Review of Ecological Thinking on Good Reads

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Ecological Thinking

Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location by Lorraine Code
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location, Code (2006) frames her philosophy of “ecological thinking” in reverent analysis of Rachel Carson’s methods in works like Silent Spring. She calls Carson a “practitioner of a practical ecology reliant on ‘empirical generalizations’,” yet also dependent on “narrow and precise local hypotheses.” She characterizes this method as “living the tension… working back and forth between an instituted, rhetorically monitored scientific orthodoxy and an attentive respect for particularity that is subversive of many of the fundamental assumptions of scientific orthodoxy.” She then builds an argument around such negotiations of empiricism. Code seeks to articulate an epistemology and accompanying methods/methodologies “capable of generating and adjudicating knowledge both about the factuality of the physical/material world and about a social order whose epistemic assumptions are complicit in sustaining its own positive and negative enactments” (p.97). Finally, she proposes an epistemology that assumes “statements of fact indeed acquire or fail to achieve factual status situationally according to the patterns of authority and expertise constitutive of the institution(s) of knowledge production in whose discursive spaces they circulate and within whose praxes they are constituted and embedded” (p. 99).

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