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Conventional wisdom has it that the sciences, properly pursued, constitute a pure, value-free method of obtaining kwledge about the natural world. In light of the social and rmative dimensions of many scientific debates, Helen Longi finds that general accounts of scientific methodology cant support this common belief. Focusing on the tion of evidence, the author argues that a methodology powerful eugh to account for theories of any scope and depth is incapable of ruling out the influence of social and cultural values in the very structuring of kwledge. The objectivity of scientific inquiry can nevertheless be maintained, she proposes, by understanding scientific inquiry as a social rather than an individual process. Seeking to open a dialogue between methodologists and social critics of the sciences, Longi develops this concept of contextual empiricism in an analysis of research programs that have drawn criticism from feminists. Examining theories of human evolution and of prenatal hormonal determination of gender-role behavior, of sex differences in cognition, and of sexual orientation, the author shows how assumptions laden with social values affect the description, presentation, and interpretation of data. In particular, Longi argues that research on the hormonal basis of sex-differentiated behavior involves assumptions t only about gender relations but also about human action and agency. She concludes with a discussion of the relation between science, values, and ideology, based on the work of Habermas, Foucault, Keller, and Haraway.