Daria Jadreškić

Daria Jadreškić (Institut für Philosophie) hat einen Vortrag zur Diversität als epistemischem Wert in der Reihe »mittwochs um vier« gehalten. Ihr Beitrag findet sich im neuen Sammelwerk »Sprache – Bildung – Geschlecht«.


Daria Jadreškić studied Philosophy and History at the University of Rijeka in Croatia and has been a member of the DFG research training group ›Integrating Ethics and Epistemology of Scientific Research‹ in Hannover since October 2016. Her research interests include general philosophy of science, values in science, social epistemology, and philosophy of medicine. 




WiSe 2019/2020
Diversity as an Epistemic Value – From Individual to Social Objectivity

Scientific knowledge is considered to be the most objective knowledge because it satisfies the most demanding standards of justification and rationality. Science is understood as both the product of scientific practices and the totality of these practices. However, science is also a complex social system comprised of both competing and collaborating groups and individuals. Epistemology and philosophy of science have until the last few decades considered scientific objectivity to be a desirable and achievable goal of the individual researcher. Nowadays, both the desirability and especially the achievability of this goal have been challenged. Objectivity is impossible to achieve individually since scientific evidence is open to interpretation so individual and group values and biases necessarily enter the interpretative process. The only way to meaningfully pursue objectivity is on the community level, by mutual criticism exemplified, for example, through peer review practices. 

Traditional individualistic understanding of objectivity has been contested by social epistemologists who focus on ways in which knowledge is acquired in groups, rather than individually. Feminist approaches in epistemology and philosophy of science have particularly advanced the view that scientific objectivity is and should be achieved through diversity and inclusion of multiple perspectives. Besides traditional epistemic values, i.e. values that promote the attainment of truth, such as accuracy, consistency, and coherence, the new understanding of epistemic values includes diversity as an indicator of critical scrutiny that is beneficial for the goal of attaining knowledge. In this new understanding values should be embraced and communicated rather than restricted from entering the research process because they have an important critical role in the community-based search for knowledge. In the talk I will sketch this historical development, illustrate it with paradigmatic examples, and conclude with some contemporary problems and possible answers. 


Diversity as an Epistemic Value – from Individual to Social Objectivity


  • Diversity,
  • Objectivity,
  • Social epistemology,
  • Feminist philosophy of science,
  • Values in science,
  • Value-free ideal,
  • Contextual empiricism,
  • Social justice standpoint model,
  • Women’s health research.


»The paper presents the role of diversity in ensuring the objectivity of scientific research as understood in recent ‘values in science’ debates within philosophy of science. Along with traditional epistemic values, i.e. values that promote the attainment of truth, such as accuracy and consistency, the new picture of desirable epistemic values includes diversity as an indispensable indicator of critical scrutiny which is not only beneficial for the goal of attaining knowledge, but also for the goal of attaining social justice. Objectivity is in this new understanding achieved through diversity and inclusion of different perspectives open to mutual criticism. Diversity as a safeguard against individual and group biases is especially acknowledged in its critical role by feminist contributions to philosophy of science.

The paper starts by introducing the focus of philosophy of science in general and values in science debates in particular, followed by an overview of standard accounts of epistemic and non-epistemic values and their often conflicting roles in decision making in science. Subsequently, the benefits of diversity are discussed and exemplified by Anke Bueter’s case study (2015) on female health research. Several normative ideals for science are put forward and certain problems and solutions of each are outlined.« (Daria Jadreškić i.E.)