seen in opposition to, and as overcoming of the (merely) subjective. For example, objective knowledge overcomes and contrasts with subjective opinion; objective decisions are made without reference to subjective personal interests; objective processes regulate and remove individual subjective biases. There is a distinction between the objective we strive for and the subjective we strive to overcome. This is a distinction that Thomas Nagel used as the foundation for much of his philosophical reasoning. It is this distinction that Clough has found to be problematic, and Rorty has found to be dangerous and unhelpful. This distinction between the objective and the subjective, according to Clough, has required a correspondence view of truth, where the individual epistemic subject is blocking her own path from the epistemic to the metaphysical. Rorty argues even more firmly that one simply cannot have a concept of an objective/subjective distinction without a metaphysical realist picture of the world and an epistemology where the mind is conceived of as struggling to overcome its limits in an effort to come into contact with the world. Rorty's arguments with regards to objectivity have been covered in detail in the last chapter, but Clough's have not. I will take a moment to detail why Clough is opposed to the traditional account of objectivity in terms of value-neutrality and impartiality (remember that Antony has already questioned the 87 validity of the concept of this account, but that will be left aside in the discussion that follows). Clough argues that this distinction between the objective and the subjective is unhelpful in its traditional form because it invites the skeptic. The invitation to the skeptic as extended by the concept of objectivity is a position that Thomas Nagel would agree with. In his book The View From Nowhere Nagel argues that “[o]bjectivity and skepticism are closely related: both develop from the idea that there is a real world in which we are contained, and appearances result from our interaction with the rest of it.”1 Nagel goes on to argue that in order to see this real world, we must keep trying to step beyond ourselves, or out of our own subjectivity. But of course, we are ourselves, and so cannot step beyond our subjectivity. Thus, the quest for objectivity involves acknowledging that there is a gap between the way things are and the way they appear to us, trapped in our subjective selves.2 Clough, in a similar move, claims that epistemology, on this 'traditional' model where the epistemic subject who endorses objectivity aims to cross a bridge that surmounts the gap between the merely subjective and the real world, or step beyond her subject self, is a representationalist model, where the epistemic subject aims to represent the 'real' world correctly. This representationalism results in an invitation to the skeptic. She, like Nagel, argues that admitting that there is a way the world is independent from our beliefs about it and that we ourselves are getting in our own way, undermines our own beliefs, including feminist beliefs. We could all be in error. Clough argues that in so doing, this metaphysical stance undermines the feminist position, since the question 1 Thomas, Nagel, The View From Nowhere (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 67. 2 Nagel, The View From Nowhere, 67-68. 88 naturally arises whether the feminist who is critiquing the 'traditional' model can herself claim to be accurately representing the world. I argue that the skepticism invited by the representationalist model can never be answered from within. Once engaged in epistemology, one invites a never- ending struggle with an omnipotent foe. I show that despite feminist criticism of traditional epistemology, important goals of feminist science studies are best met not by addressing (unanswerable) epistemological problems but by focusing back on local empirical research.3 This is where Clough's arguments diverge from Nagel's. While Nagel sees the skeptic as a necessary but unfortunate result, Clough argues that skepticism can be avoided. She claims that entering epistemic debates invites skeptical charges that ultimately undermine the feminist claims themselves. The only way to win is to refuse to play. In particular, Clough seems to view the problem not to be, strictly speaking, with epistemology itself, but with the way what she calls traditional epistemology causes us to conceive of a divide between ourselves and the world. If there is such an epistemology, then there must be a metaphysics. This posits a gap. There is a gap between what we believe, or know, and the way the world is. The idea that there are beliefs that we may have that are not true seems uncontroversially correct. But the gap that Clough thinks the traditional account of objectivity posits is of a slightly different kind. In this gap, the problem is not merely sloppy investigation, or misinterpretation of evidence, but that our minds are inherently distorting, our subjective selves are getting in our way and our task is to step beyond ourselves and make our minds correctly represent nature as much as possible. Clough claims that 3 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 5. 89 this account is untenable and the view of objectivity as helping us leap over the gap is wrong-headed. What we need, rather, is a way to avoid the concept of this type of gap entirely. In her positive account of epistemology, there may be false beliefs and values, but they can be discovered, since our beliefs and values are supported by empirical evidence. Those that are not so supported are false.4 This was illustrated in Clough's example regarding 'man the hunter' and 'woman the gatherer' in the last chapter. According to Clough, the traditional concept of a gap between the knowing subject and the world works against the strength of feminist theories by inviting the skeptic. Clough claims that “I take the strength of most feminist writings on epistemology to be the suggestion that we should dismantle the entire traditional epistemological project, including both objectivism and relativism.”5 That is, we need to move away from seeing a divide between ourselves and the world, a gap between metaphysics and epistemology, that needs to be bridged. Only by moving away from this concept does Clough think that feminists can avoid the never-ending debate against the skeptic. Clough, then, opposes both Code's endorsement of relativism and Antony's endorsement of a correspondence theory of truth, as well as Nagel's resignation to the skeptic. She accepts that the type of gap Rorty identified is a problematic one. Though Clough sees moving beyond this traditional epistemology as the strength of feminist theories, she notes that feminist scientists and philosophers of science, despite their efforts to challenge the shape of the intellectual landscape, get 4 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 126. 5 Clough, “A Hasty Retreat From Evidence,” 88. 90 pulled back into debates over epistemology and defending their position against those who charge them with having a bias. By pointing out the biases of those she criticizes, the feminist leaves herself open to the same criticism. By challenging objectivism, she ends up endorsing a form of relativism, as Code did. Clough argues that this fails to get us free of the problem of the gap, thus leaving feminist theories open to the skeptic, who cannot be beaten. Clough argues that [t]he result, for feminists, and others critical of the tradition, is that unless we are fully distanced from our epistemological legacy, any moves critical of one end of the epistemology continuum (typically, objectivism) will involve an endorsement, however begrudging, of the other end (typically, relativism).6 Clough argues that the feminist scientist's project of challenging the supposed objective perspective of scientists leads to an endorsement of relativism for the feminist scientist herself. She points to the examples of Helen Longino, Evelyn Fox Keller and Sandra Harding to illustrate that this is so. However, none of these philosophers seem to take themselves as endorsing a form of relativism. Instead, they take themselves to be trying to revise the concept of objectivity, the same task that Clough identifies as the strength of feminist epistemology. Clough thinks that these proposed revisions by Longino, Keller and Harding do not move far enough away from the traditional account of objectivity, and so still run the risk of relativism.7 But it is important to note that this is not the intention of those philosophers she cites. They are not intentionally conceding to a form of relativism, though Clough thinks this is the end result. Clough sees traditional epistemology as cashed out in terms of an objective/subjective dichotomy. To endorse 6 Clough, “A Hasty Retreat From Evidence,” 89. 7 Clough, Sharyn. “A Hasty Retreat From Evidence,” 90. 91 a form of subjectivity is to follow Code into relativism. Instead, Clough advocates a dismantling of this dichotomy. Both Rorty and Clough wish to claim that, traditionally, objectivity is conceived of as an epistemic bridge to the metaphysical. Rorty argues that those with a commitment to objectivity have a commitment to stepping beyond the boundaries of their own communities and seeking something fundamental, or some foundation, on which to anchor their beliefs. This is not an uncommon account of the role of objectivity, though I have illustrated in the last chapter, relying on the work of Antony, that it is far from the only account of objectivity in the history of analytic epistemology. However, this account of the objective has been held by Thomas Nagel8, and has been thought to be held by Max Weber. 9. Though there are differences between these two thinkers on how objectivity is to be understood and what a commitment to objectivity entails, the general idea is the same. Very generally speaking, this picture of objectivity is that by occupying the objective perspective, by holding one's subjective biases and values at bay, or better yet removing them entirely, one will be able to correctly see the world, and gain truths. Nagel spends much of his 1986 book The View From Nowhere looking at this objective/subjective distinction that Clough is arguing against. Nagel argues that there are broadly two perspectives that an individual can take, the objective and the subjective. By taking one or the other perspective, an individual gains a very different sense of the world around him or her. The struggle, according to Nagel, is that we 8 Thomas Nagel, "The Absurd," The Journal of Philosophy 68, no. 20. (1971): Pp. 716-727. 9 There is some dispute over whether this was really Weber's view. However, it has been ascribed to him several times. For one such ascription, see Robert Proctor, Value-Free Science: Purity and Power in Modern Knowledge, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1991), 86, 134-154. 92 cannot hold both perspectives at once. He claims that we seek objectivity, but are continually pulled into our own subjective perspectives and continually find that we are standing in our own way when it comes that achieving objective knowledge. Ultimately, Nagel argues that the goal of objectivity requires not just a perfect mirroring of the external world, but a perfect understanding of ourselves, since we are the ones getting in our own way. Still, the fact that objective reality is our goal does not guarantee that our pursuit of it succeeds in being anything more than an exploration and reorganization of the insides of our own minds. 10 Nagel argues that our quest to be objective leads us to 'reorganize' ourselves. To put it plainly, seeking objectivity involves changing the kind of subjects we are. At the most basic level, this might merely be because we cannot ever be sure of bridging the gap Clough and Rorty are so worried about. So, as stated in the quotation above, all we can do is examine our own subjectivity, and attempt to work on those aspects of subjectivity found to be interfering. Or as Nagel puts it, to 'reorganize our minds'. Nagel claims that “self-understanding is at the heart of objectivity”.11 If objectivity is a tool to bridge a gap between ourselves and the world, and if we cannot know anything about the world, then it is only by relying on knowledge of ourselves that we are able to fine-tune our tool in an attempt to bridge that gap. There is no other knowledge to be had under this conception of objectivity. It is because of this insight about the relationship between objectivity and the subjective self that I disagree with Harding's assessment from the last chapter that 10 Nagel, The View From Nowhere, 77. 11 Nagel, The View From Nowhere, 78. I think this is true, but is incomplete. As I will demonstrate in this chapter, it is not only self-understanding, but self-creation that lies at the heart of objectivity. 93 the one thing that is constant in all conceptions of objectivity is value-neutrality. There is another, and I think far more likely candidate for a constant in the concept of objectivity, and that is its historical opposite, subjectivity. By looking at this quality the ideal of objectivity has to cause us to work upon ourselves, I think we will have a better sense of what it is that the ideal does for us, or to us, and whether the ideal is a beneficial one to have. I, then, resist Rorty's, Clough's and Nagel's assertion that the value in objectivity, insofar as there is any value to be found, is found in its ability to allow us to cross bridges, clean mirrors and step beyond our subjective selves in order to see the truth of the world. I resist the assessment that the only reason to find objectivity valuable is because of its tendency to lead to truth. Though Nagel does not emphasize the role of objectivity in self-creation—choosing to speak only of self- understanding—I find the concept of objectivity and its relationship to both self- understanding and self-creation to be a much more fruitful area than value-neutrality for the exploration of objectivity as a possibly beneficial ideal. If a gap is really assumed to exist between the epistemic and the metaphysical—and Nagel, Clough and Rorty each posit as the explanatory reason for the felt need for objectivity—then it is useless to ask if the ideal is allowing us to step over the gap. We will never know when we have stepped beyond the gap, or whether we are still getting in our own way. We have no perfectly objective perspective of the 'real' world to measure our own distorted perspectives against. We don't know what a successfully objective perspective will be. That is, if this is the goal of objectivity, we will never know whether objectivity is succeeding, and therefore will never know whether it is useful as an ideal or not. This hearkens back to Antony's identification of the first common way people criticize the ideal of objectivity: it is unattainable. I think that, under this conception of 94 the ideal, it is more than unattainable. We can not even know what successful attainment will look like. So, I propose examining the way objectivity relates to subjectivity, and to subjective selves, rather than examining the way objectivity might allow us to mirror the world. I will now turn to a quick examination of Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison's recent book chronicling the history of objectivity as a scientific ideal. Their historical survey supports my decision to examine objectivity in relation to subjectivity as their findings suggest that objectivity is constantly paired with subjectivity as its historical opposite. In giving their history of objectivity I will also highlight how these parings work, when the concept of objectivity has, as noted in the last chapter, gone through various conceptions. 3.3. Daston and Galison and the History of Objectivity Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison present an historical account of objectivity in their 2007 book Objectivity. In this book, objectivity is treated as an epistemic concept, but the focus is more narrow, mainly concerned with objectivity as a scientific concept. I, by contrast, am studying objectivity more broadly, as an epistemic concept in general. So, what Daston and Galison say about objectivity as a scientific concept will be a subset of my more general view, just a specific type of epistemic subject, aiming to gain knowledge through science rather than through other methods of investigation. Therefore, I will treat what Daston and Galison have to say about scientific subjects as broadly applying to epistemic subjects in general. Daston and Galison claim that objectivity became an important scientific commitment in the nineteenth century. Prior to the nineteenth century, then, scientists 95 were not as concerned with the concept of objectivity. The history of scientific objectivity is surprisingly short. It first emerged in the mid-nineteenth century, and in a matter of decades became established not only as a scientific norm but also as a set of practices. . .12 As Daston and Galison point out, this means that objectivity need not be associated with truth or with knowledge. It is actually younger than the concepts of truth or knowledge. Plato had a commitment to truth, but did not have a commitment to objectivity as a epistemic value. Though scientists were not very interested in objectivity prior to the nineteenth century, this doesn't mean it wasn't discussed at all. The earliest reported accounts of the use of objectivity were by the philosopher Duns Scotus and his student William of Ockham. Objectivity comes from Latin and was introduced into English by these two philosophers. From the very beginning, it was always paired with subjectivus/subjective, but the terms originally meant almost precisely the opposite of what they mean today. 'Objective' referred to things as they are presented to consciousness, whereas 'subjective' referred to things in themselves.13 Objectivity, then, used to refer to what we commonly think of as the domain of the subjective. The term used to refer to one's consciousness, the way things appeared to an individual. By contrast, the subjective used to refer to what we commonly think of as objective today, the real world, the way things really are. The term 'objective' referred to objects of thought, whereas the term subjective would refer to the object from the object's own point of view, an almost perfect switch from the common usage 12 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 27. 13 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 29. 96 today. What has been maintained is not what the concepts refer to, but the polarity in the concepts. One is understood in opposition to the other. Daston and Galison credit Kant, at the start of the eighteenth century, with reintroducing objectivity and subjectivity to the epistemic and scientific discourse. But again, as in the case of Scotus and Ockham, the understandings of the terms were not what they commonly are now. In Kant's work the objective was applied to the universal, and subjective to the particular. “For Kant, the line between the objective and the subjective generally runs between universal and particular, not between world and mind.”14 The one thing that Kant's use of the terms and our own use had in common was that the term subjective had negative connotations attached to it, but it wasn't until about 1850 that the terms took on a more modern sense.15 So, in medieval philosophy, there was no link between objectivity and the truth of the external world, nor was there any link between objectivity and value-neutrality or impartiality. Rather, it was the subjective that presented the truth of the external world, while the objective referred to our apprehensions of these truths in our consciousnesses. Ockham and Scotus's use of the term to imply things as they present themselves to the observer rather than things as they are in themselves suggests that the term need not refer to an attempt to be a clear reflection of nature. This supports Antony's argument that the traditional or mainstream account of objectivity is not the only account possible and has not been the only account in existence. The account of objectivity that Rorty, Clough and Code, among others, object to is only one particular conception of objectivity. Even in our more recent past, objectivity was not necessarily connected with a metaphysical realist account of the 14 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 29. 15 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 30. 97 external world, as the traditional account would have it. In summary, the uses of objectivity and subjectivity are malleable, and change in different eras. The one thing that doesn't appear to change about objectivity according to Daston and Galison's research is that it is always paired with its opposite, the subjective. Daston and Galison claim that the modern sense of objectivity appeared when scientists began to worry about a new and different kind of obstacle to knowledge— the scientific subjects themselves: “Their fear was that the subjective self was prone to prettify, idealize, and, in the worst case, regularize observations as to fit theoretical expectations: to see what it hoped to see.”16 The fear is that scientists would bias their own experiments because they would alter the results to fit their own expectations about the sort of world we live in—a regular, symmetrical, harmonious and beautiful one. Their subjective desires and values would alter how they interpreted the data, or even how they collected the data. Here, in the middle of the nineteenth century, the idea of values as harmful to objective knowledge emerged. So, the constant that Harding identifies as a constant in the concept of objectivity is a relatively recent concern. Value-neutrality, or value-freedom, only came to be part of the ideal of objectivity with the rise over the concern of the knowing self. In effect, the barrier to knowledge might be the willful self. Without meaning to, scientists might be getting in their own way, because of the desires and assumptions about the world that are motivating their will. If objectivity was summoned into existence to negate subjectivity, then the emergence of objectivity must tally with the emergence of a certain kind of willful self, one perceived as endangering scientific knowledge. The history of 16 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 34. 98 objectivity becomes, ipso facto, part of the history of the self.17 So, in order to properly understand objectivity, special care must be taken to examine the scientific subject. In previous centuries, our understanding of the world may at times be imperfect, flawed and problematic. However, in the nineteenth century, the problem was not merely that our understanding was flawed, but that through our willful self, we were contributing to our flawed understanding of the world. The concept of the self in the nineteenth century was of a willful entity that was able to manipulate and interpret data to match expectation. It is in the nineteenth century that a history of objectivity is also a history of the self, or the subject. By examining where this connection with value-neutrality or value-freedom came from, and noticing the objective/subjective dichotomy, one is able to track the change in the relationship between objectivity and the knowing subject. This is one reason why I find it more enlightening to think of the constant in the concept of objectivity in terms of opposition to subjectivity rather than as value-neutrality. For one thing, value-neutrality is a relatively recent, though important, development in the concept of objectivity. It isn't obvious that Scotus or Ockham thought of objectivity in terms of value-neutrality. For another, the origins of the need for value-neutrality are found in a new conception of subjectivity. As subjectivity changes, so objectivity must change and this, in the nineteenth century, had an impact on the knowing subject. Daston and Galison show that the concern of nineteenth-century scientists was less about the community, and more about the individual. The goal of scientists around 1850 was to eliminate the risks inherent in their own subjectivity. In order to mitigate the dangerous influence of the willful self, epistemic subjects had to place 17 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 37. 