women and deconstruction/construction in scien

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Sun Apr 14 21:47:58 EST 1996

In article <4kosg4$fdp at omnifest.uwm.edu>,
Patricia S. Bowne <pbowne at omnifest.uwm.edu> wrote:
>I was merely complaining about the fact that science's prestige
>had come under attack at the same time that women like myself
>were more readily admitted into the field, and that we had missed
>out on the change to be heroic scientists. I did not mean to
>indicate that women corrupted any field they joined, or that women
>were unheroic, or anything like that.


I think I was following you until you got into the "heroic model of
science."  I feel much the way you do concerning the value of trying
to achieve "objectivity" (even while recognizing that achieving 
absolute "objectivity" is going to be impossible).  But 
now we're getting into something else altogether:  what IS the
"heroic" model of science?  How does this relate to constructivism or

Can't one "believe" in "objective reality" without accepting a "heroic"
model of science?

I may not really know what you're talking about here, but the "heroic" 
model of science as I understood it always REALLY put me off.  Is it
the idea of "one man alone working in the lab?" or "man against nature?"
I could see where conceptions such as this could easily come under fire
by feminist critics, especially where "scientist" is considered "male"
and "nature" is considered "female."  

Or, does the "heroic" model of science have more to do with competition,
as in "hero beats out the competition in order to get the answer first?"
Whether this has specifically to do with feminism is murkier in my mind,
except that women have historically been actively discouraged from
competing, except in the narrow arena of physical attractiveness and/or
attraction of (male) mates.  But given what competition, when taken to
an extreme, has done to the atmosphere of science and to the psychological
well-being of its practitioners, is this "competitive" heroic model
something that women really want to emulate?

In short, what worth saving have we lost when we got rid of the "heroic
model of science?"


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