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«In celebration of Alison Wylie A life of the mind, digging in the dirt. Beginnings Swindon, UK, 1954 With brother Rob in Oxford, UK Alison at 15 ...»

In celebration of

Alison Wylie

A life of the mind,

digging in the dirt.


Swindon, UK, 1954

With brother Rob in Oxford, UK

Alison at 15

Summer 1969


Summer digs at

Ft. Walsh, Saskatchewan, 1974



Mount Allison


Sackville, NB

Graduate Studies

M.A. 1979: Anthropology, SUNY Binghamton

Ph.D. 1982: Philosophy, SUNY Binghamton

Program in the History and Philosophy of the Social and

Behavioral Sciences

Dissertation: Positivism and the New Archaeology Director: Rom Harré Summer doctoral research, digging in Tucson, AZ 1977/78 Postdoctoral Fellowship Institute for the Humanities University of Calgary 1981-1983 With dancer/choreographer Anne Flynn at a performance of “Hempel’s Dilemma,” 1982 I first met Alison when I was a Masters student at the U of C – nearly thirty years ago. Alison’s influence has been a crucial part of my professional development, and of my image of what a philosopher is, and can be. When we met, Alison was pretty much at the start of her career, but it was already obvious to everyone that she was just an extraordinary force. It wasn’t just her phenomenal work ethic – how does she do it? – it was the way that she drew students in by being interested in what they thought, and supportive of their work. No matter how tentative (or, it must be said, overconfident) a student’s fledgling efforts were, Alison was never dismissive or harsh, she never sent students away to read what the important people have had to say on a topic, she encouraged us to ask for courses, to write, to engage in dialogue, to present at conferences, to submit for publication, just as though we were already philosophers, until, almost without noticing it, we were. And there was Alison again;

doing the same sorts of things in the profession that she had been doing for us as students, treating us as valued peers. There are other professors who do all of these things, of course, but few do them so naturally or with such ease as Alison does, as though there is nothing exceptional about fostering enthusiasm and skill in philosophy. But there is. There is just something extremely exceptional about being the sort of philosopher that Edrie Sobstyl, Dec. 19, 2013 Alison is.

The UWO Years University of Western Ontario Assistant Professor (1985-1989) Associate Professor (1989-1993) Professor of Philosophy (1993-1998) The Archaeology of Gender 22nd Annual Chacmool Conference Chacmool Archaeology Association, University of Calgary, 1989 Meeting Alison ”I found a photograph that I took of you in June 1996—a few years after we met—you were showing me around the Stanford Center for Advanced Behavioral Studies, where you were spending the year.” Miriam Solomon Warmest congratulations on being selected SWIP Distinguished Woman Philosopher! I can't remember exactly when I first met you, but I got to know you in the early 1990s at a series of conferences and talks at UWO, Boulder, the British Society for Philosophy of Science, and of course PSA. I have always admired your adventurousness, your healthy disrespect of academic hierarchies, your engaged and interdisciplinary work, and your wonderful poise in presentations. You are still a role model for me. One of your great talents is the ability to understand and find value in the work of others. I have benefited greatly from this and from the professional opportunities that you have steered my way. Your editorship of Hypatia took the journal to a new level--from an excellent publication to an outstanding one-packed with articles and features and with gorgeous covers. You are a cherished friend and colleague and I look forward to many more years of conferences and talks and committee work and celebrations with you! Miriam Solomon, Dec. 08, 2013 Another encounter on the prairies Minneapolis 1995 Washington University St. Louis, MO 1998-2003 Professor of Philosophy Program for Social Thought and Analysis Life-long influences begin here, including the inception of The Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable Left, Alison with Roundtable co-founders, James Bohman and Paul Roth, St. Louis, 2004 I have known Alison Wylie for 30+ years, but we became particularly good friends with her arrival in St. Louis. I regard Alison as a (benign) force of nature; when she appears on the scene, good things just start to happen. Noteworthy among these is the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable. Although there had been off and on discussions about doing something to try to revive philosophy of social science, it was Alison’s landing in St. Louis that really galvanized the three of us—Alison, Jim Bohman and me--into action. The rest—meaning the (formerly St. Louis, now international) Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable—is, as they say, history.

