The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy
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The Elgar Companion To Economics and Philosophy

Edited by John B. Davis, Alain Marciano and Jochen Runde

The Elgar Companion to Economics and Philosophy aims to demonstrate exactly how these two important areas have always been linked, and to illustrate the key areas of overlap. The contributors are well-known and distinguished authors from a variety of disciplines, who have been invited both to survey and to provide a personal assessment of current and prospective future states of their respective areas of philosophical interest.
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Chapter 11: From Feminist Empiricism to Feminist Poststructuralism: Philosophical Questions in Feminist Economics

Drucilla K. Barker


Drucilla K. Barker Introduction Feminist economics, a dynamic field of intellectual inquiry that has emerged over the last ten years, is uniquely situated at the intersection of economics, feminism, and methodology. Feminist economists observe that much of economics relies on highly gendered and raced metaphors, and that it fails to adequately account for a wide variety of factors particularly germane to women’s lives such as women’s labor force participation, the wage gap, and the value of household labor. It was not that these topics had not been studied before. They had, but not from a feminist perspective. They were not feminist because they did not question the gender division of labor and did not employ gender as a category of analysis. Using gender as an analytical category, feminist economists showed that unquestioned and unexamined masculinist values were deeply embedded in the theoretical and empirical analyses of economic issues associated with women. Feminist economics is developing during a period of interesting transformations in epistemology and the philosophy of science. The works of V.O. Quine and Thomas Kuhn are particularly significant to framing these changes and to casting doubt on the claims of foundationalist epistemologies underlying mainstream economics (Kuhn 1962; Quine 1953). Kuhn’s contribution was to show that observations are always theory laden: the data used to test theories and hypotheses are seen through the lens of the theories that are supposed to refute or support scientific hypotheses. Quine showed that theories are always underdetermined by the evidence. Since statements...

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