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Modeling the Gender Politics in Science

Elizabeth Potter
Hypatia
Vol. 3, No. 1, Feminism and Science 2 (Spring, 1988), pp. 19-33
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Hypatia, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3810049
Page Count: 15
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Modeling the Gender Politics in Science
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Abstract

Feminist science scholars need models of science that allow feminist accounts, not only of the inception and reception of scientific theories, but of their content as well. I argue that a "Network Model," properly modified, makes clear theoretically how race, sex and class considerations can influence the content of scientific theories. The adoption of the "corpuscular philosophy" by Robert Boyle and other Puritan scientists during the English Civil War offers us a good case on which to test such a model. According to these men, the minute corpuscles constituting the physical world are dead, not alive; passive, not active. I argue that they chose the principle that matter is passive in part because its contrary, the principle that matter is alive and self-moving, had a radical social meaning and use to the women and men working for progressive change in mid-seventeenth century England.

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