99 themselves at the mercy of the scientific community and its prescriptions for objectivity. Only by internalizing the ideal of objectivity and the restraints on the self that come with this ideal, was the individual epistemic subject able to ensure that he was not influencing his observations through his will. 3.3.1. Truth-To-Nature to Mechanical Objectivity Prior to the importance of objectivity in general and what Daston and Galison label as 'mechanical' objectivity in particular, Daston and Galison claim that scientists were urged to find truth-to-nature. Daston and Galison's object of study is the atlas. Atlas makers found that, when observing the natural world, there are an endless number of variations to be found between members of the same species. The subject, the atlas-making scientist, was encouraged to exert their judgement in altering pictures in atlases so that they correctly represented the species in general and not a particular idiosyncrasy found in a particular individual of the species. The subject was actively involved in the images created for the atlases. They were more than individuals with an eye for detail, they were also analysts. They compared each individual member of a species they saw with the members that they had seen before. Where inconsistencies existed between individual samples of the same species, the scientist determined which individual was more representative of the ideal type for the species, or whether the ideal lay somewhere in between.18 The representation of the species that was shown in the atlas may not faithfully represent any one individual from the species, but was thought to represent the truth of the species. It was a truth-to-nature that aimed to see through all the variation to the true archetype for a given species. 18 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 58-59. 100 Only the keenest and most experienced observer—who had . . . inspected thousands of different specimens—was qualified to distinguish genuine species from mere varieties, to identify the true specific characteristics imprinted in the plant, and to separate accidental from essential features.19 The idea was to get a true representation of the species as a whole and not a distorted representation given by a particular individual. This type of epistemic subject aimed at the ideal of truth-to-nature. In this picture of the relationship between the epistemic subject and the world there is a gap, but it is not an inherent gap that necessarily exists between them. The gap results from a sloppy empiricism and an unrefined judgement that prevents some improperly trained people from being able to acquire and reproduce the correct representation of nature. With proper training and proceeding carefully, it is possible for a mind to be properly aligned with the world, and thus represent the truth of nature. But most minds are not like this. Still, there is nothing in this picture to preclude minds from being like this. The gap is not necessary and can be overcome, and is therefore not the invitation to the skeptic that Clough is so concerned about. The concern with truth-to-nature and the move to mechanical objectivity was motivated by the worry that scientists were altering their pictures and other data too much. In fact, the worry became that they weren't getting the truth at all, they were merely getting what they expected to find. Their own expectations were guiding their hands when they altered pictures. Daston and Galison provide a story of Arthur Worthington, a scientist illustrating water droplets for atlases. Worthington, at first, had no ideal of objectivity, and instead held an ideal of truth-to-nature. His job, as a 19 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 59. 101 trained scientist, was to see and depict the truth behind the individual idiosyncratic water droplets he saw. He believed the world to be ordered, and beautiful, as did others in the scientific community. After the introduction of photography into atlas making, Worthington realized that he had been drawing, and indeed as far as he could recall seeing, water droplets as perfect spheres. The camera, however, showed these water droplets not to be perfect spheres at all.20 The ideal of truth-to-nature was challenged, as were the background beliefs in a ordered, harmonious and symmetrical world that supported this ideal. This one example is illustrative of the rising fear of the biasing role the scientific subjects were playing in data collection. It signaled a move to mechanical objectivity as an epistemic ideal. Scientists enlisted self-registering cameras, wax molds, and a host of other devices in a near-fanatical effort to create images for atlases documenting birds, fossils, snowflakes, bacteria, human bodies, crystals and flowers—with the aim of freeing images from human interference.21 Scientists, in effect, employed machines to distance the epistemic subjects from the images produced. Because of this reliance on machines, this type of objectivity was labeled by Daston and Galison, 'mechanical objectivity'. Daston and Galison define mechanical objectivity in the following way: By mechanical objectivity we mean the insistent drive to repress the willful intervention of the artist-author, and to put in its stead a set of procedures that would, as it were, move nature to the page through a strict protocol, if not automatically.22 The goal of mechanical objectivity was, according to Daston and Galison to “[l]et 20 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 11-16. 21 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 121. 22 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 121. 102 nature speak for itself”23 rather than interpret and idealize natural specimens. Daston and Galison report that scientists knew that mechanical objectivity was a “regulative ideal.” It could not be perfectly attained in practice. Photos could be retouched. The lighting in which they were taken or the angle from which they were taken could alter how the specimen appeared. The image could be enhanced. But the idea was still to get as close as possible to a representation free from human interference, while recognizing that this was likely impossible. . . . . the machine stood for authenticity: it was at once observer and artist, free from the inner temptation to theorize, anthropomorphize, beautify, or interpret nature. What the human observer could achieve only by iron self-discipline, the machine effortlessly accomplished—such, at least, was the hope.24 The scientists' commitment to aspire to mechanical objectivity were expressed in the reliance on the machine, and the goal of creating a scientific subject that was as close to a machine in his or her observations as possible. Though these goals only came into effect in the mid-nineteenth century, “[b]y the late nineteenth century, mechanical objectivity. . . [was] a guiding if not the guiding ideal of scientific representation across a wide range of disciplines.”25 Mechanical objectivity, as a regulative ideal, took hold in the scientific community quickly. But accepting mechanical objectivity meant making a lot of changes and sacrifices for scientists. Much of the knowledge accumulated by fellow scientists over the past centuries had to be given up or at least called into question since it had not been gained using the proper perspective, that of a machine. Knowledge gained through truth-to-nature was suspect under the new commitment to 23 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 120. 24 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 139. 25 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 125. 103 mechanical objectivity.26 So, rather than contributing to knowledge, one of the first results of a commitment to objectivity was a significant loss of knowledge. Aiming for the ideal of objectivity was a never-ending task. I have already noted that Daston and Galison claim that scientists knew that a perfect objective perspective was unattainable. To demonstrate the tireless self-examination that was the life of a scientist committed to objectivity I will reproduce a quote from Ernst Haeckel that Daston and Galison give. I am now among the oldest professors of medicine; I have been teaching my science for more than thirty years, and I may say that in these thirty years I have honestly worked on myself, to do away with ever more of my subjective being [dem subjectiven Wesen]. Nonetheless, I must openly confess that it has not been possible for me to desubjectivize myself entirely. With each year, I recognize yet again that in those places where I thought myself wholly objective I have still held onto a large element of subjective views [subjective Vorstellungen].27 The commitment to objectivity was an endless task for the scientific subject. He kept discovering things about himself that might be clouding his judgement, influencing his perspective and in general preventing him from operating as a machine. He needed to maintain constant vigilance but not of the observable world. Rather, he needed to exercise vigilance on the observer. As Thomas Nagel stated, self-knowledge was at the heart of a commitment to objectivity. The scientist observed himself, studied himself, in order to police himself. Not only was a commitment to objectivity an endless task, and one that 26 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 161. 27 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 189. Square brackets present in Daston and Galison. 104 necessitated giving up the knowledge-claims held by previous scientists, it was also often at odds with the much older goal of truth. Truth-to-nature, as outlined above, was the scientific practice committed to the ideal of truth. Mechanical objectivity, by contrast, held objectivity as an ideal. Scientists committed to the ideal of mechanical objectivity would allow photographs that were out of focus, smudged, or of extremely a-typical specimens to stand rather than retouching them or redoing them and risking the contamination of individual subjective biases.28 So, as early as its very inception, those committed to the ideal of objectivity knew that this commitment did not necessarily yield truth. In many cases, it did not yield truth at all, metaphysically understood: “Objectivity was a different, and distinctly epistemological, goal—in contrast to the metaphysical aim of truth.”29 Objectivity, then, according to Daston and Galison, not only had little or nothing in common with the value of a metaphysical truth, it also was explicitly not a metaphysical claim. One could hold the value of objectivity without holding any belief with regards to the nature of reality. Of course, accuracy was still important. But the nature of what it meant to be accurate had changed. Accuracy was no longer understood in terms of finding a representative member of a species to be an ideal image for the species as a whole. Thus, while still striving for accuracy, individuals might allow pictures they knew to be inaccurate (because of smudges, discolourations, etc.) to be included in atlases rather than risk a distortion from the willful self seeking order and beauty. Objectivity was more than an epistemic ideal for the scientists of the nineteenth century, it was also an ethical ideal. “Although mechanical objectivity was in the service of gaining a right depiction of nature, its primary allegiance was to a morality 28 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 195. 29 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 210. 105 of self-restraint. . .”30 The ethics and epistemology of objectivity were intertwined. The goal of gaining knowledge was tied up with the morality of a form of asceticism, whereby individuals restrained themselves in order to attain their goal. Daston and Galison maintain that objectivity was an ethical commitment. Epistemology and ethics were bound together in the ideal of objectivity which promised the epistemic goal of a 'right depiction of nature,' if not a true one, metaphysically speaking, and necessitated the practice of rigorous self-examination and self-restraint. Though this is just a small part of the history of objectivity as given in their 2007 book, this is enough to illustrate the type of history that Daston and Galison tell of objectivity. Objectivity has meant many different things in the past. It has not always been connected with a metaphysical commitment to truth (in some cases adopting an ideal of objectivity results in allowing distorted images to stand, even though they were acknowledged to not represent the species. This seems to be working against truth and knowledge, not for it). It has not always been concerned with value-freedom or value-neutrality (in its earliest inceptions, objectivity referred to our perceptions of the world, not the way the world was in itself, and thus it follows that it also referred to any value-ladenness found in those perceptions). Rather than being inherently tied to metaphysical truth or value-neutrality, Daston and Galison's story illustrates that objectivity has historically been tied to subjectivity. In the nineteenth century, through this connection to subjectivity, it came to be linked to worries over the self. In Daston and Galison's case, the worries have been over the scientific self. Even in early medieval accounts of objectivity, it was placed in opposition to subjectivity. And Daston and Galison note early on in their book that the story of objectivity in relation 30 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 185. 106 to the scientific self is just a subset of a larger story. “Yet even though our quarry is the species, we cannot ignore the genus: however distinctive, the scientific self was nonetheless part of a larger history of the self.”31 It is that larger story that I will turn to in the next section, but before I do, I want to examine two more types of objectivity, both of which will be important to my own account of the benefits of objectivity. Lorraine Daston identified one conception of objectivity held as an ideal in the scientific community, a type that was imported from philosophical morality, aperspectival objectivity. Max Weber is often credited with popularizing the idea of value-free objectivity, a conception of objectivity that is often the first one people assume when one claims to be an objective individual. It is these two types of objectivity that I turn to now. 3.3.2. Aperspectival Objectivity Daston discusses the term 'aperspectival objectivity' in her 1992 article “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective.” She argues that aperspectival objectivity dominates current usage and understanding of the term 'objectivity'. She points to Thomas Nagel's “brilliant oxymoron 'view from nowhere'” as an excellent metaphorical understanding of the term aperspectival.32 This type of objectivity is not mentioned in her and Galison's larger book on objectivity, but Daston claims that it is distinct from mechanical objectivity. Whereas. . . mechanical objectivity is about suppressing the universal human propensity to judge and to aestheticize, aperspectival objectivity is about eliminating individual (or occasionally group, as in the case of national styles 31 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 37. 32 Lorraine Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective” Social Studies of Science 22, no. 597. (1992): 599. 107 or anthropomorphism) idiosyncrasies.33 So aperspectival objectivity is also about eliminating problems of the individual, but not the same problems as mechanical objectivity. They are, then, two distinct senses of the term 'objectivity,' referring to two distinct senses of what is problematic about the subject. Aperspectival objectivity aims at what we can all agree on, whereas mechanical objectivity aims as what is left over once our biases and willful subjective influences are removed. The two may be related. It may be that what we can all agree on also happens to be what is the case once the willful subject is removed. But, if we all adopt ideals in accord with truth-to-nature, it seems we may all agree and all be similarly willful (seeking a beautiful and ordered nature, for example). Thus aperspectival objectivity may not insist on value-neutrality. While there may be overlaps, the aims of these two types of objectivity are different. Aperspectival aims at overcoming individual idiosyncrasies in order to facilitate collaboration and communication. Mechanical objectivity aims at overcoming preconceived notions of what nature is like in order to allow nature to speak for itself. There is some indication that there may be some relation between mechanical objectivity and aperspectival objectivity. Daston, in this article, claims that “the values of aperspectival objectivity left visible traces in the conduct of scientists, in their ever stronger preferences for mechanized observation and methods,”34 thus providing an insight into the potential link between mechanical objectivity and aperspectival objectivity. The reliance on machines might be linked to the attempted removal of individual idiosyncrasies. Emulating a machine, one of the goals of an epistemic subject who subscribes to mechanical objectivity, may also be one of the goals of an 33 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 599. 34 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 614. 108 epistemic subject who subscribes to aperspectival objectivity. But there is another difference between mechanical and aperspectival objectivity. Daston argues that “aperspectival objectivity first made its appearance, not in the natural sciences, but rather in the moral and aesthetic philosophy of the latter half of the eighteenth century.”35 At this time, the scientific community was marked by the value of truth-to-nature, and did not have an ideal of objectivity at all. Only in the middle decades of the nineteenth century was aperspectival objectivity imported and naturalized into the ethos of the natural sciences, as a result of a reorganization of scientific life that multiplied professional contacts at every level, from the international commission to well-staffed laboratory. Aperspectival objectivity became a scientific value when science came to consist in large part of communications that crossed boundaries of nationality, training and skill. Indeed, the essence of aperspectival objectivity is communicability, narrowing the range of genuine knowledge to coincide with that of public knowledge. In the extreme case, aperspectival objectivity may even sacrifice deeper or more accurate knowledge to the demands of communicability.36 As the scientific community grew, and it became more important to communicate to a larger and larger number of people, individual idiosyncrasies began to hamper effective communication. It was necessary to eliminate these idiosyncrasies. Aperspectival objectivity, then, carried a moral commitment to the community and to facilitation of communication. “Subjectivity became synonymous with the individual and solitude; objectivity, with the collective and conviviality.”37 Subjectivity 35 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 600. 36 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 600. 37 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 609. 109 was still bad here, still something to be avoided, but the reason it was to be avoided was because it did not allow for communication and did not help the collective. What was problematic about the subject, and what helped fuel the adoption of aperspectival objectivity, was a concern with communicability, not, as in the case of mechanical objectivity, a concern with the subjective tendency to idealization. When comparing aperspectival objectivity to mechanical objectivity, it becomes clear that different problems with the subject are highlighted and combated by these different accounts of objectivity. One might think that aperspectival and mechanical objectivity are related. This suggestion is unsurprising. Both accounts are accounts of objectivity, and so we would expect to find that they are somewhat related. However, Daston's account of aperspectival objectivity is distinct from Daston and Galison's account of mechanical objectivity. They each highlight different problems with the scientific subject and posit different ways to combat these problems. While both types of objectivity seem to lead to scientists' favouring the machine over their own observations, each type of objectivity has its own specific history and specific metaphors and each classifies the problematic subject in a slightly different way. One metaphorical way to think of this is to think of the camera as representative of mechanical objectivity. Aperspectival objectivity is better represented by the thermometer or the clock; basic instruments of measurement that we all can agree upon. Finally, neither account promises to deliver a knowledge of the metaphysical truth of the external world. Neither claims to polish our mirrors to reflect clearly, or build a bridge over the gap between us and the world. Mechanical objectivity is closer to these promises than aperspectival. On first glance, mechanical objectivity does 110 seem to promise to polish the subjective mirror so that it can reflect the world accurately, without idealization. But upon closer reflection, one recognizes that even in mechanical objectivity, accuracy where representations of the world are concerned is far from guaranteed. Or, rather, the sort of accuracy promised with regards to mechanical objectivity is one that works against the ideals of truth-to-nature, such that flawed photographs were left as representations of the world. All that is hoped for is that the influence from the individual subject is mitigated as far as is possible. The observations may still be flawed, and may even be flawed in ways that have nothing to do with the individual subject, as in the case of an observation of a non-typical member of a species. With aperspectival objectivity, the concern is about bridging gaps between communities of individuals, not bridging gaps between the individual and the world. Thus neither account of objectivity is one that can be conceptualized in terms of crossing bridges or cleaning mirrors in order to see or arrive at the metaphysical truth. Both accounts have been influential in past conceptions of objectivity. Daston makes the case that aperspectival objectivity is one of the most common conceptions of objectivity. Yet neither account conforms to the conception of objectivity that Rorty, Clough, Code and to a lesser degree Harding offer. Neither account of objectivity can be seen as beneficial for its promise to bridge the gap between us and metaphysical truth. Rather, what both accounts have in common is a commitment to move past the merely subjective, but not necessarily in a way that guarantees truth in any metaphysical sense. So, Daston and Galison's history of objectivity supports the arguments given by Antony in the last chapter. Objectivity is not best understood as a static ideal needed in order to overcome a metaphysical gap. This is one conception of the concept of objectivity, but it is not the only 111 conception, and not even the most prevalent conception in all eras. 3.3.3. Max Weber and Value-Freedom Though Daston claims that aperspectival objectivity is the dominant form of objectivity currently, there is another form that is commonly discussed. This is a form often credited to Max Weber, and it is objectivity in terms of value-freedom, or value- neutrality. In his 1991 book, Value-Free Knowledge, Robert Proctor traces the rise of the importance of value-freedom in scientific investigation. Proctor credits this idea of value-free knowledge as having first been expressed by Max Weber in 1918.38 There is some indication that value-freedom is conceptually connected to mechanical objectivity. Max Weber claimed in his essay Science as Vocation, that the role of the scientist in society was to have a commitment to value-freedom.39 One might see this as an endorsement of mechanical objectivity insofar as the subject who aimed to be value-free might go about doing this by aiming to be characterized in terms of a machine. He or she must hold a commitment to examining the object of study with a detached perspective, free of values. Values might lead the individual to interpret the evidence differently, or alter the picture so as to favorably represent what the scientist expected to find. All such urges were to be resisted. The scientist must have an iron will directed at his own self, keeping his values, desires and beliefs in check, and observing the world in the manner of a machine, with no values or desires. 