Alison’s boundless energy, her acute intelligence, and her endless resourcefulness have made her an asset to everyone who has had the opportunity and pleasure to work with her. And although I confess to basking in the 70s here in Santa Cruz, I join in spirit with all who have braved the chill winds of the East to salute Alison on this occasion. Paul Roth, Dec. 19, 2013 I often refer to Alison as my favorite former colleague. She came to Washington University when my career was just starting, and helped teach me what it is to be a good member of our profession. As a citizen, Alison was immediately recognized as among the most trusted and judicious members of our department, and she treated me, a lowly assistant professor, with such friendship and respect, that I was able to briefly forget that academia is a hierarchy. Alison also broadened my intellectual horizons with lasting effect. Though her AOS may have sounded narrow (feminist philosophy of archeology, really?), I'd never known someone with more ecumenical interests. Regardless of the topic, Alison would listen to lectures with equal seriousness, and her questions always managed to get to the heart of things, engaging the speakers' positions, rather than pursuing any agenda of her own. Through her work, I have learned to re-conceive narrowness of interests (rigid designation, really??), and I also came to see how standpoints are not just a theory, but a practice. I continue to miss having Alison as a colleague. I have kept her with me, however, as a model of how to be a philosopher. Jesse Prinz, Dec. 13, 2013 Meanwhile in the Department of Small Worlds and Fuzzy Photography….

…Jesse and Shari respond to a query regarding the merits of evolutionary psychology, Central APA, NOLA, Feb. 2013.


Working Conference SEPTEMBER 24-26, 1999 Organizers: Lynn Hankinson Nelson and Alison Wylie Sponsors: University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University in St. Louis In a pattern to be repeated at FEMMSS conferences a decade later, the Canucks take over feminist philosophy of science.

Conference participants in alphabetical order:

William Bechtel (Washington): On the Naturalistic Turn Richmond Campbell (Dalhousie): Naturalized Moral Epistemology Sharyn Clough (Rowan): Out-naturalizing the Naturalists Catherine Hundleby (University of Western Ontario): Naturalist Feminist Standpoint Epistemology James Maffie (Denver/Boulder): Sources of Epistemic Normativity Lynn Hankinson Nelson (UM-St. Louis): Naturalism, Socialized and Normative Phyllis Rooney (Oakland University): Feminism and the Full Facticity of the Facts Paul A. Roth (UM-St. Louis): Feminism and Naturalism: If Asked for Theories, ‘ Just Say No’ Joseph Rouse (Wesleyan): Feminism and the Two Poles of Philosophical Naturalism Miriam Solomon (Temple University): Epistemic Justice Nancy Tuana (University of Oregon): The Prospects for a Feminist Naturalism Alison Wylie (Washington University): Naturalizing Epistemic Virtues Back row: Alison, Linda Nicholson, Joe Rouse, Alison Jaggar, Nancy Tuana Front row: Edrie Sobstyl, Shari Clough, Cate Hundleby Left, Alison with Lynn Hankinson Nelson, and Nancy Tuana Right, Alison with Rich Campbell and Shari Alison is a great sender of postcards, this one to Shari, from 2001, featuring Canadian content, PLUS, Andy Warhol, presaging the NYC years.


Value Free Science: Ideal or Illusion?

Center for Ethics and Values in the Sciences, at the University of Alabama, Birmingham February 23 - 25, 2001 Shari Clough and John Dupre, and in the background, some other guy  I first met Alison Wylie when I was finishing up my PhD at Stanford University in 1995. She was a senior research fellow at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and agreed to serve as the external examiner on my dissertation committee. She went above and beyond the responsibilities of an external examiner, however, and provided detailed feedbacks and recommendations; some of those recommendations made it into the revisions, others were incorporated into my first book, but what I most remember, getting on towards two decades later, is that they were all both insightful and helpful. For a while after finishing my thesis, my contact with Alison was only sporadic, but since moving back to the West Coast it has been my real pleasure to get to know her better. I am of course disappointed that I can’t be here today to help celebrate Alison being named the Distinguished Woman Philosopher, a well-deserved honor.

