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Cultures without Culturalism: The Making of Scientific Knowledge

Edited by
Karine Chemla
Karine Chemla

Karine Chemla is Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University Paris Diderot and University Paris Panthéon Sorbonne.

Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor Emerita of the History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Evelyn Fox Keller
Evelyn Fox Keller

Karine Chemla is Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, University Paris Diderot and University Paris Panthéon Sorbonne.

Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor Emerita of the History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Search for other works by this author on:
Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7309-4
Publication date:
2017
Book Chapter

What Is at Stake?

By
Published:
March 2017

The history of second-wave feminism provides a vivid illustration of the tensions between cultural essentialism and universalism and of the dangers associated with each pole. Perhaps from that history we can glean lessons of use to the project of this book. This chapter suggests the following: Scientific cultures manifestly vary over time and space. If their aim is to provide reliable knowledge about the material world in which one lives, then, to the extent to which those worlds are stable, continuous, and connected, judgment about the effectiveness, adequacy, or utility of different answers cannot be ignored. It is inevitable that scientific cultures vary, yet we must not forget that the worlds they seek to describe belong to a single planet.

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