Janet Kourany

Professor of Philosophy

Janet Kourany

303 Malloy Hall
by appointment


Ph.D., Columbia University

Research Interest

Philosophy of Science, Science and Values, Feminist Philosophy, Agnotology

Concurrent Professor of Gender Studies

Janet Kourany is a Professor of Gender Studies as well as a Professor of Philosophy, and she is also a Fellow of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values.  An award-winning teacher (she received the 2017 Marian Mullin Hancock Teaching Award from Notre Dame’s Gender Studies Program and a Kaneb Teaching Award from the University before that), she taught at Rutgers University and the University of Utah before coming to Notre Dame.  She has also been a Fulbright Canada Research Chair at the University of Calgary and Visiting Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Universität Bielefeld’s Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science.  Her research areas include philosophy of science, science and social values, philosophy of feminism, and the new interdisciplinary area of ignorance studies (“agnotology”). Her books include Science and the Production of Ignorance: When the Quest for Knowledge Is Thwarted (co-edited with Martin Carrier) (2020); Philosophy of Science after Feminism (2010); The Challenge of the Social and the Pressure of Practice: Science and Values Revisited (co-edited with Martin Carrier and Don Howard) (2008); The Gender of Science (2002); Feminist Philosophies (co-edited with James Sterba and Rosemarie Tong) (1999, 1992); Philosophy in a Feminist Voice (1998); and Scientific Knowledge(1998, 1987).  She is currently working on a new book tentatively entitled Bacon's Promise.

Representative Publications

“The Present Plight of Science, and Our Plight,” in Science and Humanism: Knowledge, Values, and the Common Good, edited by Anjan Chakravartty (forthcoming).   

“Matt Brown at the Funeral of the Value-Free Ideal,” in Values, Pluralism, and Pragmatism: Themes from the Work of Matthew J. Brown, ed. by Jonathan Tsou, Jamie Shaw, and Carla Fehr, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, forthcoming.

“The Two Ideals Shaping the Content of Modern Science,” Synthese, special issue on The Legacy of the Value Free Ideal (forthcoming).

“Race and Gender: Toward a Proper Pattern of Knowledge and Ignorance in Research,” International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, special issue on Fake Research and Harmful Findings, 36(3) 2023: 173-192. 

“Science: For Better or Worse, a Source of Ignorance as Well as Knowledge,” in The Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies, edited by Matthias Gross and Linsey McGoey (London and New York: Routledge), 2nd ed., 2023, 178-190.

“The New Worries about Science,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, special issue on Engaging with Science, Values, and Society, 52(3) 2022: 227-245. An earlier version was published as “What Grounds Do We Have for the Validity of Scientific Findings? The New Worries about Science,” in What Is Scientific Knowledge? An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology of Science, edited by Kevin McCain and Kostas Kampourakis (New York and London: Routledge, 2020), 212-225.

“Feminist Critiques: Harding and Longino,” in Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers, 2nd ed., edited by James Robert Brown (London: Bloomsbury, 2021), 229-247.

“How the Facts Might Give Us Socially Responsible Science,” in The Routledge Handbook of Feminist Philosophy of Science, edited by Sharon Crasnow and Kristen Intemann (New York and London: Routledge, 2021), 236-249.

“Bacon’s Promise,” in Science, Freedom, Democracy, Routledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science, edited by Péter Hartl and Ádam Tamás Tuboly (New York and London: Routledge, 2021), 88-109.

“Might Scientific Ignorance Be Virtuous? The Case of Cognitive Differences Research,” in Science and the Production of Ignorance: When the Quest for Knowledge Is Thwarted, edited by Janet Kourany and Martin Carrier (MIT, 2020), 123-143. An earlier version was published as “Should Some Knowledge Be Forbidden? The Case of Cognitive Differences Research,” Philosophy of Science 83(5) (December 2016): 779-90.