38 Proctor, Value-Free Science, 134-154. 39 Max Weber, Max Weber; Essays in Sociology trans. H.H. Gerth and C.W. Mills. (New York: Oxford University Press,1946). As mentioned earlier, there is some question as to whether this value-free epistemic subject is the right way to interpret Weber. For the purposes of this dissertation, it matters less whether or not this is what Weber intended, and more that this is a familiar account of the role of scientists in particular, and epistemic subjects in general. It is commonly ascribed to Weber, whether he intended this or not. 112 However, one might also characterize value-freedom in terms of aperspectival objectivity insofar as the subject who aimed to be value-free went about doing this by aiming to remove all values and biases that were individual idiosyncrasies. Insofar as the values held by an individual were not shared by his or her interlocutors, they needed to be removed from discourse. The individuals must remove themselves— their values, their beliefs, their mannerisms—from their communication as much as possible and speak in a manner that was neutral and could be understood by all. Value-freedom as espoused by Max Weber in 1918 could be likened to both mechanical and aperspectival objectivity, and yet imperfectly to both. For mechanical objectivity seems to require more than simply the removal of values, it also requires the removal of any trace of humanity, prior assumptions, prior beliefs, be they value- laden or not. The not-obviously value-laden belief that a smudge on a photograph caused by a fingerprint on the camera lens was distorting the image could not be acted upon. For aperspectival objectivity, not all values needed to be removed. Values held in common with one's interlocutors were acceptable, since they would be recognized and understood and would not function as barriers to discourse. So, for both accounts of objectivity already examined, while value-free objectivity shares features in common, it is not equivalent to either, requiring more than aperspectival objectivity does of the epistemic subject and less than mechanical objectivity does. Another important difference of the commitment to value-freedom in Weber's book, Science as Vocation was that the reasons for this commitment were social. Scientists revealed facts, many of these facts threatened or undermined dogmatically held values. Thus, a commitment to value-freedom gave a firm basis for the discovery and acceptance of these facts on the part of scientists, and gave their revelation of these 113 facts to the general public some credence. While the public may want to resist the claims being made by scientists, they could not do so on the basis of any distrust of the scientists' values or motives.40 Scientists are not to be dictators, that is not part of the vocation of science. As such, they must simply deliver facts, and the public decides what is to be done with these facts. It might be a surprising conclusion that these three accounts of objectivity, mechanical, aperspectival, and value-free, are somewhat related, and yet also distinct. But Daston and Galison remind us that not only does objectivity change, it also has a layering effect.41 New accounts of objectivity do not displace old accounts, meaning that the longer objectivity exists, the more it changes, the more conceptions are potentially packed into that single term. Thus, one would expect to find similarities between the different conceptions of objectivity. First, each conception has a history and is somehow related to other conceptions that predate and postdate it, making up one link in a chain of conceptions. Second, the term itself retains old understandings in community discourse even as it acquires new ones. Daston and Galison have argued that the historical opposite of the objective is the subjective. And yet, while they remain opposed, these terms can drastically change their meaning. Not only do they change the way they are understood, but these conceptions are layered in the concept, such that the concept can refer to many other different conceptions. What needs to be examined carefully now is what type of subjectivity is being opposed by each conception of objectivity. As Daston notes, The various kinds of objectivity might be classified by the different subjectivity they oppose. By the mid-nineteenth century . . . mechanical objectivity 40 Weber, Max, Max Weber; Essays in Sociology. 41 Daston and Galison, Objectivity, 41. 114 opposed interpretation. The aperspectival objectivity attributed to late nineteenth-century science opposed the subjectivity of the individual idiosyncrasies, which substituted for the individual interests and situations analyzed by the eighteenth-century moral perspectivists.42 Objectivity opposes subjectivity, and changes in response to the changing conceptions of problems with epistemic subjects. Daston argues that this is all socially negotiated. Rorty would probably not disagree with this idea of objectivity as socially negotiated. This is part of what allows him to say that we can give the term up. If it is a socially negotiated practice to aim for the ideal of objectivity, then it is open to revision and change. What is curious is that Rorty seems to neglect that this change has been happening, and is happening, as he writes. He fails to see the history of the term 'objectivity'. In short, he does not recognize that the concept of objectivity has undergone many different conceptions in history. Finally it is necessary to note the way that objectivity opposes subjectivity. Daston and Galison report that objectivity was an ethical as well as an epistemic commitment. A scientist had to direct his will back towards himself. This can most vividly be seen in the Ernst Haeckel quotation given above. Haeckel, who had a commitment to mechanical objectivity, spent his entire career tirelessly examining himself and rooting out perceived biases and values. The ethical commitment carries with it a commitment to self-reflection, or introspection. The scientist must be the kind of individual who came to know himself, who knew his own values and beliefs, and who sought to keep these from influencing his judgement. In Max Weber's case of value-free objectivity, individual values or biases were thought to be clouding 42 Daston, “Objectivity and the Escape from Perspective,” 607. 115 judgement, and as such had to be removed if the scientist was to be seen as objective and if the scientist's motives were to be trusted. Weber explicitly ties this to a role that scientists take on when they become scientists. It is how they are to conduct themselves, who they are to appear to be to others. Weber's advocation of value- freedom is, then, explicitly social. It is the kind of role a scientist is expected to take on in society. Even in the case of aperspectival objectivity, an element of self-reflection is present, though here it presents itself differently. A scientist must, again, know his beliefs, but he must know which beliefs and values are likely to be shared, and therefore understood, by his community of interlocutors and which beliefs are idiosyncratically his own, and must be rooted out of communication in order to maintain objectivity. In the next section I will claim that it isn't just our conceptions of epistemic subjects that is changing. It isn't just that epistemic and scientific communities identify new problems with subjects. Rather, I will argue that these problems with the subject are being created by the accounts of objectivity subscribed to. The possibilities of being an epistemic subject are changing with the changing accounts of objectivity. The story of objectivity becomes more complicated once we consider that in order to understand the objective we must understand the subjective, and in order to understand the subjective, we must, it seems, examine communities. Communities that value objectivity create the possibility of self-reflective people who understand their ethical and epistemic task to be to question what they believe and value and root it out depending on the concept of objectivity subscribed to. 116 I will rely on work by Ian Hacking to make this case. To put it in Ian Hacking's terminology, the epistemic subject is an interactive kind, and changes in conjunction with the changing accounts of objectivity. Objectivity, then, creates possibilities of personhood. I think that an investigation of these possibilities of personhood may answer the question of whether objectivity is a beneficial ideal to hold. 3.4. The Subject and Community The relationship between individual subjects and the communities to which they belong is a complicated one. In this section I do not propose to address all the issues regarding how it is that subjects and communities are related. Rather, my goal in this section is much more modest. I will argue that the values communities hold shape the categories of persons available to individuals in those communities. As a first step, I will examine some work on scientific communities and community borders conducted by sociologist Thomas Gieryn. Not only does this work by Gieryn serve to strengthen Habermas's concerns about Rorty's view from the last chapter, but it also serves to highlight how it is that scientific communities interact with each other and other communities, a process that will be more important in chapters to come. In addition, Gieryn's arguments that communities define themselves in opposition to each other serves to give a working understanding of communities, and of how communities choose values and beliefs to hold. It seems they often do so based on their interactions with other communities. 3.4.1. What is a Community? I begin my exploration of community borders with an example Robert Proctor gives from his 1995 book Cancer Wars. Proctor's book tracks the politics of science 117 in investigations into cancer and causes of cancer. Proctor seeks an answer to the question of why cases of cancer are still on the rise, despite the fact that the United States has been devoting huge sums of money to cancer research and to winning the war against cancer since the 1970's. In doing so, Proctor examines many clashes between interest groups, the public and communities of scientists, each identifying themselves in opposition to the other. While his main target was not to examine community interaction, portions of his book do just that. Throughout Cancer Wars there is a clear polarization between those who argue that the hazards of industry are a direct cause of cancer and those who argue that industry hazards have little or nothing to do with the rise in cancer rates throughout the twentieth century. Each side tends to demonize and discredit the other side. Those who see a connection between industry pollution and cancer call the other side biased since many of the most vocally denying a link are paid by the businesses they are arguing are safe. Those arguing that there is little or no connection, and that cancer is on the rise because of lifestyle choices (such as smoking or eating fatty foods) and not because of workplace hazards label the others as using their position for a “larger symbolic value.” In one example of this polarization, Proctor discusses Aaron Wildavsky, a libertarian and advocate for the freedom of capitalism. Wildavsky advocates for the safety of nuclear energy and demonizes his opposition by claiming that their motivations in raising the alarm over nuclear energy are not free from self-interest. Their charge that environmental pollution is ubiquitous can therefore 'be understood for what it is—a fundamental attack on libertarian culture.' Wildavsky cites the work of Bernard Cohen of Pittsburgh showing that nuclear energy is safe and suggests that this particular technology is popularly chosen 118 for opprobrium not because it is especially dangerous. . . but rather because such an attack has a larger symbolic value. An attack on nuclear power is an attack on 'bigness,' 'corporate capital,' and indeed 'the entire establishment.' 43 Certainly Wildavsky is using rhetoric here to attempt to persuade his audience that those who attack technological advances and argue that industry is filling the air with harmful environmental pollution are biased and untrustworthy. He paints his opponents as having a larger secret agenda and as trying to manipulate their audience. He paints himself as the clear-headed and simple libertarian who is telling it like it is. In this scenario there are three groups: we have Wildavsky, his readers, and the demonized environmentalists. Wildavsky is clearly trying to persuade his readers of his beliefs. But what about the environmentalists? Is there any indication that he is trying to persuade them of anything? He better not be, as he is not likely to get very far by telling them that they are biased and have a hidden agenda. Insulting your opponents, or attempting to discredit them, is rarely a way to progress towards agreement with them. Wildavsky has indeed divided up the world into those whose opinions matter (his readers and those who support his claim) and those whose opinions do not matter (the environmentalists). Were he to be successful in convincing his readers that the environmentalists are biased and trying to manipulate the public to further a hidden agenda, it would seem that he would have completed his task. Once no one is listening to the environmentalists, there is no need to try to convince them too. They pose no threat to one's own beliefs anymore and can safely be ignored. Everyone whose opinion matters is ignoring the environmentalists 43 Robert Proctor, Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know And Don't Know About Cancer (New York: Basic Books, A Division of Harper Collins Publishing, 1995), 92. 119 anyway. The example of Wildavsky and the environmentalist shows the negotiations between different communities and the negotiation of the borders of a community. In particular it illustrates that not all communities wish to extend their borders indefinitely (not all communities hold the value Rorty claimed his liberal community did in the last chapter). This makes logical sense from one point of view. The way to identify the borders of one's own community, and identify which community one belongs to, is also to know which community one does not belong to, and whose opinions do not count. Thomas F. Gieryn, in his article “Boundary Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists,” examines the negotiation of borders of communities, as well as how these borders change depending on what is defined as an outside community. His interest is the community of British natural philosophers as they sought to distinguish their project from those of mechanics (i.e. engineers) and from religious thinkers. So, his particular focus is on an epistemic community. He uses this example of demarcation between the scientific community and other communities to illustrate that, in practice, the boundaries of a community are fairly easily negotiated, and yet are not static and fixed. He looks at the work John Tyndall conducted demarcating science from religion and from mechanics in Victorian Britain. When Tyndall defines scientific territory in relation to religion, he identifies certain attributes of the scientific method and scientific community that are not shared by the religious community. For example: Science is practically useful in inspiring technological progress to improve the material conditions of the nation; religion is 'useful' if at all, for aid and comfort in emotional matters. . . Science is empirical in that its road to truth is 120 experimentation with observable facts of nature; religion is metaphysical because its truths depend on spiritual, unseen forces assumed without verification. . . Science is skeptical because it respects no authority other than the facts of nature; religion is dogmatic because it continues to respect the authority of worn-out ideas and their creators. . . Science is objective knowledge free from emotions, private interests, bias or prejudice; religion is subjective and emotional.44 By focusing on the practicality of science, its empirical method, and its focus on experimentation and observable facts as opposed to metaphysics, Tyndall differentiates science from religion. Religion is characterized as being dogmatic, not terribly useful, and focused on metaphysical concerns. The boundary of science as opposed to religion is divided up based on the differences between the two communities. The characteristics of science brought up here are the ones that are not shared between science and religion. However, when Tyndall differentiates science from mechanics (engineering) Gieryn notes that other and at times inconsistent attributes of science are highlighted. Scientists seek discovery of facts as ends in themselves; mechanicians seek inventions to further personal profit. . . Science is theoretical. Mechanicians are not scientists because they do not go beyond observed facts to discover the causal principles that govern underlying unseen processes.45 When differentiating science from religion, Tyndall pointed to science as useful, as dealing with observables and as practical. Yet, when differentiating science from mechanics, Tyndall points to scientific facts as ends in themselves, not necessarily 44 Thomas F. Gieryn, “Boundary Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science; Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists” American Sociological Review 48, no. 6 (December 1983.): 785. 45 Gieryn, “Boundary Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science,” 786 121 useful for other ends. When differentiating science from religion, Tyndall claims that science sticks with observables whereas religion postulates metaphysical unseen forces. But, when differentiating science from mechanics he claims that science goes past mechanics, goes beyond observable facts to unseen principles. Gieryn claims that “The boundaries of science are ambiguous, flexible, historically changing, contextually variable, internally inconsistent, and sometimes disputed.”46 Gieryn's point is to establish that the scientific community does have boundaries, but that it is foolhardy to try to fix those boundaries by identifying what is unique to science that is not shared by any other discipline or system of thought. This is not how the boundaries of science become established. Instead, they change. The boundaries of science are established by boundary-work demarcating science from non-science. In particular, I want to emphasize that what Gieryn has shown is that the boundaries of science change depending on the community that the scientists are attempting to differentiate themselves from. It is not enough to establish a community by knowing what is shared internally by the members of the community. The community also establishes itself in the face of opposition. The implication I draw from this is that communities tend to only seek wide- spread agreement to a point. To a point, it is useful to expand the number of people who agree with one's beliefs and who hold one's values. But only to a point. At a point, outsiders are needed in order to facilitate the formation of community borders. And, depending on who these outsiders are seen to be, the borders of the community will be different. Community borders shift and change, but they do not seem to typically indefinitely expand. This is because they need the opposition in order to 46 Gieryn, “Boundary Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science,” 792. 122 understand their own position. If one pays attention to what is shifting the borders of the community, it is clear that the borders do not shift arbitrarily, and are not always widening to welcome other communities in. They shift with reference to opposing communities. When religion is the threat, the borders of science are shifted in one direction, and when mechanics is the threat, the borders shift in another direction. So the borders of the community are defined in relation to other communities. Rather than wanting to expand to incorporate other communities, the scientific community seems interested in drawing boundaries that separate it from other communities. It wants to be differentiated from the communities of Christians and engineers as two examples. It does not want to expand its borders and open a dialog with these two communities. Work must be done in order to clearly establish the borders of science in relation to those other communities. Communities are not typically constantly striving to widen their borders. Depending on the other communities, a community may actually be striving to sharpen and tighten their borders. While Rorty is correct, the borders can be shifted, Habermas's concern noted in the last chapter regarding Rorty's call to widen community borders indefinitely is valid. As Habermas pointed out, there is no good reason that Rorty can provide to wish to widen borders indefinitely. In addition, there seem to be good reasons not to widen borders indefinitely. Namely, community borders are typically defined in opposition to other communities. This is working against Rorty's thesis of indefinitely widening agreement. With this very rudimentary understanding of the formation and maintenance of communities, typically in opposition to other communities, I will move on to examine the relationship between 123 communities and individual members of those communities. 3.4.2. Community-Constrained Possibilities of Persons Ian Hacking argues that communities create individual categories of personhood. His main examples of these community-created categories are homosexuality and Dissociative Identity Disorder. He argues that both categories are created, and that the individuals in the categories are shaped by the category and shape the category in turn. He calls this the “looping effect of human kinds” and defines it in these terms: I have from time to time spoken of the looping effect of human kinds—that is, the interactions between people, on the one hand, and ways of classifying people and their behaviour on the other. Being seen to be a certain kind of person, or to do a certain kind of act, may affect someone. A new or modified mode of classification may systematically affect the people who are so classified, or the people themselves may rebel against the knowers, the classifiers, the science that classifies them. Such interactions may lead to changes in the people who are classified, and hence what is known about them. That is what I call a feedback effect. 