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Alison Wylie
University of British Columbia
  1. Introduction: When Difference Makes a Difference.Alison Wylie - 2006 - Episteme 3 (1-2):1-7.
    Taking seriously the social dimensions of knowledge puts pressure on the assumption that epistemic agents can usefully be thought of as autonomous, interchangeable individuals, capable, insofar as they are rational and objective, of transcending the specificities of personal history, experience, and context. If this idealization is abandoned as the point of departure for epistemic inquiry, then differences among situated knowers come sharply into focus. These include differences in cognitive capacity, experience, and expertise; in access to information and the heuristics that (...)
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  2. Why Standpoint Matters.Alison Wylie - 2003 - In Robert Figueroa & Sandra G. Harding (eds.), Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology. Routledge. pp. 26--48.
    Feminist standpoint theory has been marginal to mainstream philosophical analyses of science–indeed, it has been marginal to science studies generally–and it has had an uneasy reception among feminist theorists. Critics of standpoint theory have attributed to it untenable foundationalist assumptions about the social identities that can underpin an epistemically salient standpoint, and implausible claims about the epistemic privilege that should be accorded to those who occupy subdominant social locations. I disentangle what I take to be the promising core of feminist (...)
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  3. Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology.Robert Chapman & Alison Wylie - 2016 - London: Bloomsbury Academic Publishing.
    Material traces of the past are notoriously inscrutable; they rarely speak with one voice, and what they say is never unmediated. They stand as evidence only given a rich scaffolding of interpretation which is, itself, always open to challenge and revision. And yet archaeological evidence has dramatically expanded what we know of the cultural past, sometimes demonstrating a striking capacity to disrupt settled assumptions. The questions we address in Evidential Reasoning are: How are these successes realized? What gives us confidence (...)
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  4. Feminist Philosophy of Science: Standpoint Matters.Alison Wylie - 2012 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophy Association 86 (2):47-76.
    Standpoint theory is an explicitly political as well as social epistemology. Its central insight is that epistemic advantage may accrue to those who are oppressed by structures of domination and discounted as knowers. Feminist standpoint theorists hold that gender is one dimension of social differentiation that can make such a difference. In response to two longstanding objections I argue that epistemically consequential standpoints need not be conceptualized in essentialist terms, and that they do not confer automatic or comprehensive epistemic privilege (...)
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  5. Standpoint Theory, in Science.Alison Wylie & Sergio Sismondo - 2015 - In James D. Wright (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). Elsevier. pp. 324-330.
    Standpoint theory is based on the insight that those who are marginalized or oppressed have distinctive epistemic resources with which to understand social structures. Inasmuch as these structures shape our understanding of the natural and lifeworlds, standpoint theorists extend this principle to a range of biological and physical as well as social sciences. Standpoint theory has been articulated as a social epistemology and as an aligned methodological stance. It provides the rationale for ‘starting research from the margins’ and for expanding (...)
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  6. Thinking From Things: Essays in the Philosophy of Archaeology.Alison Wylie - 2002 - University of California Press.
    In this long-awaited compendium of new and newly revised essays, Alison Wylie explores how archaeologists know what they know. -/- Preprints available for download. Please see entry for specific article of interest.
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  7. A Plurality of Pluralisms: Collaborative Practice in Archaeology.Alison Wylie - 2015 - In Jonathan Y. Tsou, Alan Richardson & Flavia Padovani (eds.), Objectivity in Science. Springer Verlag. pp. 189-210.
    Innovative modes of collaboration between archaeologists and Indigenous communities are taking shape in a great many contexts, in the process transforming conventional research practice. While critics object that these partnerships cannot but compromise the objectivity of archaeological science, many of the archaeologists involved argue that their research is substantially enriched by them. I counter objections raised by internal critics and crystalized in philosophical terms by Boghossian, disentangling several different kinds of pluralism evident in these projects and offering an analysis of (...)
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  8.  78
    How Archaeological Evidence Bites Back: Strategies for Putting Old Data to Work in New Ways.Alison Wylie - 2017 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 42 (2):203-225.
