Volume 15, Issue 5/6, 2005
Kinds of an Ways to Wisdom
Epistemic Responsibility and the Politics of Knowledge
The thesis of this paper is, first, that ecological thinking—which takes its point of departure from specifically located, multifaceted analyses of knowledge production and circulation in diverse demographic and geographic locations—can generate more responsible knowings than the reductivism of the positivist post-Enlightenment legacy allows; and second, that ecological thinking can spark a revolution comparable to Kant’s Copernican revolution, which recentered western thought by moving “man” to the center of the philosophical-conceptual universe. Kantian philosophy was parochial in the conception of “man” on which it turned: a recognition central to feminist, Marxist, post-colonial and critical race theory. It promoted a picture of a physical and human world centered on and subservient to a small class and race of men who were uniformly capable of achieving a narrowly-conceived standard of reason, citizenship, and morality. As humanism vied with theism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, so ecological thinking vies with capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Here I outline its promise.