Article Title

Love Slaves and Wonder Women: Radical Feminism and Social Reform in the Psychology of William Moulton Marston


In contemporary histories of psychology, William Moulton Marston is remembered for helping develop the lie detector test. He is better remembered in the history of popular culture for creating the comic book superhero Wonder Woman. In his time, however, he contributed to psychological research in deception, basic emotions, abnormal psychology, sexuality, and consciousness. He was also a radical feminist with connections to women's rights movements. Marston's work is an instructive case for philosophers of science on the relation between science and values. Although Marston's case provides further evidence of the role that feminist values can play in scientific work, it also poses challenges to philosophical accounts of value-laden science. Marston's work exemplifies standard views about feminist value-laden research in that his feminist values help him both to criticize the research of others and create novel psychological concepts and research techniques. His scientific work includes an account of the nature of psycho-emotional health that leads to normative conclusions for individual values and conduct and for society and culture, a direction of influence that is relatively under-theorized in the literature. To understand and evaluate Marston's work requires an approach that treats science and values as mutually influencing; it also requires that we understand the relationship between science advising and political advocacy in value-laden science.

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