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The Case For Strategic Realism: A Response To Lawson


  • Sandra Harding


Tony Lawson makes a compelling case that it is only naive realism that feminist social scientists and philosophers need to avoid, not any and all realist arguments. However, he leaves mysterious, on the one hand, why so many feminists have preferred epistemological to ontological arguments and, on the other hand, why naive realism, which is indeed problematic, can appear to be a good scientific/epistemic strategy. The essay below tries to demystify these phenomena, notes a possible misleading aspect of his use of the term "epistemological relativism", and argues for a somewhat more limited value of the ontological argument he proposes for standpoint epistemologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandra Harding, 1999. "The Case For Strategic Realism: A Response To Lawson," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 127-133.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:127-133 DOI: 10.1080/135457099337842

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Julie A., 1992. "Gender, Metaphor, and the Definition of Economics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 103-125, April.
    2. Peter Dorman & Nancy Folbre & Donald McCloskey & Tom Weisskopf, 1996. "Debating markets," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 69-85.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 33-58, January.
    4. Myra Strober & Suzanne Gerlach-Downie & Kenneth Yeager, 1995. "Child care centers as workplaces," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 93-119.
    5. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, January.
    6. Nancy Folbre, 1995. ""Holding hands at midnight": The paradox of caring labor," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 73-92.
    7. Deirdre McCloskey, 1996. "Love and money: A comment on the markets debate," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 137-140.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wendy Olsen, 2006. "Pluralism, poverty and sharecropping: Cultivating open-mindedness in development studies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1130-1157.


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