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Ecological ThinkingThe Politics of Epistemic Location$
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Lorraine Code

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195159431

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195159438.001.0001

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Ecological Thinking

Lorraine Code (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Starting with a critical reading of the promise of Quinean naturalized epistemology for feminist and other post-colonial theories of knowledge, this chapter instead proposes an ecological naturalism centred on a conception of the natural and of natural knowledge-making derived from the science of ecology. For Quinean naturalism, laboratory-based cognitive science is the place to study how human beings “naturally” know; yet its promise is vitiated by the artificiality of its regulative conception of “the natural”. Its reliance on a residual positivist-empiricism blocks its capacity to relinquish the epistemological imaginary of mastery and control, to engage with specific, diverse human knowings, and to address the politics of knowledge. Although ecological science counts as a “weak” science by orthodox positivist standards (following Kristin Schrader-Frechette and Sharon Kingsland), this so-called weakness becomes a strength in the enhanced capacity it offers to know interpretively, non-reductively, and responsibly.

Keywords:   ecological naturalism, Willard Quine, cognitive science, ecological science, politics of knowledge, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Sharon Kingsland

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