Is the scientific value of objectivity in conflict with the social justice commitment to diversity? In her latest book, Objectivity and Diversity: A New Logic of Scientific Inquiry (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Sandra Harding (Education and Gender Studies, UCLA) argues not only that objectivity and diversity need not be in conflict, but that good research ought to be committed to both values at the same time. The book draws on a rich array of scholarship, spanning from 20th century philosophy of science to contemporary studies in indigenous and postcolonial philosophy and activism. It is an intricate study of the ways in which objectivity, positivism, and secularism are all deeply intertwined with their social contexts and historical moments. The book ultimately advocates a science that is both responsive to a methodological requirement for strong objectivity, and originates in local communities.
Emily Crandall is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a current fellow at the Center for Global Ethics and Politics in the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, which co-sponsors the podcast.