47 Individuals are created through communities and power relations in those communities. But this definition itself shifts the power relations. As individuals are lumped together under a description they may form a community. They are able to challenge and change the description of themselves from the inside in opposition to the existing community that has defined them in a certain way. In his article “Making Up People,” Hacking examines the relationship between 47 Ian Hacking, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Science of Memory (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1995), 239. 124 people who have been categorized a certain way, and the communities wherein these categories originate. He argues that not only are individuals created by communities, but possibilities of personhood are created as well. “Who we are is not only what we did, do, and will do, but also what we might have done and may do.”48 It isn't just who you are that has been shaped by society, classified, and created, but also who you could be. There are possibilities of personhood open to us in the twenty-first century that were not present in the seventeenth century (such as being a computer nerd, for example). And there were possibilities of personhood in the seventeenth century that are not present in the twenty-first. Social and historical factors on how people are classified, and how statistical data is gathered, shape the possibilities of personhood open to individuals. Hacking's discussion of this shifting in possibilities of personhood refers to Sartre's example of the garçon de café. I think that in most parts of, let us say, Alberta (or in a McDonald's anywhere), a waiter playing at being a garçon de café would miss the mark as surely as if he were playing at being a diplomat while passing over the french fries. As with almost every way in which it is possible to be a person, it is possible to be a garçon de café only at a certain time, in a certain place, in a certain social setting.49 Much as I might like to, I, having grown up in Alberta in the late twentieth century, do not have the possibility of a garçon de café open to me. I do not live in the correct community for this. This is not a matter of my choosing to live in France in the 1940's over Alberta in the 1990's. No such choice could be made.50 48 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 109. 49 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 109. 50 This discussion leaves aside the issues of sex and gender in my ability or inability become a garçon de café. 125 Hacking gives vivid examples in Rewriting the Soul regarding how a person may be shaped over time: the rise of the category of dissociative identity disorder, and the negotiations between people diagnosed with the disorder, doctors and psychologists, and the larger community. He gives a persuasive argument that Dissociative Identity Disorder is a socially created disease. He argues that the subject of dissociative identity disorder (DID) is shaped by the community she is in. He gives a compelling example to illustrate that this is so. When Eve, one of the first DID patients (or multiples, as they were called before multiple personality disorder was renamed) was diagnosed, she had three personalities. A movie was made about her and released in the theatres. After that, many multiples began to be diagnosed, and most of these had three personalities just like Eve.51 Then Sybil was diagnosed, but she had sixteen personalities. A book was written about her experiences and a movie made. Suddenly, the average number of alter personalities jumped from three to sixteen.52 Something can be socially shaped and yet still be real. These are not mutually exclusive categories. Hacking argues that DID patients are not lying, but are genuinely ill. It is just that their illness is created by a community of psychiatrists and patients. The categories society places on the individual have real consequence.53 Hacking offers the example of homosexuality as another intersubjectively created category. What it means to be a homosexual has changed in some communities from being a disorder to being a natural and normal way for a subject to be. He speculates 51 Hacking, Rewriting the Soul, 40-41. 52 Hacking, Rewriting the Soul, 40-45. 53 Michel Foucault gives a similar argument in regards to categories of personhood arising out of changes in the European prison system in his book Discipline and Punish. (Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, Inc., 1995.)) 126 that the same thing may one day happen for the DID patient.54 Hacking refers to a recent book entitled The Making of the Modern Homosexual. He says that [c]ontributors [to the book] by and large accept that the homosexual and the heterosexual as kinds of persons (as ways to be persons, or as conditions of personhood), came into being only toward the end of the nineteenth century. There has been plenty of same-sex activities in all ages, but not, it is argued, same-sex people and different-sex people. 55 Hacking argues that the categories of homosexual and heterosexual are socially created categories. This doesn't mean that an individual could not be attracted to those of the same or the opposite sex prior to the creation of these categories, but rather that an individual could not be classified as a homosexual, along with the attitudes and assumptions that term can carry, prior to the creation of the category. These categories change over time: “Making up people changes the space of possibilities of personhood.”56 He claims that there are many ways of being, or of being categorized, now that did not exist in the past. The labels that the community is placing on the subjective perspective are different from the way they were even half a century ago. And these categories of personhood need not be solely categories developed by social institutions, like the American Psychiatric Association. Though this is Hacking's main focus, he does acknowledge that even something as simple as Sartre's garçon de café example discussed above can be a socially constituted possibility of personhood.57 Hacking notes that this was a possibility of personhood available to Sartre, available for his philosophical consideration as well as for his 54 Hacking, Rewriting the Soul, 38. 55 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 103. 56 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 107. 57 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 109. 127 adoption, I presume, but not available for adoption by Hacking. Not only who we are, but who we could be, is socially and historically negotiated. We are not free to choose just anything. There are a limited number of possibilities of personhood open to us. Our pasts and our circumstances dictate the possibilities of personhood available to us, though not necessarily the one we choose to actualize. Someone who does not live in France, specifically in France in the early to mid-part of the twentieth century, does not live in a community that has the possibility of the garçon de café open to him. Our choices are constrained by the communities we are in. The community, and the community values, matter a lot when it comes to individual possibilities of personhood. Communities shape and reshape individuals. In his example on homosexuality, Hacking makes this clear. In medicine, the authorities who know, the doctors, tend to dominate the known about, the patients. The known about come to behave in the ways that the knowers expect them to. But not always. Sometimes the known take matters into their own hands. The famous example is gay liberation. The word 'homosexual,' along with the medical and legal classification, emerged during the last half of the nineteenth century. For a time the classification was owned by medicine, by physicians and psychiatrists. The knowers determined, at least on the surface, what it was to be a homosexual. But then the known took charge.58 Changing the category of personhood applied to those labeled as homosexual required a community effort. The medical community created this category of personhood, and applied it to patients. But Hacking notes that the patients, or the 58 Hacking, Rewriting the Soul, 38. 128 'known about' took charge, forming a community of their own through gay liberation movements. Within this community, they reshaped the borders of what it is to be homosexual, altering the category from the previous medical understanding in terms of sexual deviance, and shaping it as a normal category of personhood. One can see elements of Gieryn's discussion of boundary-work in forming community boundaries here. The homosexual community formed and defined itself in opposition to the medical community. And, by doing so, it reshaped possibilities of personhood for its members. Communities shape possibilities of personhood, and communities typically form in opposition to other communities. This is not only done through social institutions such as the APA. Even common social categories shared by everyone, such as the role of a garçon de café, are possibilities of personhood shaped by communities. The garçon de café is not merely a category of personhood, it is also a feature of a French European community which helps the community define itself in opposition to, say, an Albertan community, to use Hacking's example. Hacking's investigations generally focus on investigating what the social sciences do to the individuals who are the subjects of study. But the focus need not be solely on social sciences. Hacking notes that “Literary historians have long noted that a person did not conceive of himself as a poet—as that kind of poet—before the romantic era. One just wrote poems.” 59 Being a romantic poet is a category unavailable to individuals prior to the romantic era. This doesn't mean individuals could not write romantic poetry, but there was no community uniting them, and hence no community defining them as such. It isn't just social science that is shaping who we are and how we think of ourselves. Major social 59 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 82-83. 129 networks, such as the literary community, or the LGBT community60, may also shape persons. Hacking notes that, according to Foucault “every way in which I can think of myself as a person and an agent is something that has been constituted within a web of historical events.”61 I argue that if every way one thinks of oneself is socially and historically constituted, this applies to the epistemic subject as well. Every time objectivity undergoes a conceptual change, individual epistemic subjects are encouraged to think of themselves differently. Every time the individual epistemic subject thinks of herself differently, she finds new problems with her own subjectivity, which informs a new conception of objectivity. Just as with the romantic poet, or homosexual example, it isn't that people could not be self-reflective individuals prior to objectivity, but the commitment to a certain type of objectivity created a new understanding of individual subjects and of what was problematic about a certain bias or value, why it was problematic and why it needed to be questioned, held in check, or rooted out. One can see the ethical implications at work in this system. We call someone a homosexual in the nineteenth century in order to label them as deviant, and to punish and correct their behaviour. We call someone an epistemic subject, or a knower, in order to hold him responsible to certain epistemic and ethical norms. Personal idiosyncrasies still existed prior to adopting the value of objectivity. Individual values (biases?) still existed. Some (perhaps many) individuals still had the desire to judge and perfect what they saw. But these traits were not seen as problematic. Once communities of knowers became concerned about these traits, 60 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender community. 61 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 83. 130 they needed a way to classify them, identify them as distinct and different from the norm, or the ideal of how a person should be. Subjectivity and objectivity were marshaled to make this distinction. The problem was a specific type of individual subject, the solution was to strive to be more objective. For the suffragist example briefly discussed in Chapter Two, the problem was sentimentality, the solution was to be more value-free. As Max Weber's call to value-freedom as a requirement of good scientific practice shows, these categories of epistemic subject created allow communities of knowers to differentiate themselves from those who don't know. A requirement of good science, according to Weber, is value-freedom. Those who do not aspire to this ideal do no belong to the community of scientists. In the conceptualization of objectivity, a category of personhood is found (created?), and it is found to be deviant, or at least problematic. Thus, the need to strive to be objective is adopted by the community as a way to reshape the category of person and deal with or remove the problematic aspects of the existing category. If persons are found to make knowledge claims based on value-judgement, and if this is found to be problematic, then the need for objectivity in terms of value-freedom presents itself as a way to remake the epistemic subject. Just as the category of the deviant homosexual and what is considered normal came into being together, or the category of the deviant dissociative identity patient and what is considered normal came together, so the category of objectivity and subjectivity were created together. The difference when it comes to objectivity, is that unlike heterosexuality and other previously and currently considered 'normal' categories of personhood, objectivity is, and always was, thought to be unattainable. The norm postulated was an ideal. 131 This reinforces the idea that objectivity is an ethical ideal just as much as it is an epistemic one. Hacking discusses ethical ideals in Historical Ontology briefly. He claims that ethical ideals can shape the individual, and that the hallmark of an ethical ideal is its unattainability. Ethical ideals “. . . describe one way of working upon ourselves, of setting impossible ideals, or creating guilt.”62 The unattainability of an ethical ideal ensures that the work upon the self is never done, also ensuring the prevalence of guilt. Insofar as objectivity is an ethical ideal, it is a way of working upon the self by setting up an impossible, unattainable goal and creating a never-ending task, as seen in the Haeckel quotation above. Whereas it might be possible to rehabilitate or 'cure' someone suffering from DID, someone who is idiosyncratic or overly judgmental will never be perfectly objective. They will never be 'cured,' as the quotation from Haeckel above demonstrates. They will always have to re-examine themselves, work upon themselves, and seek this ideal. Guilt will ensure that they do work upon themselves and examine themselves. They are committed to self-reflection and self-improvement as a result of their commitment to this ideal. This is not to say that there are not other ideals that necessitate a commitment to self-reflection, only that objectivity is such an ideal. In the next section I will give an example of this creation of possibilities of personhood as an effect of objectivity. 3.5. Subjects and Objectivity Objectivity, though it may be socially and historically created, nonetheless has real consequences.63 However, I think these consequences have had a largely 62 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 116. 63 Hacking concludes that social categories of disease, like DID, have real consequences. Something may be both socially created and real, and may have very real consequences. (See Hacking, Rewriting the Soul, 12) 132 beneficial effect on communities that adopt objectivity as an ideal. This type of ethical and epistemic commitment—this commitment towards becoming a self-reflective individual—creates individuals and communities willing to listen to minority discourse. Far from silencing the holder of minority opinion, as Rorty and Code feared, I argue that objectivity provides a possibility of personhood for these individuals to occupy. In contrast to this view of objectivity as inherently oppressive, I think objectivity creates a category of personhood that gave feminists and other holders of minority views an advantage in entering epistemic discussions and challenging epistemic norms. If one has a commitment to objectivity, and one's claim to be objective is called into question, one must defend oneself. Or one must discount the charge by highlighting bias on the part of the opposition. Some feminist scientists, as Clough reports, were able to use the ideal of objectivity to challenge mainstream scientists, alleging that feminist scientists were actually more objective than their opponents. So, feminist scientists aimed to be, and claimed to be, occupying the category of epistemic subject prescribed by objectivity. At the same time, they challenged their opponents' claims to occupy this category, asserting that their opponents were not correctly policing themselves as to occupy this category of personhood. Clough reports that Antoinette Brown Blackwell asserted that, while gender does create bias, females, by virtue of their experiences as women, are better able to bridge the gap between the subjective perspective and objectivity than males are.64 Regardless of the logical merits or flaws of Blackwell's argument, it did challenge mainstream scientists' claims to objectivity. It redefined the category of epistemic subject as being properly understood as female, and forced opponents to respond, or lose their claims to be 64 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 53. 133 objective. The opponents responded. This brought mainstream scientists and feminist scientists into discourse with each other, bridging the boundaries that may have previously existed between these two groups, at least for a while. If scientists had not formed such a conception of the ideal of objectivity, feminists would have needed to find another way to enter the debate. They could not point out that a scientist's values and biases were clouding his judgement unless he had a commitment to avoid such things. If he had no such commitment, exposing values would not be a concern. The same is true in the case of the suffragist. Women in the suffrage movement learned to use the ideal of objectivity to their own advantage. They learned to become different kinds of women from their predecessors. They became women under an obligation to adopt a perspective approaching value-freedom, an aperspectival objectivity removed of sentiment and individual concerns. Unlike Blackwell's argument, suffragists did not set out to reconceptualize the category of epistemic subject. Instead they set out to occupy an already existing category of personhood. They adopted the ethical and epistemic obligations prescribed by the ideal of objectivity as it was conceived of at the time, and began to police themselves. Alice Duer Miller65 was an expert at this kind of rhetoric. She learned to speak in the language adopted by her opposition, and simultaneously cast herself as the objective individual while criticizing her opponents' claims to objectivity. The opposition was exposed as being just as sentimental and irrational as they charged suffragists with being. Their claim to the category of the objective individual was shaken. Here is one such example from Are Women People?: Representation 65 See Chapter Two. Alice Duer Miller was a suffragist columnist in New York. 134 ("My wife is against suffrage, and that settles me." Vice-President Marshall.) My wife dislikes the income tax, And so I cannot pay it; She thinks that golf all interest lacks, So now I never play it; She is opposed to tolls repeal (Though why I cannot say), But woman's duty is to feel, And man's is to obey.66 In this poem Miller begins by quoting Vice-President Marshall. The poem begins in another person's voice, and presumably a voice that is striving to be an objective epistemic subject who is trustworthy and upon whom the public can rely. Miller continues to reason from the perspective established by the Marshall quote to expose the inconsistencies present in his reasoning, thus challenging any claim to objectivity that Marshall may have and undermining his claims in the process. Mary Chapman, a literary scholar, has studied Alice Duer Miller extensively. In her article “Are Women People? Alice Duer Miller's Poetry and Politics,” she notes that suffragists were able to turn the language and ideals that had been used against them, and use these ideals to their advantage. Paradoxically, the disenfranchised woman finds voice only through the language that is already made available to her; however, while this language can displace her, it can also offer her a syntax and vocabulary with which to 66 Miller, Alice Duer, Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11689 2004. (Original publication 1915). 135 displace previous understandings of her role in the public sphere. If anything, she may, through reframing, challenge the authority of these previous understandings by exposing their internal contradictions.67 Chapman notes that the suffragists in general and Miller in particular, were able to use the language and ideology of the majority in order to challenge the majority by pointing out contradictions and inconsistencies. To put it in my framework, the suffragists displaced the majority's claim to occupy a category of personhood, the objective one. Chapman reports that “there are, in fact, very few places where Miller can be heard to speak 'in her own voice' or in the voice of an identifiable suffragist. Rather, the voice or subject position most frequently articulated is the voice of the anti-suffragist, framed so that it sabotages its own authority.”68 Chapman's recognition that Miller rarely, if ever, spoke in her own voice points out that Miller's own unique perspective is absent from her writing. I see this as one of many attempts undertaken by suffragists at this time to step beyond their own subjective perspectives and speak with the authority of the epistemic subject who holds the ideal of objectivity. Since this category they claim to occupy, and are attempting to displace their opponents from, is a 'view from nowhere' to use Nagel's metaphor,69 or a perspectiveless perspective as he sometimes calls it, these suffragists and their perspective are noticeably absent from their texts. They are relying on a combination of value-free objectivity and aperspectival objectivity. Their own suffrage values and perspectives are absent from suffrage literature in the twentieth century in a way they were not in the nineteenth century. In attempting to attain the objective perspective, suffragists had to police 67 Mary Chapman, “Are Women People? Alice Duer Miller's Poetry and Politics” American Literary History, 18, no. 1 (2006): 66. 68 Chapman, “'Are Women People?' Alice Duer Miller's Poetry and Politics,” 73. 69 Nagel, The View From Nowhere. 