Jonathan Kaplan, Dec. 14, 2013 It’s impossible, of course, to sum up someone of such broad interests and diverse contributions as Alison Wylie in a few sentences. Alison has been one of the very first philosophers of science to make clear to the mainstream of the discipline that feminism provided a perspective that could not be ignored. She has almost single-handedly opened up a major field of scientific inquiry to philosophical attention, and a field that is pivotal in debates about human history and the nature of gender difference. And speaking as a close friend and colleague of many years, she is one of the most personally and politically admirable human beings I know.

John Dupre, Dec. 22, 2013 On the occasion of the release of Miriam’s book Social Empiricism.

–  –  –

At home in her deluxe apt in the sky, 2004 WOMEN, WORK, AND THE ACADEMY




Written by Alison Wylie, Janet R.

Jakobsen, and Gisela Fosado The Barnard Center for Research on Women Association of Feminist Epistemologies, Metaphysics, Methodologies and Science Studies The first biennial meeting, Nov. 2004 University of Washington

Alison’s keynote:

“The feminism question in the social sciences: Epistemic virtues and the method debate” Right: Cate, Shari, and Edrie, reunited.

Westward Ho!

To the other Washington, 2005 Professor, Philosophy and Anthropology;

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.

With Libby Potter and Sam in Northern California Alison as house guest, Chez Kaplough, Corvallis, OR Above, avec slippers, Dec. 2005 Right, avec chickens, Summer 2010 Society for Social Studies of Science

–  –  –


Organizer/Chair: Alison Wylie, University of Washington Norms and the Goals of Science, Helen Longino Solomon’s Science Without Conscience, Alan Richardson The Devil is in the (Historical) Details, Naomi Oreskes Solomon’s Empirical/Non-Empirical Distinction, Sharyn Clough Commentary and Response, Miriam Solomon The Non-Violent FEMMSS 2!

–  –  –

The Philosophy of Science Association Women’s Caucus Breakfast meetings!

Here’s one from PSA 2008 with Andrea Woody and Nancy.

And…. Hypatia!

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the journal With Joan Callahan Seattle, Fall 2009 Constructive Engagement: Aboriginal and Scientific Communities in Collaboration June 2010 Alison with George Nicholas, Sonny McHalsie, Dave Schaepe, Laura Arbour, Doris Cook, and Louise Fortmann 86th Annual American Philosophical Association Pacific Division Presidential Address Seattle, WA April 6, 2012.

… later that same weekend Celebrating with Sally Haslanger Carus Lecturer April 7, 2012 Which brings us to 2013 a VERY BIG year On the occasion of Canberra’s 100th anniversary, Alison was invited to give the Mulvaney Lecture at ANU.

March 20, 2013 “Collateral evidence:

Ethnographic analogy revisited” In April we handed off dear Hypatia to the new editorial team.

Above, Sally Scholz, Shelley Wilcox, Shari, Alison, and Ann Cudd Right, Alison signing off, Seattle April 2013 Delivering the British Society for the Philosophy of Science,

Plenary lecture:

"Collateral Evidence:

The Vagaries of Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology” brought Alison back to the UK in July.

Right, with Nancy Cartwright, “Are you coming?” And now today, she is being honoured as the Society for Women in Philosophy Distinguished Woman Philosopher Dec. 28, 2013, Baltimore, MD

Some final words from current students:

Women in philosophy like Alison Wylie make me feel hopeful about the discipline's future. Not only is she a kind and charitable human being, she also pursues academic projects that make a difference. Alison is an inestimable role model. Michelle Pham, Dec. 16, 2013 What she said.

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