Heidi Grasswick earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota. Originally from the west coast of Canada, she also holds a B.A. from University of Victoria (Honors in Philosophy) and an M.A. (Philosophy) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her teaching interests include feminist philosophy, environmental philosophy, theory of knowledge and issues of science and society. She also regularly contributes to the Women’s and Gender Studies curriculum at Middlebury through both cross-listed philosophy courses and senior seminars.
Professor Grasswick’s primary research areas are feminist epistemology, and social epistemology—examining the social aspects of knowledge production. Much of her writing concerns our responsibilities for knowledge-seeking and their connections with moral responsibilities. She has recently completed the volume Making the Case: Feminist and Critical Race Philosophers Engaging Case Studies, co-edited with Nancy McHugh. Her current research focuses on issues of trust between scientific (or expert) communities and lay communities, and responsibilities for the sharing of knowledge.
For more information on Professor Grasswick's teaching and research please visit her webpage.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
ENVS 0700 - Senior Independent Study ▹
Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)
Fall 2019, Fall 2020
ENVS 0701 - Senior Thesis ▹
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)
Spring 2020, Spring 2021
FYSE 1424 - Science & Democracy
Science and Democracy
The scientific method has been heralded as inherently democratic, based as it is on observation rather than authority. Yet the relationship between science and democracy is much more complex, with scientists carrying authority based on their specialized knowledge. In this seminar we will explore the challenges of integrating science and democracy, investigating how science can be used to serve democratic goals and where there are tensions. We will consider such questions as whether or not the commercialization of science makes it difficult to serve the needs of a diverse society well, whether or not it is important to have diverse representation within scientific communities in order to produce objective knowledge, and what the appropriate role of scientific experts might be in developing sound public policy on topics such as climate change, health policy, medical research, and food safety. 3 hrs. sem. CW PHL
PHIL 0180 - Introduction to Modern Logic
Introduction to Modern Logic
Logic is concerned with good reasoning; as such, it stands at the core of the liberal arts. In this course we will develop our reasoning skills by identifying and analyzing arguments found in philosophical, legal, and other texts, and also by formulating our own arguments. We will use the formal techniques of modern propositional and predicate logic to codify and test various reasoning strategies and specific arguments. No prior knowledge of logic, formal mathematics, or computer science is presupposed in this course, which does not count towards the PHL distribution requirement but instead towards the deductive reasoning requirement. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. DED
Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020
PHIL 0214 - Science and Society ▹
Science and Society
Scientific theories are not developed in a vacuum. Social circumstances influence the practice of science, and science, in turn, influences how we organize ourselves as a society. In this course will investigate both directions of the relationship between science and society. We will ask such questions as: how do the values of society drive scientific research? What do we mean when we claim that science is 'objective' and what do we expect of an objective science? Can there be 'good' politically-motivated science, or does this conflict with the norms of 'good' science? How important is science as a way of bettering society? Do scientists bear an extra burden of responsibility when they generate scientific results of particular social significance (such as the development of the atomic bomb, or the development of techniques of cloning)? We will examine particular cases of socially significant scientific research, and we will consider larger philosophical questions concerning the status of science as a source of knowledge. 3 hrs. lect. PHL SOC
Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Winter 2020, Fall 2020
PHIL 0234 / GSFS 0234 - Philosophy & Feminism
Philosophy and Feminism
This course will examine the contributions of various feminists and feminist philosophers to some of the central problems of philosophical methodology, epistemology, philosophy of science, metaphysics, and ethics. Are there gendered assumptions in operation in the way particular philosophical problems are framed? For example, do the politics of gender contribute to accounts of objective knowledge and rationality? Are some philosophical perspectives better suited to the goals of feminism than others? We will also examine the general relationship between feminism and philosophy, and we will reflect on the relevance of theorizing and philosophizing for feminist political practice. CMP PHL
Fall 2017, Fall 2019
PHIL 0356 - Philosophy & Environment
Philosophy and the Environment
In this course, we will examine several environmental issues from a philosophical perspective. We will be interested in what arguments can be provided to support particular views, but more important, we will try to identify the deep philosophical issues that underlie particular debates. For example, what is the basis for our determinations of value? We will also examine the challenges that large scale environmental issues present for particular philosophical theories. For example, how well can particular ethical theories handle certain environmental problems? Topics may include animal rights, wilderness preservation, biodiversity, attitudes toward nature, over-population, and economic arguments for the protection of the environment. (Previous course in philosophy or waiver) 3 hrs.lect. PHL
PHIL 0434 / GSFS 0434 - Feminist Epistemologies ▹
In recent years, feminist epistemologies, such as feminist standpoint theories and feminist empiricisms, have been extremely influential in developing social theories of knowledge. They have also served as a crucial intellectual tool for feminist theorists trying to understand the connections between social relations of gender and the production of knowledge and ignorance. In this course we will investigate some of the major themes and challenges of feminist epistemologies and feminist philosophies of science: How is knowledge socially situated? What does it mean to look at knowledge through a gendered lens? How is objective knowledge possible according to feminist epistemologies? We will work to understand the influence of feminist epistemologies in contemporary philosophy. We will also consider how feminist epistemologies have guided research on gendered and raced relations. (Approval required; Open to philosophy and GSFS senior and junior majors. GSFS majors must have previously taken GSFS 0320, or permission.) 3 hrs. sem. CMP PHL
Spring 2018, Fall 2020
PHIL 0500 - Resrch In Philosophy ▹
Research in Philosophy
Supervised independent research in philosophy. (Approval required).
Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Winter 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021
PHIL 0700 - Senior Thesis
Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018
Making the Case: Feminist and Critical Race Theorists Engaging Case Studies. Co-edited with Nancy McHugh. Forthcoming SUNY Press.
“Reconciling Epistemic Trust and Responsibility” In Trust in Epistemology, ed. Katherine Dormandy. Routledge 2020.
“Epistemic Autonomy in a Social World of Knowing.” Routledge Handbook of Virtue Epistemology. Ed. Heather Battaly. Routledge, 2019, pp. 196-208.
“Understanding Epistemic Trust Injustices and their Harms.” Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements. V 84, 2018.
“Feminist Responsibilism, Situationism, and the Complexities of the Virtue of Trustworthiness” Epistemic Situationism. Ed. Abrol Fairweather and Mark Alfano, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 216-234.
“Epistemic Injustice in Science.” Routledge Handbook on Epistemic Justice. Ed. Ian Kidd, José Medina and Gaile Pohlhaus Jr. Routledge Press, 2017, pp. 313-323.
“Trust, and Testimony in Feminist Epistemology.” Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy. Ed. Ann Garry, Serene J. Khader, and Alison Stone, Routledge Press, 2017, pp. 256-267.
Feminist Epistemology and Philosophy of Science: Power in Knowledge. Editor Heidi Grasswick. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011 [www.springer.com]
“Climate Change Science and Responsible Trust: A Situated Approach” Hypatia. 29(3) 2014.
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