136 themselves, keeping their own potentially problematic subjective selves out of the debate, and speaking from the position of an epistemic subject. The suffragist was able to use the ideal of objectivity to question her opponents' claims to objectivity. She pointed out inconsistencies in their arguments, and used their own language to challenge their commitments. In this way, she claimed the objective perspective for herself and questioned the objectivity of her opponents. Suffragists aimed to be intelligible to their interlocutors, so they held an ideal of aperspectival objectivity. They did not declare their values openly, and challenged the mainstreams' claims to being value-free themselves, by pointing out inconsistencies and value-laden rhetoric in their opponents' arguments, while supporting their own arguments with facts and statistics. They were able to use the ideal of objectivity to ground their beliefs and statements in objective language, and speak from the position of the epistemic subject, while challenging their opponent's own claims to firm foundations. In his collection of essays, Historical Ontology, Hacking claims that “[c]ategories of people come into existence at the same time as kinds of people come into being to fit those categories, and there is a two-way interaction between these processes.”70 The type of person that fills the category and the category itself come into being together. The ideal of objectivity conceived of as aperspectival creates the category of epistemic subject, and at the same time people filled the category who aspired to the ideal. But not all of them are Western European males. The category of personhood itself precludes that. What it was to be objective in an era marked by 70 Hacking, “Making Up People,” 48. 137 aperspectival objectivity (as Daston reports ours still largely is) was to be an individual committed to the removal of individual idiosyncrasies, or any other values and beliefs that made communication with the larger community difficult. Being a Western European male, and all the individual idiosyncrasies that might go along with this category of personhood, had to be overcome in order to fully attain the ideal of aperspectival objectivity. The suffragists were able to point out that the category of objectivity was one that, at the time, knew no gender or ethnicity. So, those who aspired to occupy this category must also attempt to move past their own gender and ethnic origin. This example will be developed in more detail in the next chapter to illustrate just how it was that suffragists made this move, and opened this possibility of personhood up for themselves. It is in the category of the epistemic subject that I argue one must look to see if there is any benefit in holding the ideal of objectivity, or if it is, as Rorty and Code maintain, inherently oppressive. Objectivity, as an epistemic ideal adopted by a community, helps to shape that community's identity as a community of knowers and simultaneously shapes what it means to be a knower. As problems with the epistemic subject arise—problems in her own subjectivity—a new conceptualization of objectivity is created to deal with those problems, resulting in a new type of epistemic subject. I have already suggested one benefit of the category of epistemic subject created here, which I will develop in the next chapter. I claim that the concept of objectivity can facilitate minority entry into epistemic debate. It does not inherently block it. 138 3.6. Conclusion In this chapter I had two main goals. One was to examine the history of objectivity in order to determine what, if any, constant could be found in the concept of objectivity. The other was to determine what effect objectivity is having on the knowing subject. In examining the history of objectivity I was able to address both of these goals. The history of objectivity demonstrates that objectivity creates a category of personhood. Thus, by looking at the history one comes to see that objectivity's historical constant is its definition in opposition to subjectivity, and that objectivity creates categories of epistemic subjects. Those who held the value of objectivity did not necessarily also hold that it would lead to truth, metaphysically understood, or to the external world. Objectivity has also, historically, not always been linked to value-freedom or value-neutrality, in contrast to Harding's assertion from the previous chapter. Rather, Daston and Galison's work demonstrates that objectivity has been connected with the concepts of subjectivity, and introspection or reflection in order to self-police. It has also often been connected to the concept of community. The community determines what is troubling about the subject, and the community creates the conception of objectivity as an ideal in order to set up regimes to correct these perceived subjective problems. Objectivity has been posited as an epistemic and ethical ideal, so it is in the realm of epistemology and ethics that we should seek the advantages of objectivity. I have demonstrated here that, in our past, objectivity has given minorities a way to speak. This was certainly an ethical advantage, especially in my example of the suffrage movement. But Rorty did not deny that objectivity might have been useful in the past. 139 He denied that objectivity was useful now.71 If I wish to defend the concept of objectivity, I need to do so with reference to current situations. But if I wish to defend objectivity as an historical concept, I need to do so with reference to past situations as well. In the coming chapters I will demonstrate that communities that are committed to objectivity, contra Rorty's and Code's concerns, actually have tended to allow minorities to speak, and are under obligation to listen to—and consider what— minorities have to say. There is nothing inherently oppressive about the concept of objectivity, since it has facilitated communication of minority views at least once. To illustrate this claim, I turn to the example of the suffrage movement once again. In the next chapter, I will explore value-free and aperspectival objectivity with reference to the suffrage movement, and to feminist epistemologists and philosophers of science currently. By doing so, I will demonstrate more clearly what I mean when I claim that objectivity tends to allow minorities to speak, and I will explore what type of subject value-free aperspectival accounts of objectivity are creating. In particular, I will illustrate what is currently identified as troubling with the current conceptions of objectivity, and what we can expect future conceptions of objectivity to look like. In Chapter Five, relying on the example of marine-protected areas, I will demonstrate that, in some branches of science, the problems with the epistemic subject that feminists and others are identifying are already being noted and dealt with. Objectivity is being reconceptualized again. 71Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism and Truth, 12. 140 Chapter 4: Objectivity, Ethics, and Minority Opinion 4.1. Introduction Objectivity is not inherently oppressive. For the past three chapters, the charge that the term, 'objectivity' is an inherently oppressive term that excludes minority voices from epistemic debate has served as one of the strongest charges against the value of this ideal. Here I lay my cards down and argue that I see no reason to conclude that the term is inherently a term that bars minority voices from epistemic discourse, nor that it is inherently a term that privileges white, western, heterosexual, middle-class, able-bodied masculine views. I will argue for this, in the following chapter, by outlining one case in which a conception of the ideal of objectivity served as an aid to allow the entrance of minority opinion into epistemic debate. If the ideal of objectivity can be shown to have facilitated the expression of marginalized views at least once, than it it cannot be the case that the term is inherently oppressive. That is, the silencing of minority views is not built into the term 'objectivity' in the way Rorty implies and Code claims. The case I will use to illustrate that objectivity is not inherently oppressive is the case of the suffrage movement briefly introduced in both Chapters Two and Three. I will also argue that this case is likely not an isolated occurrence, as can be seen if we consider the categories of epistemic subject prescribed by a community that adopts objectivity as an ideal. I have suggested in Chapter Three, and will expand on that suggestion here, that a community that adopts objectivity as an ideal creates categories of epistemic subjects the occupants of which are under obligation to be self-reflective. I will argue that, by creating categories of knowers committed to self-reflection and self- 141 evaluation, those who hold the ideal of objectivity are required to consider their own biases whereas those without this ideal may not be under a specific obligation to do so. I do not suggest that there are no other values that necessitate self-reflective persons. Rather, I will argue that objectivity is one ideal that does create this possibility of personhood. As Ian Hacking pointed out, (as noted in the last chapter) any ethical ideal creates possibilities of persons and results in a policing of the subject. As Daston and Galison have pointed out, (again, from Chapter Three) objectivity is an ideal that comes with ethical obligations. I will argue that at least one past conception of objectivity created a category of personhood that was ethically valuable to holders of minority opinion. In addition, the concept of objectivity itself may be found to be beneficial to marginalized views. By adopting the ideal of objectivity, holders of minority opinion acquire a way to ground their claims in something beyond the community (be it a metaphysical or—as in Clough's case from Chapter Two—empirical grounding), making their statements more than subjective opinion and giving them the confidence necessary to speak even when prevailing opinion does not agree. By speaking to others who have an ideal of objectivity, holders of minority opinion are likely to encounter epistemic subjects who are under an obligation to consider their views and arguments carefully and critically, and to examine previously held beliefs in light of these new arguments. Thus, I will demonstrate that holders of minority opinion who also hold objectivity as an ideal are given two advantages in entering the debate with others who also adopt the ideal of objectivity. They have a way to ground their claims in something other than 'wide-spread agreement,' and they are given an audience 142 under obligation to listen. In general, the ideal of objectivity gives interlocutors a shared conception of what the point of the discussion and investigation is. Both sides have a shared desire and obligation to move beyond 'mere' opinion and aim for objective knowledge. What it is to move beyond mere opinion will depend on what is problematic with the epistemic subject1 under different conceptions of objectivity. After establishing, with reference to the suffrage movement, that objectivity is not inherently oppressive, I will further conclude that this example may well illustrate an ethical benefit of objectivity. Given Rorty's own liberal values, the extension of suffrage to women is something Rorty should see as an ethical good. Indeed, I think many of Rorty's readers, supporters, and those who identify themselves as 'liberal', if not most of them, will see this as an ethical good. Yet, as I will demonstrate, the attainment of this ethical achievement was facilitated in part by an ideal of objectivity, exactly the thing Rorty argues is ethically detrimental to minority views. At the end of the examination of the suffrage movement in this chapter I will have demonstrated that objectivity was beneficial in the past. But this alone is not enough to show that it is beneficial now. At the end of this chapter I will also demonstrate that objectivity is still changing, and suggest the ways in which it may be creating beneficial categories of personhood even now, and may continue to do so in the future. In order to demonstrate this, I will discuss the bias-stalemate, a current risk to a current conception of objectivity. I will further demonstrate that this this bias- stalemate is not a reason to doubt objectivity's value, but is rather a mechanism 1 As noted in the first chapter, in this dissertation, 'epistemic subject' is not being used in its general and broad sense commonly employed in philosophy. Instead, the term 'epistemic subject' is used as a short-hand for the epistemic subject who is seeking a specific kind of knowledge, objective knowledge. Thus, the category of epistemic subject is, for this dissertation, referring to the category of personhood prescribed by the concept of objectivity in its various conceptions. 143 driving changing conceptions of objectivity forward. This can be seen by an examination of the suggestions made by Longino and Wylie that help move us past one conception of objectivity that results in a bias-stalemate. This chapter, then, has two broad aims. One is to establish that objectivity has been ethically valuable in the past at least once, by allowing minorities to enter the epistemic debate. They are given a valid position from which to question the status quo, that is mutually recognized as valid by both those in the minority position and those who hold the majority view. They are given an audience under obligation to listen. Therefore, objectivity is not inherently oppressive. Second, it will be established that these possible ethical benefits of objectivity are not outweighed by the possible risks of a bias-stalemate present in the current conception of objectivity. Rather, a bias-stalemate is a current stress-point driving new conceptions of objectivity. 4.2. Objectivity and The Suffrage Movement The category of person created by the community that holds the concept of objectivity as an ideal is a person who is not only capable of (for they were, likely, capable of self-examination prior to adopting the ideal,) but obliged to be committed to self-examination and reflection. Thomas Nagel noted this connection between self- knowledge and objectivity. Chapter Three demonstrated that past accounts of objectivity demanded that a person be devoted to removing those aspects of their subjectivity deemed unhelpful by the community for the production of knowledge. In order to do this, the person must be able to identify these problematic aspects of their subjectivity, which entails rigorous self-examination and self-policing. One must be prepared to change oneself if the problematic aspects are found. In the past an 144 individual who was part of a community which holds objectivity as an ideal was an individual committed to examining and remaking him or herself in an attempt to come closer to an unattainable ideal. Objectivity was an individual commitment. I argue that, from a liberal point of view, this has been a beneficial category of person for a community to have, and for an individual to occupy. In order to demonstrate that objectivity has been and can be beneficial, I will examine the role of objectivity in the suffrage movement. I focus my investigations on women's suffrage in the United States from the nineteenth-century movement for equal rights for women to the more narrowly- focused twentieth-century movement for national suffrage. I have already outlined in Chapter Two how a new style of argument for suffrage emerged in the twentieth century relying on facts and figures cleared of any sentiment or emotion to highlight the biases of their opponents' own perspectives. I do not intend to claim by this that there were no suffragists employing sentimental arguments in the twentieth century. There still were. But, unlike the nineteenth century, there were also many suffragists employing arguments with a scientific basis, statistical support, and a lack of sentimental rhetoric. My claim is that many suffragists (such as Alice Duer Miller, as discussed in Chapter Three), in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, adopted an ideal of objectivity in terms of aperspectivalism and value-freedom. A new style of suffrage argument emerged in this era as well. Prevailing opinions, or feelings, or perspectives on women no longer served for all suffragists as a basis for argument. Only facts that could, it may be hoped, be agreed upon by both sides, could be employed. 145 Suffragists who adopted this new style of argument did so, I claim, because they had adopted a new possibility of personhood. They attempted to attain aperspectival objectivity and so claimed to be the kind of epistemic subject prescribed by a late nineteenth and early twentieth-century conception of objectivity. They also aimed to ground their claims in something other than subjective opinion. I argue that this move was, in part, made because of a mutually-recognized ideal of objectivity held by some suffragists and anti-suffragists. There was a mutually-recognized need to move from mere opinion to objective knowledge. Therefore, claims could not be based in subjective opinion, but were instead based in empirical fact. These new twentieth-century women were armed with facts, statistics, and unsentimental rhetoric. They did not tend to rely on emotions or display their values openly, other than displaying their commitment to objectivity. They spoke from a neutral place, and attempted to, as much as possible, occupy the category of the objective person, a category obliging the epistemic subject to aim to be without perspective and without values.2 It is doubtful that one can engage in political discourse without some display of values, but early twentieth-century suffragists did not rely on these values alone, or display them openly. They tried to police themselves, hold their own opinions in check, and rely on empirical data to make their points. NAWSA3 distributed an information book known as The Blue Book, listing the facts with regards to women's suffrage. In one section, The Blue Book details many 2 An obviously impossible task, since objectivity itself is a value. I will discuss the problems associated with the recognition of the inability to be value-free or free from bias in section three of this chapter. 3 The National Association of Women's Suffrage of America, see Chapter Two. 146 common objections to women's suffrage, and gives statistical data to undermine the objections. For example, in response to the common anti-suffrage argument that granting suffrage to women would increase the number of illiterate and uneducated voters, NAWSA responded: Do You Know that extending the franchise to women actually increases the proportion of intelligent voters; that there is now and has been for years, according to the report of the Commissioner of Education, one-third more girls in the high schools of the country than boys; and that, according to the last census, the illiterate men of the country greatly outnumber the illiterate women4 Using statistics to support their case, and remaining as neutral as possible while delivering these statistics, allowed suffragists to occupy the category of the epistemic subject prescribed by an early twentieth-century account of objectivity. They were attempting to be the knowers, disseminating knowledge as opposed to the bias or mere opinion they credited their opponents with holding. The suffragists relied on reports and numbers. They remained neutral with regards to recommendations. They discredited their opponents' claims as invalid reasons as to why women should not deserve the vote. As much as possible, these suffragists aimed to be value-free and aperspectival. These suffragists showed that the facts of the world did not match the claims of their opponents. Their opponents were, somehow, distorting the picture, allowing their own perspectives or values to influence their claims, and were not objective persons. The layered conceptions that objectivity has stood for, value- freedom, aperspectival, and mechanical, can all be found to varying degrees in 4 Frances M. Björkman and Annie G. Porritt, eds., The Blue Book: Women's Suffrage, History, Arguments, and Results (New York: National Women's Suffrage Publishing Company Inc., 1917), 141. 147 the new suffragist of the early twentieth century, though the predominant conception appears to be value-freedom. How had this change been brought about? Given what I've said about communities and possibilities of personhood, it makes sense to look to the community for an explanation. Many women at this time no longer strictly identified themselves with the home or the family as had been traditional prior to the turn of the twentieth century. Rather, they identified themselves with members of the intellectual community. Susan E. Marshall, in her book, Splintered Sisterhood, studies the differences that existed between women who tended to be pro-suffrage and those who tended to be anti-suffrage. She notes that the college-educated women were “overwhelmingly pro-suffrage.”5 They identified themselves as writers, lawyers, and political activists, among other professionals. Anti-suffrage women, by contrast, tended to come from the upper class, and often did not identify themselves as professionals. While they were active in their community, they were “wealthy volunteers—self described 'amateurs'—not professionals.”6 I have already mentioned that many of the suffragist women had university educations, often in the sciences or social sciences (see Chapter Three). We know from Daston and Galison and Weber that both the social sciences and the sciences were stressing a commitment to objectivity in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and that this commitment was cashed out in terms of value-freedom, aperspectivalism and mechanical objectivity. In addition, Daston tells us that aperspectival objectivity itself had been incorporated into the sciences from the humanities. It was a borrowed term from ethics. So, even 5 Susan E. Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign against Women's Suffrage (Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), 220. 6 Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood, 220. 148 women who had received a humanities degree were likely familiar with at least one variation of the concept of objectivity common in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. So, these women were members of communities that held objectivity as a value and ideal. As such, they were encouraged to occupy a certain category of personhood, the objective one. In university it is likely that they had learned the language of objectivity and been taught to police themselves in accordance with this ideal. Objectivity, being one way to bring about self-reflection and self-examination, had likely led the suffragists of the twentieth century to view the matter of women's rights in a different way and to approach the debate with a reliance on facts and statistics and a strong attempt at policing their own values and perspectives. But the shift in values and perspectives in this movement did not stop there. NAWSA was begun by Susan B. Anthony and Elisabeth Cady Stanton in the 1890's and headed by Carrie Chapman Catt after Anthony resigned. NAWSA, as previously stated (see Chapter Three), itself held the value of objectivity and taught its members how to engage with the public from an objective perspective. For these women, NAWSA continued what their university education had begun. It cemented a new category of suffragist, a new possibility of personhood. It continued to instill the regimes of self-policing and reliance on facts. The organization itself prescribed a category of subject for suffragists to occupy, just as the literary community created the category of romantic poet, or the psychiatrists created the category of homosexuality, as discussed in Chapter Three. To be a suffragist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was to be held to certain ethical and epistemic norms. Many of these were the same norms prescribed by the ideal of objectivity. 