In this chapter, an analysis of “statements of fact” in two domains of natural knowledge-making — medicine and law — shows how they enact sedimented assumptions about women, blacks, and other so-called social minorities. Hence, judgments and diagnoses alike reproduce structures of asymmetrical social power and privilege. The analysis recommends a negotiated empiricism: an empirically based and evidence-respecting position that takes observational evidence seriously, yet contends that evidence does not speak for itself in its claims to count as evidence or in its meanings and implications. The argument shows how experiential, testimonial reports claim an enhanced, if not uncontested, credibility and authority in this approach to knowledge. The chapter concludes with a critical reading of Donna Haraway’s “situated knowledges” as a principal contributor to the conceptual apparatus that frames ecological thinking.
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