An expression of epistemologist Lorraine Code’s discursive stance, “ecological thinking” is a roadmap of how to theorize (about) knowledge. Following the feminist tradition, and other theoretical approaches, which she categorizes as “postcolonial” and “emancipatory”, Code argues for extending the scope of what counts as “knowledge” according to the “masculinist epistemological tradition of mastery” of a Newtonian-Cartesian imaginary, which is still prevalent in the “West”. That is to say, as in earlier work, she justifies pushing the epistemological fronteer beyond the realm of authoritative, and in some cases, verging on hegemonic, “scientific knowledge”.

Consistent with like-minded theoreticans, she advocates emancipating, e.g., everyday narratives and experiences of people who do not have the privilege of wearing the (symbolic) labcoat of science – cf. authors reviewed by Code, such as Rachel Carson,….

I’d propose to add to the symbolic labcoat, at least a symbolic pair of “glasses” (or “lenses”?) for the academics in the humanities who, compared to the research subjects in Code’s cited literature above, certainly belong to the domain of privilege. For the purposes at hand, I’ll gloss over the sciences-humanities relationship (I should point out, in the Anglo-American tradition). [n.1]

Code leverages off the conceptual heritage of ecology as a sub-branch of sociology, most notably developed for relations at the workplace, and the way these map onto/derive from locational distributions, hence the subtitle of her Ecological Thinking book, “The Politics of Epistemic Location”. I consider her ecological thinking theory to be “generalized”, since although she primarily analyzes Human-Human pairings, or groups thereof, she also brings up, on occasion, the relation to nature. Her primary focus is on advocating an “ecological” alternative to relations of power and privilege among human individuals and groups, but she also adumbrates Human-Nature relations, even if without delving into detailed theorizations, e.g., on the analogy of a Save the rainforest! environmental discourse.

Relatedness as the pivotal concept in my analysis has its roots in systems theory (see, e.g., work by a thinker of a remarkably wide interdisciplinary reach, Ervin Laszlo, 1996), and overlapping theorizations about ecosystems, and certainly trends in ecofeminism. The conceptual essence of systematicity represents an ontological-metaphysical interdependence of each and every component in a system on each and every other component – granted, to different degrees in different discursive dimensions, and, if you like, chunks of reality. The term is thus well suited to cover Human Relatedness – certainly treated as going both ways – to Self, Other, and (a)biotic Nature, thereby levelling the discursive ground for the human individual as compared to anyone and anything within the individual’s scope, including her-/himself.

Relatedness in the Ecosonance discourse is a discursive trifurcation into Thinking-Being-Doing, thus a further generalization compared to Code’s. [n.2] Interestingly, the trio appears on the radar of a philosophy trivium of sorts – Epistemology-Ontology-Metaphysics, with Ethics/Axiology, I’d like to think, having an all encompassing view. [n.3]

Similarly to the duality of epistemology, which gestures discursively to both the theory of knowledge and knowledge (even knowledgeS) per se, Ecosonance is both the Relatedness that obtains between and among the various objects of analysis, and also the theory this author proposes as an extension of Code’s “ecological thinking”.




NOTE 1: The German word Wissenschaft, ditto the Russian науkа [na-ou-ka] cover both the sciences and the humanities. Interestingly, in the respective cultures, the theorizations within the Anglo-American tradition of “gaps” between the sciences and the humanities are a moot point. Somewhat tangentially, this brings to mind the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, more properly called after Benjamin Whorf, Edward Sapir’s student, about language influencing thinking and its structure as shaping cognition.

NOTE 2: In all fairness, wearing the glasses of epistremology, by proposing a theory of knowledge that is labelled as a process, rather than a state, Code may very well be gesturing to thinking as a mental process but also as (underlying, thus being associated to/part of) acting/an activity.

NOTE 3: As regards the visual metaphorization, it can – and rightfully so -, easily generate various configurations, depending on the discursive focus/foci. Here I intend to stress the importance of the ethical dimention of thoughts (think), identities (be) and actions (do). As for the two threesomes, T-B-D and E-O-M, assuming a 1-to-1 mapping would be not only limiting but, depending on theoretical allegiances, erroneous as well (do – metaphysics), even if at first glance some loose correspondences may obtain (think – epistemology, be – ontology).