149 Just as with Clough's insistence on the need for objectivity grounded in empiricism in the twenty-first century, as discussed in Chapter Two, suffragists at the turn of the last century required a mutually-recognized position from which to voice their minority views. I argue that they found this position in adopting the conception of the objective perspective of the time, and relying on empirical facts. Facts and figures may provide a foundation that is hard to question.7 But there was something underlying anti-suffrage rhetoric, something that didn't always seem consistent with the facts and figures, and it was this that suffragists needed to combat. As Sarah Hunter Graham notes in her book, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, “Doubtless many agreed with one anti-suffragist's diagnosis of the problem her opponents faced. 'What [the suffrage movement] has to overcome,' she explained, 'is not an argument but a feeling.'”8 The feeling was that women simply should not have the right to vote. But the female anti-suffragist in Graham's quote admits that this wasn't a specific argument. Arguments may have been given to support the feeling, but overcoming the arguments was not enough. The feeling itself had to be overcome. Specifically, I claim that the suffrage movement attempted to challenge the objectivity of their opponents by calling this feeling into question. Was this feeling clouding their opponent's judgement? Was there any objective basis for this feeling? They had been unsuccessful in combating feeling with feeling, as nineteenth-century suffragists had tried to do with their appeals to emotion. So, another reason for turning to objectivity may have been to call the effectiveness of their opponents' self- 7 Of course this is not to say that it is impossible to question. Facts can be interpreted in certain ways, that data can be gathered, analyzed and presented in ways that are value-laden. 8 Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, 36. Emphasis added. 150 policing into question. Were anti-suffragists successfully policing all the questionable elements of their own subjectivity, or had they allowed a feeling to affect their reasoning? If suffragists could get their opponents to acknowledge the presence of this feeling, the ethical commitments of objectivity in this time period would require its removal. The feeling could not be used as a basis for decisions on its own, unless it were found to be supported in a way that did not rest on values or personal idiosyncrasies. The feeling alone was not enough to meet the late nineteenth-century conception of objectivity. In addition, the suffragists' adoption of the value-free (and, at times, aperspectival) objective perspective illustrated that women could indeed be objective, something that was a hotly debated issue at the turn of the century, and continues to be debated even up to the present by some.9 Objectivity, like rationality in general, is often seen as a concept that is specifically gendered for a stereotypical Western European male perspective, as mentioned in Chapters Two and Three. By adopting the possibility of personhood prescribed by a nineteenth and early twentieth century understanding of objectivity, American suffragists may have been able to gain some of the power and recognition which comes from being an epistemic subject, as well as demonstrating that objectivity was not only the domain of Western European men. They also challenged the assumption that the Western European male perspective was one that was objective. In contrast to Code's assertion that objectivity is understood in Western European masculine terms, suffragists at the turn of the century often linked sentimentality to males, implying that men, because of their chivalry, were more likely to be sentimental, and thus less likely than women to be 9 See Code, What Can She Know? 151 objective. Mary Chapman notes that Miller, in particular, “exposes the form of the sonnet itself as a product of male chivalry, which idealizes women while ignoring the reality of their lived experience.”10 Miller uses the sonnet, a romantic type of poetry historically linked to male chivalry and challenges the male understanding of females at her time. In effect, she suggests that a man who claims to be objective about women is likely being affected by his own romantic sentiments when it comes to women. The suffragists turned the tables on their opponents, arguing that men were the sentimental sex. So, by adopting the category of epistemic subject and relying on facts and statistics rather than on personal sentiment or individual values, suffragists were able to find a position from which to speak,and were able to question their opponents' claims to a monopoly on objectivity, effectively questioning whether their opponents were being objective about women at all. This demonstrates that suffragists did not think objectivity dictated a category of personhood they were unable to occupy. They did claim to occupy the category of epistemic subject prescribed by a nineteenth-century conception of objectivity. Furthermore, they did not see objectivity as necessarily cashed out in Western European masculine terms. Rather, they actively challenged men's claims to be objective, pointing out that men may well be biased when it comes to women. From this I conclude that there is nothing in the concept of objectivity that is inherently oppressive, or necessarily understood in masculine terminology. If objectivity is deemed to be an unhelpful concept, it cannot be done by relying on the idea that objectivity reinforces a Western European male perspective, and blocks other positions from being positions of knowledge. 10 Chapman, “'Are Women People?' Alice Duer Miller's Poetry and Politics,” 22. 152 At this point I have demonstrated that objectivity is not an inherently oppressive claim. But I also stated at the start of this chapter that part of the benefit of objectivity may be found in the category of knower that communities with a commitment to objectivity create. In particular, a knower who is committed and under obligation to self-examine is, I argue, a knower more likely to be receptive to challenges from others. Epistemic subjects under the obligation of objectivity may well know that they are not perfectly attaining the ideal of objectivity, as can be seen in the quotation from Ernst Haeckel given in Chapter Three. Constant reassessment must be made to try to restrain the subjective self. So, if an individual were charged as being biased, as suffragists like Miller did charge male anti-suffragists with being, these charges could not be dismissed out-of-hand. The epistemic subject who is committed to objectivity knows that s/he may have hidden biases. Upon being charged in such a fashion, the subject must self-examine. Since this is what I claim, I need to examine the response to the suffrage movement. After all, it took over fifty years of campaigning before suffrage was granted to women. So, is the commitment to the ideal of objectivity really a commitment to occupy a category of self-reflective person? If so, did the anti- suffragists self-reflect when challenged by the suffrage movement? To answer these questions, I look briefly at a self-reported conversion experience from a member of the US senate in 1918. 4.2.1. The Response There are few conversion stories in the story of suffrage. Often we do not know what caused a person to change his or her mind regarding the suffrage debate, and 153 so we often are not able to discern what role the ideal of objectivity may have played in an individual coming to change his mind. But we do know what to look for. In an era of value-free and aperspectival objectivity, as the turn of the twentieth century largely was, one would look for an individual who talked of finding biases, values, or individual quirks that had led him or her to hold the view that he or she did. Those values, biases or quirks would have likely been overlooked, and not recognized as such, until the challenge came from the suffrage movement. Then, under obligation to self-examine in the face of opposition, an individual might identify these values, biases or individual quirks and try to remove them in an effort, once again, to strive for objectivity and to legitimately claim to be the type of epistemic subject prescribed by a commitment to objectivity. As I've said, there are very few historical examples of people coming to a decision regarding suffrage. Prominent political figures seem to represent themselves as having always held a certain view. I will look at one conversion story. Based on this story I think I can claim that objectivity can and did play a role in converting some individuals to the support of woman suffrage. This does not claim that there were no other ways that men might have changed their minds. All I will show here is the more modest claim that objectivity can facilitate the adoption of minority views because of the type of epistemic subject a community with a commitment to objectivity creates. William F. Kirby was a Democrat and a member of the U.S. Senate who represented Arkansas in 1918. Kirby was educated as a lawyer in 1885, and ran a law firm with his father in Arkansas. In 1910 he was elected to the Arkansas supreme court and in 1916 he gained a seat on the U.S. Senate. As a senator, Kirby was a 154 strong supporter of agricultural values, and made a name for himself by being one of only five senators who voted against Woodrow Wilson's decision to enter WW1.11 In September 1918 the senate was debating the proposed amendment to the US constitution to grant suffrage to women for the second time. This debate would continue until June 1919 when it would finally pass.12 However, in this record of the proceedings of the senate on September 30th 1918, Kirby gave a speech in support of women's suffrage where he illuminated some of the reasons why he, personally, supported the resolution. Kirby compares the issue of suffrage for women to other places where women were breaking with tradition and custom. In particular, he spoke of the growing trend of women in Arkansas riding astride a horse instead of the more customary side-saddle style of riding. He claimed that when he first saw women riding astride he was startled and it seemed wrong to him that women should ride astride instead of side-saddle. But afterwards I went out a little farther into the country, a little farther out west, where the same sort of custom did not obtain[the custom of riding side-saddle]; where it was different and the women rode astride. . . and it did seem to me, after I got to thinking about it, that it was the right practice and the natural thing to do; but I have never yet been able to get entirely over the sort of prejudice which was engendered in my mind in my early training.13 11 Richard Leverne Niswonger, “William F. Kirby, Arkansas's Maverick Senator” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly 37. No. 3. (1978): 252-263. 12 U.S. Congress, Congressional Record, 56:11, 58:1 (September 30th 1918, May 21st 1919, June 4th 1919). 13 U.S. Congress. Congressional Record 56. no 11 (September 1918 ): 10931-10932. Emphasis added. Though the suggested parallel between Kirby's reasoning on women's suffrage and his reasoning on women riding astride does suggest a conversion experience, there is no evidence that Kirby did once believe women should not vote in the same way he professes to have believed that women should not ride astride. However, even if Kirby did not have a conversion experience, he still deploys an early-twentieth century conception of objectivity to motivate his case. 155 Notice that here, in this quotation, Kirby drew a distinction between the way he felt about the practice of riding astride, and whether or not the practice was right or natural. He acknowledged that he had a pre-existing prejudice in favour of women riding side-saddle and claimed that this pre-existing prejudice was still with him, but he was able to step beyond the prejudice and recognize that riding astride made sense, even though his jurisdiction had a different custom from the west and even though he had a certain feeling about side-saddle riding. Kirby concluded that his prejudices and feelings and even previous custom did not license him in claiming that riding side-saddle is right. To put this in the language of objectivity, Kirby recognized that his community of Arkansas had an idiosyncrasy when it came to women riding horses and that he had been raised with this idiosyncratic way of looking at the situation. However, he was able to step beyond this perspective and attempt to occupy the category of epistemic subject necessitated by aperspectival objectivity. He recognized that riding astride worked well for other communities and that he had no non-idiosyncratic objection to it. Kirby compared the way he felt about horse-back riding to the way he felt about women voting. He claimed that the way one feels, or the traditions one holds dear, are not bases from which to marshal an objection to suffrage for women. While the suffrage question may be uneasy for men based on their training or prejudice, intellectually, Kirby thought that it was just as straightforward as the riding question. He argued that [i]t may be that some of us, just because of our training along particular lines are becoming fearful [of woman suffrage]. . . It is not so with me. There has never been, in my opinion, any reason from an intellectual standpoint why 156 women should not be allowed to vote.14 Here Kirby argued that, while some of his colleagues might feel uneasy or fearful, this was an emotional reaction which he attributed to a particular type of training (perhaps, given the horse analogy, he intended to imply cultural training here, or custom). However, objectivity necessitates that this type of emotional reaction—idiosyncratic since it depends on a particular type of training and situation—be set aside in favour of a more general intellectual position. From this general intellectual position, Kirby argued that there is no good reason why women should not be allowed to vote. In essence, Kirby admitted that he was uneasy with the growing changes to the traditional category of womanhood. However, he was able to identify this uneasiness as a personal idiosyncrasy, and step past it in order to consider what the suffragists were saying. If Kirby's account on September 30th 1918 was at all truthful, then one can conclude that an ideal of objectivity helped motivate his conversion to a supporter of the suffrage movement. Given this one example, one can conclude that there is nothing inherently oppressive about objectivity. Men with a commitment to objectivity could be brought, facilitated by that commitment, to view minority opinion favourably instead of silencing it outright. It wasn't just that the arguments employed by suffragists challenged men's claims to objectivity. Such a challenge brought with it an obligation to self-examination and self-policing on the part of those who recognized the challenge and these self-examinations could lead to a discovery of bias, value or idiosyncrasy. So, not only can objectivity give minorities a way to enter into epistemic debates, but it can also oblige that those who hold it as an ideal to listen to the minority. 14 U.S. Congress. Congressional Record 56. no 11 (September 1918 ): 10932. Emphasis added. 157 This is not to suggest that all who fall under such an obligation will undertake the task obliged of them. But if they do, and it seems clear that there is at least one case in which someone did, then objectivity can work in favour of minority opinion, not against it. The reasons that it can work in favour of minority opinion derive from the types of knowers a community with a commitment to the ideal of objectivity creates. These knowers are under obligation to self-reflect and self-police. They are obliged to be self-aware and to strive to identify and remove their own values and personal idiosyncrasies. When these values and idiosyncrasies are challenged by holders of minority views, those persons who aim to be epistemic subjects find themselves under an obligation to self-examine and remove the values in question if they are identified. This is just what Kirby reports that he did when faced with the issues of women riding astride instead of side-saddle and of women's suffrage. Thus I conclude that this past conception of objectivity has had ethical benefits for communities that adopted it as an ideal. These ethical benefits derive from the categories of knowers communities with an ideal of objectivity create. 4.2.2. Ethical Benefits of Objectivity in the Suffrage Movement The language of objectivity, if employed, opens the debate to minorities within one's own community, as well as those from other communities. But it does not open this debate indefinitely. The ideal of objectivity demands that one not hold a belief merely because it is traditional, or everyone else does, or one was unaware of holding the belief. One cannot retreat to ethnocentrism in the face of opposition (as one can, say, in Rorty's proposed alternative to the ideal). The ethical commitment to objectivity means that one is under an obligation to take one's opposition seriously 158 and evaluate oneself in light of their opinions. Of course, if one finds that one's opponents are not value-free, under the conditions of value-free objectivity, then their claims might be dismissed. However, if one's opponents can claim to challenge one's own ability to occupy the category of epistemic subject necessitated by a commitment to value-free objectivity, then it seems that they must be taken seriously, or one risks failing to hold the category of epistemic subject oneself. This is just what Kirby faced, when he faced the issue of women's suffrage. Objectivity not only allowed minorities a way to speak and obliges those in the majority to listen and consider, I have argued that it was one contributing factor in the growth of women's rights, certainly an ethical good upon which Rorty, Code and I can all agree. The ideal of objectivity also strengthened and sustained the suffragists in their long argument. Fifty years may seem like an intolerable amount of time, but changing categories of personhood happen slowly. But, in the case of the ideal of objectivity, there is a mutually recognized understanding of what the point of the conversation is. This gives minority dissenters an opportunity to engage in dialog and an audience under obligation to listen. The advantage of objectivity doesn't just stop at the category of personhood one's opposition occupies, a category that requires that every argument be taken seriously, at least initially. There is another advantage to objectivity. It gives holders of minority opinion a bit of support. They can claim that the facts are on their side. Suffragists, in the last twenty-to-thirty years of the debate, as they adopted the ideal of objectivity, could claim that it did not matter what the prevailing opinion was, or how well known and prestigious the speakers were who supported the anti-suffrage movement, nonetheless this movement was wrong and those who held it were 159 demonstrably not objective. Though the majority may not have initially agreed, this support from the facts and from interpreting these facts from the category of personhood prescribed by objectivity may have been enough to allow the suffragists to keep insisting that they be heard. It may give them the courage to sustain the argument for longer, giving them a better shot at changing categories of personhood. I am unconvinced that Rorty has provided any such support for those who hold minority opinion in his proposed alternative. This is why, as I suggested in Chapter Two, I speculate that supporters of Rorty's view, like Sharyn Clough, are unwilling to give up the ideal of objectivity. Wide-spread agreement fails the minority view. Objectivity does not. Thus, I have illustrated that there is at least one case in which the commitment to objectivity resulted in something that Rorty, Code, and I view as an ethical good. Indeed, with his liberal commitments to freedom and equality, Rorty must view this outcome as good. And yet, as I argue, this outcome was partially influenced by the ideal of objectivity. Thus, Rorty and Code cannot maintain that objectivity always serves to keep holders of minority opinion out of the epistemic debate. It does not. Rather, it can facilitate entry into the epistemic debate. This has been ethically beneficial in the past at least once. Rorty claimed that our use of the term 'objectivity' conflated what the term actually meant (wide-spread agreement) with what we thought we meant by the term (faithfully representing nature). This led to a silencing of minority opinion by the majority, in Rorty's view. For why should the majority be concerned with what the minority thinks when they already know the way nature really is? In the suffrage case, this would lead to the claim that women should not vote to be viewed as natural rather 160 than merely as a widely-held belief. Code claimed that objectivity was cashed out in western European masculine terminology and therefore excluded minority views as a matter of definition. In the suffrage case, this would amount to the majority view having license to disregard the minority because they were incapable of being objective knowers. The example above shows that neither of these views represents what actually happened. Both views focus on the way objectivity can be used by the majority to exclude minority opinion. Neither view looks at the way objectivity can be used by the minority in order to facilitate discourse, nor on how the ideal of objectivity can operate on individual epistemic subjects even within the majority. I do not mean to imply that the concerns that Rorty and Code have raised are not real. That objectivity might be used in the ways they suggest to silence the minority seems possible. However, it is not the only use of objectivity possible. I have argued that objectivity, as conceived of in the past as aperspectival and value-free, also places individuals under an obligation to self-examine when challenged and that objectivity gives holders of minority opinion a place to speak from and a way to challenge the majority's claims to knowledge by challenging the majority's claims to be objective themselves. I have suggested, and will continue to argue in the pages to come, that all past conceptions of objectivity, because of their focus on correcting a problematic aspect of subjectivity, carry with them a commitment to self-awareness and self-policing. Because of this, it is not the case that those who claim to be objective can, as a group, ignore challenges from minority perspectives. To do so is to ignore the obligation the community placed itself under when the community adopted the ideal of objectivity. It is to ignore the call to self-reflection and self-policing and the realization that one might have hidden biases and hidden values. This is not to suggest that we 161 may not choose to ignore this obligation, or leave it unfulfilled. This is true of any obligation. What I suggest here is that objectivity can be and has been, beneficial to minority opinions because of this obligation. Rorty's and Code's concerns fail to acknowledge this facet of the ideal. Furthermore, as I have argued in Chapter Two, Rorty's alternative to objectivity as an ideal seems to run the same risks of silencing the minority as the ideal itself runs, while offering none of the benefits to the minority position that I have illustrated here the ideal offers. Thus, even though Rorty's and Code's concerns are real, I find the benefits of the ideal of objectivity in terms of facilitating the entry of minority opinion into epistemic debate to outweigh these risks (which do not disappear were the ideal to be lost in any case). 