Our ideal performance as researchers and our actual performance as researchers do not always coincide. There are occasions when we allow bias or ideology to intrude on scholarship, trampling truth in the process. The intrusions into good scholarship by bias are frequently found in women's studies. In the past, the fashion was for scholars to interpret whatever liberating ideas a thinker advanced in light of the scholars' own male bias. Thus, any enlightened notions on woman were thought of as uncharacteristic anomalies, ill-meant and easily dismissed. As Christine Pierce pointed out over ten years ago, scholars interpreted Plato's Republic, book V, 451c ff., as though Plato's words did not mean what they said. Pierce says that "much Platonic scholarship on this passage in Rep. V is a set of variations on the theme of the essential inferiority of women and the consequent necessity of recognizing that inferiority in the social, economic, and political structure of a society." Despite the clarity and force of Plato on woman in the ideal society, scholars insisted he could not have taken seriously any idea other than that women are inferior and should be treated as such. Pierce rightly points out that this kind of scholarship neither approximates the ideal of research nor serves the cause of truth, and she concludes: "Philosophers have often been accused of defending the mores and beliefs of societies in which they lived as eternal truths … the same tendency may pervade philosophical scholarship." I submit that this same tendency still exists.
McGowan, Richard J.
"Misogyny in Augustine and Sexist Scholarship,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 21:
3, Article 9.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol21/iss3/9