Making Epistemological Trouble: Third-Paradigm HCI as Successor Scienc

TitleMaking Epistemological Trouble: Third-Paradigm HCI as Successor Scienc
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHarrison, S., P. Sengers, and D. Tatar
Refereed DesignationRefereed
JournalInteracting with Computers
Start Page385
Date Published09/2011

 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