4.3. The Bias-Stalemate Since I have claimed that the concept of objectivity is an ideal, not perfectly attained even when aimed for, the result is that virtually no one has ever had a perspective that was free from the challenge of some hidden problems of subjectivity. So, some form of a stalemate may always be possible in various conceptions of objectivity, though what the stalemate is and where it is found will depend on the conception in question. In a value-free aperspectival conception of objectivity, the stalemate results from an identification of a perceived or real bias. The stalemate that is possible under a value-free aperspectival conception of objectivity is one I am calling the bias-stalemate. As will be shown at the end of this section, it is not the only stalemate possible, but it is the first stalemate I will address. The suffragists were successfully able to challenge their opponents' claims to objectivity, but not all such challenges work so effectively. In particular, it is possible, 162 and has indeed occurred that groups with different perspectives and opinions charge each other with bias. If both sides are found to have hidden values and agendas, then what is to be done? It looks as though, in these cases, dialog would break down, and a stalemate would be reached. Neither side would be able to effectively challenge the other, since both have lost the position of authority, the objective one. This occurrence in which each side charges the other with having a hidden bias, or a hidden agenda, and hence questions the other's claim to be objective, is what I am calling the bias- stalemate. I have just argued that objectivity is beneficial for minorities, but it seems quite likely that the opposite could have occurred in our history. The suffragists and the anti-suffragists might have reached a bias-stalemate from which neither side was able to progress. In the example I presented from Proctor's Cancer Wars in Chapter Three, Wildavsky claimed that environmentalists had a hidden agenda.15 It is quite likely that the environmentalists could counter-claim that Wildavsky also had a hidden agenda. That is, under an ideal of value-free objectivity, neither Wildavsky nor the environmentalists were free from values, or to put it in more negative terminology, free from bias. Thus, neither side could claim to be objective in a value-free sense. This lets both sides off the hook, so to speak. Environmentalists do not have to take Wildavsky seriously, since he has failed to be objective, and Wildavsky need not take the environmentalists seriously, since they are also not objective. So, while the ideal of objectivity initially supported dialog between Wildavsky and the environmentalists, this dialog stalemated once each side was able to dismiss the other. Certainly a similar situation could have resulted in the suffrage case. Suffragists had an agenda, 15 Proctor, Cancer Wars, 92. 163 to gain votes for women. There were many different reasons this agenda was valued, one being the hope that women would support prohibition.16 Anti-suffragists also had an agenda, to prevent women from voting. One reason why this anti-suffrage agenda was valued was because anti-suffrage women feared a loss of power and influence they enjoyed as upper-class women married and related to influential men.17 Thus, both sides could charge the other with bias. Since each side would have, in this fictional scenario, identified a hidden bias in the other, each side would have determined that the other was not value-free.18 Thus, each side could conclude that the other was not occupying the category of epistemic subject prescribed by a community holding an ideal of value-free objectivity, and so each side could ignore the other's claims. This is what I am calling a bias-stalemate. A bias-stalemate happens when each side in a debate discounts the position of the other on the basis that it is failing to live up to the ideals of the value-free aperspectival conception of objectivity, and dialog therefore breaks down.19 If the value-free conception of objectivity has the power to make dialog break down, then why do I claim it was 16 Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood, 160. Graham, Women's Suffrage and the New Democracy, 70-71. 17 Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood, 220. 18 I call the scenario fictional because, as we know, ultimately the suffragists were successful in their dialogs with their opponents. There surely were bias-stalemates between different groups of interlocutors during the suffrage movement, but they did not bring the discussion to a halt in the way a wide-spread bias-stalemate might. 19 Louise M. Anthony in her paper “Quine as Feminist” has identified a similar phenomenon she refers to as the bias paradox. Roughly, Antony claims that the bias paradox is a particular worry for feminist epistemologists, since they claim that biases are not all negative, but still want to object to male biases. The problem, then, becomes adjudicating between biases, which are good and which are to be discounted. (See Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 554-555). This is distinct from a bias- stalemate as Antony points out that “the problem about bias that I want to discuss will only be recognized as a problem by individuals who are critical, for one reason or another, of one standard conception of objectivity.” (Antony, “Quine as Feminist,” 554). However, in the case of the bias- stalemate, neither party need be critical of the current conception of objectivity. In the case of the suffrage movement, both sides are aiming to be seen as aperspectival and value-free, neither is questioning the way objectivity is understood, and yet both sides may charge the other with bias. Thus, while the bias-stalemate resembles the bias paradox Antony identifies, they are not the same phenomenon. 164 ethically beneficial to hold this ideal? Though it may look detrimental to minority opinion on the surface, I propose to show that the bias-stalemate is actually one of the mechanisms driving the concept of objectivity forwards into new and different conceptions. In reacting to the bias- stalemate some communities are raising a new understanding of the subjective self, and hence developing a new conception of the concept of objectivity. Focusing on the work by Helen Longino, I will argue that her suggested re-conceptualization of objective knowledge in terms of the community can be seen to be motivated from just these kind of bias-stalemate concerns. The bias-stalemate possibility I noted above occurs within a community. In the suffrage case, both those advocating for suffrage for women and those opposed were in the political arena debating the constitution of the USA. It was an American matter, being debated internally by the United States community. Clough also notes that feminist scientists and mainstream scientists may have been headed towards a bias- stalemate. As discussed in Chapter Three, Clough claims that feminist philosophers of science are engaged in the business of challenging the traditional account of objectivity. Thus, they are calling their opponents' values into question. Feminist scientists often engage in pointing out hidden values in mainstream scientific theories that bias scientific knowledge and ignore the perspectives and lives of women. However, Clough notes that, from the initial position of challenging the norm, feminist scientists are quickly drawn into epistemic debates about whether they themselves are objective.20 That is, by challenging the mainstream and charging mainstream 20 Clough, Beyond Epistemology, 18-22. 165 scientists with a bias against women, feminist scientists leave themselves open to the challenge of having a bias in favour of women. I agree with Clough that feminist scientists who make this move under a value-free account of objectivity do leave themselves open to the charge of bias. Because of this concern and other areas where bias-stalemates may and have occurred, the value-free conception of objectivity is itself being re-thought. One can see evidence of this in the work of Helen Longino. 4.3.1. Moving Past Biases and the Problem of Community One of Helen Longino's goals is to make space in the scientific discourse for minority voices, including feminists. Her focus is on the scientific community, and one of her aims is to ensure that minority opinion within the scientific community is heard. In my analysis, this space for minority opinion is being threatened by the bias- stalemate. While some discourse was obligated under old accounts of objectivity, it was not necessarily sustained. Discourse could break down if the bias-stalemate occurred. To combat this and for other reasons to be discussed shortly, Longino argues that dissent is required for the creation of knowledge. Longino thinks, much as Mill did, that dissent is good for knowledge because dissent allows for criticism and critical dialog. If we have dissent, it is possible to have criticism, and thus to challenge and strengthen or discard our beliefs in light of these criticisms. Without dissent, criticism is not possible. Her claim, as reported by Alan Richardson and Miriam Solomon in their review of her work, is that “good critical dialog can transform opinion into knowledge.”21 Since knowledge is social, on Longino's account individuals can 21 Miriam Solomon and Alan Richardson, “A Critical Context for Longino's Critical Contextual Empiricism” Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 36, no.1 (2005): 212. 166 maintain values and still contribute to knowledge production through dissent and criticism. The important issue for Longino is to establish that opposing views are a necessary component of the production of knowledge. If a community of scientists achieves objective knowledge, Longino argues that it is because of (not in spite of) the differing values of individual community members. For Helen Longino, knowledge itself is impermanent. What we know right now may be very different from what was known in the past, or what will be known in the future. To say something is known does not mean that it will never turn out to be a false belief. Societies negotiate what counts as knowledge. As Longino states: A consequence of embracing the social character of knowledge is the abandonment of the ideals of certainty and permanence of knowledge. Since no epistemological theory has been able to guarantee the attainment of those ideals, this seems a minor loss.22 One of the defining features of Longino's theory, then, seems to be impermanence. What counts as good science or bad science is negotiated by a community, and so it changes as the community negotiations progress. So, Longino, in agreement with the history presented in the last chapter from Daston and Galison, does not seem to be searching for permanent truth or certainty. The account of objectivity Longino develops in her two books, Science as Social Knowledge, and The Fate of Knowledge, is not one given to clean mirrors or span gaps. Rather, it is an account that she finds necessary in order to safeguard a place in scientific discourse for minority voices and to correctly conduct scientific investigation. This should not lead 22 Helen Longino, Science as Social Knowledge; Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry, (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990), 232. 167 one to conclude that Longino thinks her account of knowledge is all social and has nothing to do with the natural world. Longino, in her later work The Fate of Knowledge, expressly rejects a social/rational dichotomy. For Longino, allowing values and social norms into the debate does not mean that a community's knowledge-production practices have ceased to be rational.23 In particular, she argues that acknowledging the social role in the production of knowledge does not result in an endorsement of relativism. Longino holds that there is ambiguity about which scientific theories to choose in order to explain a particular phenomenon, but this does not amount to arbitrariness. It amounts to underdetermination. If a theory is unsuitable, reality will “bite back” and it will become clear that the theory does not work.24 So, on Longino's account reality cannot be ignored. The interests of the community need to combine with reality in order to determine whether a theory is successful. In order to understand how Longino's theory is a response to the bias- stalemate as it arises within a community, one needs to understand the procedure by which Longino thinks objective knowledge is generated. Longino lays out four norms that she urges a community must adopt for the social generation of objective knowledge. 1) There need to be recognized avenues for criticisms, such as peer- reviewed journals. 2) There need to be shared standards among the members of the scientific community. Criticisms that are offered must be relevant in some way. The standards determine this relevance, but are open to community interpretation, such that no two communities may have exactly the same take on these standards. 3) The 23 Helen Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 90-91. 24 Longino, The Fate of knowledge,119. 168 community must respond to the criticisms offered. This doesn't necessarily mean recanting a theory that is criticized, but it does mean defending against the criticism. 4) There needs to be equality of intellectual authority. Everyone within a scientific community, regardless of their ethnicity, social status, or gender, must be able to enter the epistemic discourse, no one can be kept out based on political or religious reasons alone.25 In her later book, The Fate of Knowledge, Longino revised this last requirement. She recognized that not all individuals' or subgroups' criticisms counted equally, and it is not necessary to respond in all cases. In particular, it seems that scientists at the cutting edge of their field would be slowed down if they had to respond equally to first-year science students as to their peers. This seems both unhelpful and unnecessary. So, Longino revised the requirement that scientific communities be democratic and equal with a concept of 'tempered equality' which recognizes that there are times when absolute equality is neither possible nor desirable.26 Longino recognizes that the concept of tempered equality needs to be more clearly articulated. In particular, the question of who counts as belonging to a community needs to be clarified. She acknowledges this as an area that still needs work in her theory, but that was beyond the focus of The Fate of Knowledge.27 Longino explains why she argues for the inclusion of a variety of individual values and perspectives in The Fate of Knowledge. The critical dimension of cognition is a social dimension, requiring the participation of multiple points of view to insure that the hypotheses accepted by a community do not represent someone's idiosyncratic interpretation of 25 Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 76-79. 26 Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, 131. 27 Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, 133. 169 observational or experimental data.28 The reason we need multiple points of view, according to Longino, is in order to ensure that no one idiosyncratic point of view is accepted as knowledge. In other words, Longino's account is endorsing a form of aperspectival objectivity, though she does not use this language. However, on Longino's account this is non-individual. It is social. An individual does not come to approach the category of epistemic knower prescribed by a community of scientists who hold aperspectival objectivity as an ideal by working on herself by herself. Self-reflection and self-policing are not the only obligations prescribed by the ideal. Rather, what is necessary is critical dialog. Instead of policing ourselves, we police each other. This is where the social aspect of Longino's account comes into play, and it is why values are so important. Values lead to different perspectives, which leads to a challenging of each other's perspectives, which could serve to highlight idiosyncratic views that the community as a whole is unwilling to endorse. Longino claims that Effective critical interactions transform the subjective into the objective, not by canonizing one subjectivity over others, but by assuming that what is ratified as knowledge has survived criticism from multiple points of view.29 For Longino, multiple points of view serve as a sort of trial to ensure that the claims that survive are not so idiosyncratic or otherwise divergent as to not be acceptable to the community. The removal of idiosyncratic perspectives is done by the community, not by the individuals that hold those perspectives. Individuals are not under an obligation to self-police in isolation. Rather, they are under an obligation to express 28 Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, 107. Emphasis added. 29 Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, 122. 170 their views, defend their views, and respond to criticism. Under the old account of objectivity an individual's values risked inviting the skeptic, undermining her position, and possibly resulting in a bias-stalemate with her opponent. Under Longino's account of objectivity in terms of the community, individuals do not invite the skeptic by expressing values. These values allow for dissent, which is key to the production of knowledge. Longino, with her stress on the importance of individual values, suggests a way to move beyond the threat of the bias-stalemate. The original aim of aperspectival objectivity, as Daston reports, was to allow communication among different individuals. During the suffrage movement and even until quite recently, it seemed that most epistemic communities were operating with a hybrid notion of objectivity, something combining the requirements of aperspectival and value-free objectivity. Longino's suggestion is still, by-and-large, an aperspectival objectivity. But it is no longer necessary for an individual to achieve a perspectiveless perspective alone. Call it 'Community-directed aperspectival objectivity'. The community will approach non-idiosyncratic, objective knowledge without the individuals necessarily losing their idiosyncratic perspectives. That can be accomplished by a community of individuals engaged in critical dialog to expose each others' values and idiosyncrasies and negotiate a form of knowledge that is itself more perspectiveless, or at least more open to various perspectives. Longino's suggestion also addresses the Weberian prescription of value- freedom. She claims that values should not be removed from all epistemic discourse. Values are necessary not only for directing epistemic inquiry, but also as a way of 171 challenging each other. No one is value-free and no one should strive to be, according to Longino.30 However Longino argues that values held by an entire group may go unnoticed. We forget that the values even exist and we tend to assume that we are not biased. Values are usually exposed and reflected upon when the group that holds them is challenged. 31 While it may be possible for a group to identify its own widespread values, a challenge from a perspective holding different values is, Longino seems to suggest, the usual way that values get exposed. Thus, though there is no call to be value-free, Longino does seem to stress the importance of value-awareness and stress that this awareness is facilitated by critical dialog. In Science as Social Knowledge she gives the example of man-the-hunter and woman- the-gatherer.32 Longino argues that, prior to the hypothesis of woman-the-gatherer as a theory of tool-use in archaeology, man-the-hunter was the normal and accepted theory. It was a framework that constrained and informed the knowledge produced by and within the community. However, with the introduction of woman-the-gatherer, background assumptions operating in the generation of both frameworks suddenly came to the foreground. When two theories are competing, as these two are now, it becomes evident how much each is informed by background androcentric or gynocentric assumptions respectively. Longino finds a value in this challenge and negotiation. 30 In this way, Longino's suggested revision of the concept of objectivity fits with Antony's identified second common strategy of challenging objectivity. 31 Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 80. This is reminiscent of Thomas Gieryn's study of boundary work discussed in Chapter Two. One might well imagine that the reason sociologists and philosophers have been unable to recognize this middle path is because they have been engage in defining themselves in opposition to each other in order to establish the boundaries of each community and exclude each other. 32 This example has already been raised in conjunction with the discussion of Sharyn Clough's work in Chapter Three of this dissertation. 172 The availability of (at least) two different frameworks both keeps the gap open as far as nonpartisan observers are concerned and reminds us of the need for background assumptions to secure the relevance of data to specific hypothesis.33 Longino argues that the data does not clearly support either the man-the-hunter or woman-the-gatherer framework better.34 Both are equally well supported by the data. Thus, the operation of background assumptions, values, and beliefs are highlighted in these disagreements and it is recognized not only that everyone has background assumptions, but that these assumptions are necessary in order for a choice to be made in this case, and several like it. Because of underdetermination, the data alone are rarely enough to fix a decision between competing frameworks or theories. The distance between evidence and hypothesis is not closed by more fossil data, by better anatomical and physiological knowledge, by principles from the theory of evolution, nor by common-sensical assumptions. It remains an invitation to further theorizing.35 From this, I conclude that Longino's primary aim in her 1990 book, Science as Social Knowledge is to point out the necessity and value of biases, values and background assumptions. Thus, a bias-stalemate cannot occur. However, it seems evident that, at some point, some sort of decision regarding man-the-hunter and woman-the-gatherer should be able to be made. The quotation above indicates to me that, if and when this 33 Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 111. 34 Notice that the way Longino deals with the example of the man-the-hunter versus woman-the- gatherer in archaeology is different from Clough's discussion of the example. Longino uses it as an example of the underdetermination of evidence. In contrast Clough argues that, because of the systematic exclusion of the role of women in the history of archaeology, the woman-the-gatherer scenario is better supported than the man-the-hunter one. 35 Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 111. 173 decision is made, our recognition of the gap between evidence and hypothesis should render this decision as provisional. Were man-the-hunter to win over woman-the- gatherer in the negotiated discourse within the community (or were a more gender- neutral theory to overcome both of these gendered theories, as Longino expresses a hope for36) then this win would not be the end of the debate. It could only ever be a provisional win, since the gap, and therefore the invitation to theorize would remain. There are troubling aspects with Longino's theory. It is far from clear how consensus is reached, or exactly when it is deemed that a community has produced knowledge. Nor is it clear what happens to those individuals who dissent once the community has produced knowledge. Since knowledge is only provisional, presumably dissent is still possible. But equally presumably, in virtue of norm number three above (that responses must be given to criticism) the dissent offered cannot be a static dissent. It must change and respond to claims of knowledge from the community (and once it has, the community must also respond). One wonders whether this amounts to tyranny of the majority. These, and other concerns have been raised against Longino's account. While I acknowledge these concerns, and share many of them, what I want to draw out from Longino's account is the focus on values and biases as legitimate and necessary parts of scientific discourse. Thus, while Longino's account is far from complete, it does successfully challenge the bias- stalemate by pointing to the need for biases, and claiming that dissent is necessary in order to invite reflection on these biases. Though individuals are not under obligation to remove biases, Longino's 36 Longino, Science as Social Knowledge, 111. 