Abstract

Epistemological issues have long been debated by feminist philosophers aiming to answer the question, “what difference does it make to take gendered points of view seriously in the construction of knowledge?” Coming out of this history, a strand of work in feminist science studies has argued for the necessity of “successor science:” new forms of science based in standpoint epistemology, i.e. a recognition of the necessarily situated points of view of scientific knowledge-makers. In this paper, we argue that such a successor science has already come into being within the field of HCI, though it is perhaps not recognized as such by its practitioners.

In particular, we identify a cluster of research we term the ‘third paradigm.’ This cluster of research cuts across HCI research areas as typically organized by topic area. Instead, this research shares an underlying epistemological orientation closely aligned with standpoint epistemology, focused around an acknowledgment of the social, cultural, and physical situatedness of both users and analysts. Feminist philosophers of science argue that a logical outcome of standpoint epistemology is the need for science to reflexively grapple with the limitations of its own ways of knowing; we conclude such an outcome may also be in store for the third paradigm.

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