Essay about Standpoint Theory : The Natural And Social Sciences

2171 Words May 4th, 2016 9 Pages
Standpoint theory is explicitly social and political in nature, offering two perspectives on both the natural and social sciences. It exposes how scientific methodologies and hypotheses, as well as social and health policies, are constructed to maintain the power structures of dominant social groups, thereby contributing to “distorted and partial accounts of nature’s regularities and underlying causal tendencies” (Harding, 2004, p.26) that run counter to stated ideals. Standpoint theory also claims that the growth of knowledge is promoted by the recognition of social and political factors, rather than impeded by their inclusion (Harding, 2004, p. 26). Because of this, standpoint theory helps to provide an understanding of how diversity, inclusionary of cultural, race, and gender, may significantly enrich a broad range of scientific and social inquiry (Wylie, 2003, p.26).
The insights of standpoint theory can help to correct flaws that arise in health care and bioethics (Mahowald, 1996, p.95). Standpoint theory can be expanded to the field of bioethics to help inform ways in which patients as a group existing in a hierarchical health care system experience marginality and/or oppression; and to secure the foundation from which patients can begin to advocate on behalf of their own epistemic advantage concerning issues of experienced oppression. This is especially important because, “Those who are most oppressed in society at large are likely to experience the…

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