Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
2019 Karina M. Bucciarelli
This thesis explores how scientific knowledge claims can become distorted due to socially constructed conceptions of gender. Further, it delves into the key components of an epistemological framework that will minimize these distortions.
To set up the analysis, I first explore how ‘traditional’ scientific explanations of human fertilization map stereotypes of the passive female and the active male onto the scientific participation of the egg and the sperm in human reproduction, thus rendering this knowledge claim problematic. We then turn to arguments presented by prominent feminist epistemologists. I argue that in order to produce knowledge claims free of distortions due to problematic social conceptions, specifically of gender, we must engage in an epistemological framework that: 1) critically and systematically examines the subject of knowledge in relation to the object of knowledge, 2) actively diversifies inquirers as the perspectives of marginalized identities are important to informing where dominant narratives are failing to be objective and 3) acknowledges the role that values play in inquiry and promotes feminist values.
The framework presented is specifically derived from, and applicable to, knowledge distortions present in scientific inquiry but, importantly, can also inform individual epistemic relationships.
Bucciarelli, Karina, "A Feminist Epistemological Framework: Preventing Knowledge Distortions in Scientific Inquiry" (2019). Scripps Senior Theses. 1365.