    Archaeological data are shadowy in a number of senses. Not only are they notoriously fragmentary but the conceptual and technical scaffolding on which archaeologists rely to constitute these data as evidence can be as constraining as it is enabling. A recurrent theme in internal archaeological debate is that reliance on sedimented layers of interpretative scaffolding carries the risk that “preunderstandings” configure what archaeologists recognize and record as primary data, and how they interpret it as evidence. The selective and destructive nature (...)
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  9. From the Ground Up: Philosophy and Archaeology, 2017 Dewey Lecture.Alison Wylie - 2017 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 91:118-136.
    I’m often asked why, as a philosopher of science, I study archaeology. Philosophy is so abstract and intellectual, and archaeology is such an earth-bound, data-driven enterprise, what could the connection possibly be? This puzzlement takes a number of different forms. In one memorable exchange in the late 1970s when I was visiting Oxford as a graduate student an elderly don, having inquired politely about my research interests, tartly observed that archaeology isn’t a science, so I couldn’t possibly be writing a (...)
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  10. Rethinking Unity as a "Working Hypothesis" for Philosophy: How Archaeologists Exploit the Disunities of Science.Alison Wylie - 1999 - Perspectives on Science 7 (3):293-317.
    As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against global (...)
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  11. Women in Philosophy: The Costs of Exclusion—Editor's Introduction.Alison Wylie - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (2):374-382.
    Philosophy has the dubious distinction of attracting and retaining proportionally fewer women than any other field in the humanities, indeed, fewer than in all but the most resolutely male-dominated of the sciences. This short article introduces a thematic cluster that brings together five short essays that probe the reasons for and the effects of these patterns of exclusion, not just of women but of diverse peoples of all kinds in Philosophy. It summarizes some of the demographic measures of exclusion that (...)
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  12. Archaeology and Critical Feminism of Science: Interview with Alison Wylie.Alison Wylie, Kelly Koide, Marisol Marini & Marian Toledo - 2014 - Scientiae Studia 12 (3):549-590.
    In this wide-ranging interview with three members of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sao Paolo (Brazil) Wylie explains how she came to work on philosophical issues raised in and by archaeology, describes the contextualist challenges to ‘received view’ models of confirmation and explanation in archaeology that inform her work on the status of evidence and contextual ideals of objectivity, and discusses the role of non-cognitive values in science. She also is pressed to explain what’s feminist about feminist (...)
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  13. Introduction: When Difference Makes a Difference.Alison Wylie - 2006 - Episteme 3 (1-2):1-7.
    Taking seriously the social dimensions of knowledge has put considerable pressure on the assumption that epistemic agents can usefully be thought of as autonomous, interchangeable individuals, capable, insofar as they are rational and objective, of transcending the specificities of personal history, experience, local context. If this idealization is abandoned as the point of departure for epistemic inquiry, then differences among concretely situated knowers come sharply into focus: differences in cognitive capacity, experience, and expertise; in access to information and the interpretive (...)
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  14. Introduction: Doing Archaeology as a Feminist.Alison Wylie - 2007 - Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 14 (3).
    Gender research archaeology has made significant contributions, but its dissociation from the resources of feminist scholarship and feminist activism is a significantly limiting factor in its development. The essays that make up this special issue illustrate what is to be gained by making systematic use of these resources. Their distinctively feminist contributions are characterized in terms of the recommendations for “doing science as a feminist” that have taken shape in the context of the long running “feminist method debate” in the (...)
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  15. Editor’s Pick: Hypatia.Alison Wylie - 2013 - The Philosophers' Magazine 62 (62):107-111.
    This article is a profile of the journal Hypatia for TPM: its founding, its mission, and central themes that figure in its close to 30 year publication history. When the first issues of Hypatia appeared in the mid-1980s they were the culmination, in the mid-1980s, of a decade-long process of visionary debate in the Society for Women in Philosophy (SWIP) about what form a journal of feminist philosophy should take, and extended discussion of how to make it a reality. The (...)
