Abstract

A central claim of Longino's contextual empiricism is that scientific inquiry, even when “properly conducted”, lacks the capacity to screen out the inºuence of contextual values on its results. I'll show first that Longino's attack against the epistemic integrity of science suffers from fatal empirical weak- nesses. Second I'll explain why Longino's practical proposition for suppressing biases in science, drawn from her contextual empiricism, is too demanding and, therefore, unable to serve its purpose. Finally, drawing on Bourdieu's sociological analysis of scientific communities, I'll sketch an alternative view of scientific practice reconciling a thoroughly social view of science (such as Longino's) with a defense of its epistemic integrity.

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Author notes

Stéphanie Ruphy has a PhD in Astrophysics (Observatoire de Paris, 1997) and a PhD in Philosophy (Columbia University, 2004). She is As- sistant Professor in philosophy of science at the University of Provence, France. Recent publications include “Is the World Really “Dappled”? A Response to Cartwright's Charge against “Cross-Wise Reduction”.” Philosophy of Science 70: 57–67, 2003; “Why metaphysical abstinence should prevail in the debate on reductionism”, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 19, 105–121, 2005.