updated 2016-12-13

Research Interests

  • Philosophy of science with an emphasis on social epistemology
  • Feminist epistemology
  • The role of values in science
  • Diversity in science
  • Trust in science
  • Collective knowledge

Current Project: Political Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge

My research project contributes to the interdisciplinary field of science studies by developing a social epistemology of scientific knowledge. The project discusses topics which are of interest to a multidisciplinary research community, such as the proper role of social values in the social sciences and humanities, and the benefits of interdisciplinary research (diversity of theoretical approaches) as well as its dangers (scientific imperialism).

Philosophers working on social epistemology draw on a variety of conceptual and theoretical resources. To a large extent political philosophy remains an unexplored terrain when philosophers develop a normative theory of the social dimensions of scientific knowledge. My project aims to fill this lacuna in scholarship by exploring the ways in which political philosophy can be applied in social epistemology.

Whereas “Political Philosophy of Scientific Knowledge” is often understood to refer to debates concerning the role of scientific knowledge and experts in society as well as the role of lay citizens in scientific inquiry, my aim is to extend its scope to include other topics in social epistemology. The project explores such topics as (i) scientific/intellectual movements and feminist standpoint theory; (ii) the epistemic benefits of diversity, both social and cognitive; (iii) scientific imperialism and epistemic injustice; (iv) the value-free ideal of science and its alternatives; and (v) the distribution of epistemic responsibilities within and across scientific communities.

While the relevance of John Stuart Mill’s, John Dewey’s and Karl Popper’s political philosophy to social epistemology is widely acknowledged, I pursue a novel approach to political philosophy of scientific knowledge. I argue that cosmopolitan political philosophy can be used to defend epistemic cosmopolitanism, the view that scientists have epistemic responsibilities not only towards their fellow scientists with whom they share a discipline or a specialty, but also towards stakeholders. I argue also that epistemic responsibilities need to be distributed in order for scientists to be able to carry them out.

Selected publications

Rolin, Kristina, 2016. Values, standpoints, and scientific/intellectual movements. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 56: 11-19.

Rolin, Kristina, 2016. Values in the social sciences: The case of feminist research. In Meta-Philosophical Reflection on Feminist Philosophies of Science, eds. Maria Cristina Amoretti and Nicla Vassallo. Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, Vol. 317. Dordrecht: Springer, 133-150.

Rolin, Kristina, 2015. Values in science: The case of scientific collaboration. Philosophy of Science 82 (2): 157-177.

Rolin, Kristina, 2015. Economics imperialism and epistemic cosmopolitanism. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 29 (4): 413-429.

Rolin, Kristina, 2012. A feminist approach to values in science. Perspectives on Science 20 (3): 320-330.

Rolin, Kristina, 2012. Feminist philosophy of economics. In Handbook of the Philosophy of Science. Volume 13: Philosophy of Economics, ed. Uskali Mäki. General editors: Dov M. Gabbay, Paul Thagard and John Woods. Amsterdam and Oxford: Elsevier, 199-217.

Rolin, Kristina, 2011. Diversity and dissent in the social sciences: The case of organization studies. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (4): 470-494.

Rolin, Kristina, 2011. Contextualism in feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. In Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: Power in Knowledge, ed. Heidi Grasswick. Dordrecht: Springer, 25-44.

Rolin, Kristina, and Vainio, Jenny, 2011. Gender in academia in Finland: Tensions between policies and gendering processes in physics departments. Science Studies 24 (1): 26-46.

Rolin, Kristina, 2010. Group justification in science. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 7 (3): 215-231.

Rolin, Kristina, 2009. Standpoint theory as a methodology for the study of power relations. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 24 (4): 218-226.

Rolin, Kristina, 2009. Scientific knowledge: A stakeholder theory. In The Social Sciences and Democracy, ed. Jeroen Van Bouwel. Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 62-80.

Rolin, Kristina, 2008. Gender and physics: Feminist philosophy and science education. Science & Education 17 (10): 1111-1125.

Rolin, Kristina, 2008. Science as collective knowledge. Cognitive Systems Research 9 (1-2): 115-124.

Rolin, Kristina, and Wray, K. Brad, 2008. Social empiricism and science policy. Science Studies 2008 (2): 68-82.

Rolin, Kristina, 2006. The bias paradox in feminist standpoint epistemology. Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 3 (1-2): 125-136.

Rolin, Kristina, 2004. Why gender is a relevant factor in the social epistemology of scientific inquiry. Philosophy of Science 71 (5): 880-891.

Rolin, Kristina, 2002. Is ‘Science as Social’ a feminist insight? Social Epistemology: A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy 16 (3): 233-249.

Rolin, Kristina, 2002. Gender and trust in science. Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 17 (4): 95-118.

Rolin, Kristina, 1999. Can gender ideologies influence the practice of the physical sciences? Perspectives on Science 7 (4): 510-533.

Current appointment

University Researcher

The Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Department of Political and Economic Studies

P.O. Box 24, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

e-mail: kristina.rolin (at) helsinki.fi


1991-1996 Ph.D. (philosophy), University of Minnesota, USA

1986-1990 Master of Social Sciences (philosophy), University of Helsinki, Finland