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  16. Unification and Convergence in Archaeological Explanation: The Agricultural “Wave-of-Advance” and the Origins of Indo-European Languages.Alison Wylie - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 34 (S1):1-30.
    Given the diversity of explanatory practices that is typical of the sciences a healthy pluralism would seem to be desirable where theories of explanation are concerned. Nevertheless, I argue that explanations are only unifying in Kitcher's unificationist sense if they are backed by the kind of understanding of underlying mechanisms, dispositions, constitutions, and dependencies that is central to a causalist account of explanation. This case can be made through analysis of Kitcher's account of the conditions under which apparent improvements in (...)
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  17. Material Evidence.Alison Wylie & Robert Chapman (eds.) - 2015 - New York / London: Routledge.
    How do archaeologists make effective use of physical traces and material culture as repositories of evidence? Material Evidence is a collection of 19 essays that take a resolutely case-based approach to this question, exploring key instances of exemplary practice, instructive failures, and innovative developments in the use of archaeological data as evidence. The goal is to bring to the surface the wisdom of practice, teasing out norms of archaeological reasoning from evidence. -/- Archaeologists make compelling use of an enormously diverse (...)
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  18.  72
    Epistemic Justice, Ignorance, and Procedural Objectivity—Editor's Introduction.Alison Wylie - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (2):233-235.
    The groundwork has long been laid, by feminist and critical race theorists, for recognizing that a robust social epistemology must be centrally concerned with questions of epistemic injustice; it must provide an account of how inequitable social relations inflect what counts as knowledge and who is recognized as a credible knower. The cluster of papers we present here came together serendipitously and represent a striking convergence of interest in exactly these issues. In their different ways, each contributor is concerned both (...)
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  19. Discourse, Practice, Context: From HPS to Interdisciplinary Science Studies.Alison Wylie - 1994 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:393 - 395.
    One of the most widely debated and influential implications of the "demise" of positivism was the realization, now a commonplace, that philosophy of science must be firmly grounded in an understanding of the history of science, and/or of contemporary scientific practice. While the nature of this alliance is still a matter of uneasy negotiation, the principle that philosophical analysis must engage "real" science has transformed philosophical practice in innumerable ways. This short paper is the introduction to a symposium presented at (...)
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  20.  36
    Interdisciplinary Practice.Alison Wylie - 2013 - In William Rathie, Michael Shanks, Timothy Webmoor & Christopher Witmore (eds.), Archaeology in the Making: Conversations Through a Discipline. Routledge. pp. 93-121.
    In commenting on the state of affairs in contemporary archaeology, Wylie outlines an agenda for archaeology as an interdisciplinary science rooted in ethical practices of stewardship. In so doing she lays the foundations for an informed and philosophically relevant “meta-archaeology.”.
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  21.  90
    Pornography Embodied: Joan Mason-Grant Remembered (1958–2009).Alison Wylie - 2011 - Hypatia 26 (1):130-131.
    When the cluster on “Sexual Expressions” began to take shape, one of the first people I thought of to serve as a referee was Joan Mason-Grant, given her longstanding philosophical and activist interest in pornography. It was with great sorrow that I learned, when I contacted her, that she had been diagnosed with a fast moving cancer. Joan was most interested to hear about this emerging “found cluster”; “it sounds like an interesting issue of Hypatia to look forward to, but (...)
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  22.  66
    Feminist Legacies/Feminist Futures: 25th Anniversary Special Issue—Editors' Introduction.Lori Gruen & Alison Wylie - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (4):725-732.
    This special issue marks the culmination of Hypatia's twenty-fifth anniversary year. We kicked off the celebration of Hypatia's quarter century as an autonomous journal with a conference, "Feminist Legacies/Feminist Futures," which drew close to 150 attendees—a capacity crowd, and more than twice what we'd expected in the planning stages! The conference provided an opportunity to reflect on how Hypatia came to be and how it has shaped feminist philosophy.
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