174 account of objectivity still carries ethical commitments with it. Individuals who adopt this value of objectivity will need to reflect on themselves in order to identify and consider their values in light of criticism. The role of self-examination and the need for challenges from others in order to invite this examination are all still functioning. What has changed is the ultimate goal and mechanism of the reflection. For Longino, the individual does not need to attempt to remove all values. Rather, she attempts to be aware of them and respond to criticisms. One can imagine that this might, at times, require a re-evaluation of specifically held values, but not necessarily a removal of them. Furthermore, she is brought to this awareness not merely through self-directed policing, but through critical dialog with others. The regimes by which a community determines that objectivity be aimed at have changed in Longino's account. They are no longer individual regimes of self-policing. Individuals now police each other. Longino's account also carries ethical and epistemic commitments for the community that adopts it in a more overt fashion than previous accounts of objectivity have given. While previous accounts of objectivity have, according to Daston and Galison, always been a matter of a community's commitment to an ideal, Longino make this explicit. Objectivity is not only a community ideal, but it is a community ideal that applies at the level of the community, not, or not only, at the level of the individuals. Individuals may choose to alter their values or discard them once the values are exposed and the individuals can reflect on them, but they are not under any specific obligation to do so. Individuals who have adopted Longino's account of objectivity become epistemic subjects that strive to acknowledge their values, acknowledge their 175 opposition's values, and engage in a debate with their opposition while adhering to the four norms adopted by their community. In doing so, these epistemic subjects contribute to the community's generation of knowledge. But the struggle is not only an act of self-policing. In Longino's account, we not only police ourselves, but we also police each other.37 In fact, we are brought to police ourselves through policing each other. We need each other in order to make epistemic progress. As such, we are not so ready to discredit each other. The initial bias-stalemate noted at the start of this section is averted because of this need of opposition built into Longino's account, and adopted by epistemic subjects who subscribe to Longino's account.38 Because individuals or groups within the scientific community could have hidden biases and assumptions, dissent is necessary in order to trigger reflection. Indeed, her 2002 book, The Fate of Knowledge does more than suggest that a group within a community could have unrecognized values, but that entire communities could. She tries to bring together sociological and philosophical accounts of knowledge production and argues that sociologists and philosophers have been so busy defining themselves in opposition to each other that they have failed to recognize a middle path that incorporates both social and rational accounts of knowledge in a non-relativistic way.39 So, while there may be no need to remove one's values, Longino seems to suggest that being aware of one's own values allows 37 To some degree this policing of each other has always been there. However, Longino makes this policing explicit, and gives it a new purpose. It not only holds individuals accountable, it helps encourage discourse which aids in generating knowledge. 38 One puzzle for Longino's account is over when, exactly, one should give up one's values. When, on Longino's account, would an anti-suffragist's values regarding traditional gender roles need to be given up, or is it always productive to have dissent and criticism? Since Longino's view has moved to objective knowledge in terms of the community, the category of personhood occupied by the individual, and the specific obligations undertaken by the individual become a bit unclear. 39 Longino, Helen, The Fate of Knowledge 77-96. 176 one to consider fruitful alternatives that may go unrecognized as long as values are mistaken for facts. By moving to a discussion of community-wide hidden biases, Longino also anticipates the next stalemate that I see as a likely result of a Longino- type attempt at reconceptualizing of objectivity. 4.4. The Next Stalemate? While one type of bias-stalemate may be averted by Longino's account, this is not the end of our troubles. Individuals are value-aware, but the problems raised by feminist philosophers and the imagined history where the suffrage movement ended in a bias-stalemate highlight that the problems found in previous accounts of objectivity may go further than merely bias-stalemates within a community. Whole communities could question and undermine each others' beliefs. Take the case of Wildavsky and the environmentalists. In Chapter Three I argued that calling one's opponent biased is probably not a fruitful way to win them over. However, it may still be a fruitful way to end the debate. In Longino's account, individuals within a community cannot be kept out of discourse because of holding values or having a unique perspective. However, this is all within the scientific community and is guaranteed by the community's adherence to the four norms. Insofar as Wildavsky conceives himself as belonging to a different community from the environmentalists (as well he might), the option of a stalemate is still open. Wildavsky could claim that the environmentalists, as a group, have interpreted the four norms in an entirely different way (or perhaps he may question whether they indeed hold all four norms) and in general have an entirely different agenda from his own, such that engaging in dialog with them would be a waste of time and is fruitless and unnecessary. The environmentalists might well say 177 the same thing of Wildavsky. Here, again, another stalemate has occurred, though in this case it is not so much a bias-stalemate as a methods, or agenda stalemate. It is a stalemate occurring at the level of the community, not at the level of individuals. Whole communities are simply so different that they see no need in conversing with each other. This is exactly the kind of thing Rorty claimed we should do, divide the world into those whose opinions matter and those whose opinions do not matter. It results in a stalemate.40 Longino's account does not focus on dialog between communities, but is restricted to the scientific community. However, even though this is her focus, in discussing the dichotomy between sociological accounts of scientific knowledge and philosophical accounts of scientific knowledge, Longino tacitly recognizes that there are problems that need to be addressed in inter-community dialog. In fact, her discussion of the sociologists and philosophers in terms of a dichotomy may even leave itself open to a Gieryn-type analysis. Sociologists, according to Longino, characterize knowledge as non-individual (i.e. social), non-monist (i.e. there are multiple, or plural accounts of knowledge that fit the data) and relativist (no account is better than any other). Philosophers, according to Longino, tend to characterize knowledge as individual, monist (there is only one correct theory) and nonrelativist (one account is better than all the others). By contrast, as can be seen from the discussion above, and as Longino reports, she wants to endorse a claim that is nonindividual, nonmonist and nonrelativist.41 One might think that a reason sociologists and philosophers define their understanding of knowledge in these terms 40 Elisabeth Lloyd, in her article “Objectivity and the Double Standard for Feminist Epistemologies,” seems especially concerned with this possibility. One aim of the article is to convince mainstream epistemologists that feminist epistemologists have the same agenda as mainstream epistemologists, and so cannot be ignored. 41 Longino, The Fate of Knowledge, 91. 178 is precisely in order to differentiate themselves from each other. They are different communities, engaged in different studies, employing different methods with different frameworks, and so can ignore each other. So, while the individual bias-stalemate is averted in Longino's account, the possibility of a methods or agenda stalemate occurring at the level of the community is still a live option. Alison Wylie has seen this problem as it arises in her own field, philosophy of anthropology. She argues that whole communities need to engage in discourse with other communities. In her discussion of the hidden assumptions archaeologists have when conducting scientific investigations, Wylie argues that these community-wide hidden assumptions are best brought to light by interactions with another community, much as Longino argues that individual background beliefs and values are best brought to light and tested by engaging in discourse with other individuals. Wylie says that communities need to be aware of not only their differences, but also of their shared assumptions.42 These also need to be questioned. In sum, Wylie's argument claims that it is not only individuals that need to be self-reflective and self-aware, but that whole communities must strive to be aware of their background beliefs and assumptions. In Wylie's assessment, it is not only individual values that may be a threat to inching closer to the ideal of objectivity. Communities may have a community-wide perspective complete with community-wide idiosyncrasies and community-wide values. These might contribute to community-wide weaknesses. Because most of the individuals engaged in discourse in a given community will likely share this 42 Alison Wylie,“Questions of Evidence, Legitimacy, and the (Dis)Unity of Science” American Antiquity 65. no. 2 (2000): 233. 179 community perspective, they may not be as able to reflect on it. Wylie advocates that communities seek out and engage in discourse with other communities in order to identify and examine these community-wide perspectives. In effect, she advocates that communities themselves become value-aware by engaging in discourse with opposing communities. What Longino advocates with reference to the individual (the need for dissent and reflection) Wylie advocates with reference to the community. She stresses inter-community dialog between archaeologists and historians, and between anthropologists and the (usually Aboriginal) populations under study. Dialog needs to take place between communities if community-wide values are to be examined and questioned. With regards to the dialog between archaeologists and Aboriginal people, Wylie states that: In particular, Native Americans object that archaeology continues a long tradition of cultural and scientific imperialism; they see archaeologists as nothing more than glorified looters. Much archaeological research is undeniably destructive, and this destruction serves what Native Americans regard as the parochial concerns of a narrowly defined interest group, most of whose members have little connection to the cultural heritage they study and who do, in fact, derive financial and other economic and social benefits from the exploitation of the archaeological record. In effect, archaeologists are foxes who have set themselves up to guard the chicken coop: they are primary users of the archaeological record who establish their priority of access to it by claiming that they are properly its guardians. From the point of view of Native American critics, the distinction between archaeological and commercial interests in the record is unsustainable precisely because they reject the second presupposition identified above: they do not regard archaeological 180 investigation as the source of an understanding of the cultural past that has intrinsic value for all people.43 In this passage, Wylie points out that not all communities may share the same values, or agree on what values are basic and intrinsic. In particular, Aboriginal communities have, by and large, a particular view on archaeology, and part of what informs this view is a divergence of opinion on what is accepted as an intrinsic value between Aboriginal communities and archaeological communities. Archaeologists defined themselves in terms of the intrinsic value of gathering knowledge and preserving the past. So, for archaeologists, preserving artifacts in museums is serving their primary value, preserving knowledge and understanding for future generations of humanity. By contrast, for some Aboriginal groups, valuing and preserving the past in this way is not viewed as an intrinsic value. Wylie reports that in some cases what is classified by archaeologists as archaeological material, belonging to a dead culture, is viewed as very much a part of a cultural practice that is still alive for an Aboriginal culture. So, even in the case of background assumptions about what counts as the past, archaeologists and Aboriginal communities may differ. On Longino's account, there is still a possibility of a stalemate between these two communities, just as there was between Wildavsky's community and environmentalists, because both communities have different agendas and methods. The archaeologists want to preserve the past, and the method they use for this is to store artifacts in a museum. An Aboriginal group may not view the artifacts in the museum as belonging to the past, or they may not view the act of placing an artifact in a museum as a way to 43 Alison Wylie, “Ethical Dilemmas in Archaeological Practice; The (Trans)Formation of Disciplinary Identity” Thinking From Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology (Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002), 242. 181 preserve the past. The agendas and methods of these two groups differ, leaving the door open for another stalemate. Wylie's point about the disparity over values between archaeologists and aboriginals raises the point that these community-wide practices need to be questioned, and highlights the concern over how they are to be questioned. Wylie's work challenges Longino's reconceptualization of objectivity, and points out where stalemates can still occur. But Wylie does not put forth a competing conception of objectivity. This is not her aim in writing philosophy of archaeology. However, in pointing out the challenges communities face and the risk of what, in my terminology, is another stalemate, Wylie points to the current problems being faced with a Longino-type conception of objectivity that focuses on discourse within a community. There is another concern about community-wide dialog that Wylie highlights: this is the issue of trust. Wylie notes that many Aboriginal groups view archaeologists with mistrust. Given the history of archaeology, and the resistance archaeologists have shown in the past to discussing Aboriginal concerns, aboriginals do not trust the archaeological community, and with good reason. They do not share the same values, and yet they are both concerned with the same things, same cultural sites, and same artifacts. Little dialog has been broached in the past, and archaeologists have historically been associated with colonialism and imperialism, both of which have used exploitative practices on Aboriginal communities. Trust has broken down. One reason for the difficulty of inter-community dialog is that often communities do not trust or respect each other. Gieryn has shown us, as discussed in Chapter Three, that communities will draw their borders so as to exclude others. Borders exclude those who are not interested in the same things or who are perceived to be 182 unqualified to discuss the interests of those, the members of the community, drawing the border. Often this is a marker of a lack of respect for those outside the community borders, insofar as it has been determined that their opinions do not matter. This was certainly the case in Gieryn's noted example of the demarcation of science from religion. This also seems to be Wildavsky's intention in discrediting the environmentalists. So, trust may break down in two ways. Either communities with already existing borders fail to show respect for each other, and thus trust is lost (this seems to be the case in the archaeologists and Aboriginal communities case, archaeologists failed to show respect to Aboriginal groups), or communities draw borders purposely in order to exclude those they do not respect (as in the case of Wildavsky and the environmentalists). In her article “The Promise and Perils of an Ethics of Stewardship,” Wylie argues that these questions of trust and inter-community dialog have often been viewed as secondary concerns. They were viewed as issues of a lesser importance than research and method, which were thought to be the primary activities of archaeologists. Research funds put towards issues of trust and dialog were viewed as funds wasted.44 However, as archaeology came under fire from Aboriginal groups, and the government, as well as the public in general, this stance had to be rethought. Wylie argues that archaeology used to conceive of itself as caring for artifacts and preserving them for study by future generations. They saw themselves as searching for Truth, with a capital T, and as preserving artifacts for the human race and the public good. Of course, this story could not neglect the fact that many members of the public, such as Aboriginal groups, did not feel that the archaeologists were acting in 44 Alison Wylie, “The Promise and Perils of an Ethic of Stewardship,” Embedding Ethics eds. Lynn Meskell and Peter Pels, (New York: Berg 2005), 52. 183 their interests or for their good. Wylie reports that the standard response to these views was the following: Appeals to a public interest made within the framework of this fiction [the fiction that archaeology is preserving artifacts for the public good] are appeals to the interests that all citizens would have, counterfactually, if they were to transcend the dogmatic conventions of lesser cultural forms. 45 Essentially archaeologists claimed that their community's values, knowledge claims and norms trumped those of indigenous groups because indigenous groups were dogmatic, i.e. not objective. They imply that they themselves are objective by claiming that their position is the one others would adopt if they could transcend troubling aspects of their own subjectivity. This is the exact use of the concept of objectivity that Rorty and Code were both concerned with. Objectivity is being used, in this scenario, to silence minority opinion. Wylie responds to this position in the following way: Virtually every element of this argument is open to question, if not patently unsustainable, from the assumption about cultural evolution to the claims about the transcendent status of scientific knowledge.46 Wylie illustrates here that communities can serve to highlight values or assumptions that other communities might make or hold without question. By questioning these values or assumptions, Wylie argues that new fruitful avenues for research and for theory development can be found. Wylie argues that a “research tradition can be enriched by sustained interchange with values and interests that lie outside its insular boundaries.”47 This statement accords with what I think Longino intended to show by attempting to break down the dichotomy between sociologists and philosophers. By 45 Wylie, “The Promise and Perils of an Ethic of Stewardship,” 62. 46 Wylie,“The Promise and Perils of an Ethic of Stewardship,” 63. 47 Wylie,“The Promise and Perils of an Ethic of Stewardship,” 63. 184 engaging in dialog not only with the holders of minority view in one's own community, but with other communities, a scientific community has an opportunity to explore new areas of research, and new research methods. In short, inter-community dialog may not only be a good ethical move. It may be smart epistemically as well. Longino's theory moves us beyond the individual bias-stalemate. Under Longino's system, individuals in a shared community cannot discredit and disregard each other based on identifiable values or background beliefs alone. But new problems of personhood arise with this new category of the epistemic subject. In particular two new problems arise, the problem of trust and respect, and the problem of inter-community dialog and the risk of community-wide methods and agendas stalemates. I have demonstrated, relying on work from Alison Wylie, that these two problems are closely related. A loss of, or a refusal to, trust hurts the possibility of dialog between communities. It is this discussion to which I will turn in the next chapter. So, while Longino's account motivates a new conception of objectivity, and drives a new category of personhood, thus blocking intra-community bias-stalemates, the risk of inter-community stalemates becomes more salient as a result. These are problems which aren't new from the standpoint of the difficulty of engaging in inter- community dialog, but they are new from the perspective of what is required in order to be a responsible epistemic subject. Wylie's critique of archaeology and Aboriginal communities, and her theory of the need for inter-community dialog between these communities suggests a new ethical and epistemic commitment for the epistemic subject, a commitment not only to engage in dialog with those with differing values 185 within one's community, but also to actively seek to engage in discourse with those beyond one's community's borders. By examining the ideal of objectivity and problems that are identified with the category of epistemic subject prescribed by a given conception of that ideal, I have offered one explanation of why it is that Longino advocated for a community-directed account of objectivity. She may have done so in response to the problem of the bias- stalemate, made salient by the category of personhood created by the value-free aperspectival conceptions of objectivity that pre-date her own reconceptualization. Longino's reconceptualization of objectivity raises a new possibility of personhood, and new concerns, some of which Wylie is addressing. In particular, Longino's account depends on the community policing itself and on the community generating objective knowledge. However, Wylie's work should lead us to question the results of an account like this. Stalemates can still occur. Longino has moved us past the bias- stalemate, but inter-community stalemates are still possible, since the community is the entity charged with generating objective knowledge. This possibility of personhood still seems problematic, since the relationship between the individual obligations and the community obligations are unclear and since stalemates are still possible, even in cases where they seem less than desirable. So, theoretical moves in epistemology like Longino's, can be explained if one keeps the historical nature of objectivity in mind. Thus I suggest that not only is t
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Making up knowers : objectivity and categories of epistemic subjects Fellows, Jennifer Jill 2011
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