Never Coming Home: Positivism, Ecology, and Rootless Cosmopolitanism

Abstract (in English): 

Steven Kellert on being “in favor of universals.”

This is a hard time to be in favor of universals. If you argue for modern western science, context-free knowledge that is valid everywhere and for everyone, and universal norms and rights, you risk being labelled a liberal or even a Logical Positivist. Radical strains of science and technology studies have shown us that universalizing theories can slip into totalitarian imperatives, or falsely generalize by excluding oppressed groups, or abstract away from the very practices that make meaningful experience possible. Bioregionalism and deep ecology champion the importance of local context in matters both political and epistemological. But what if the Logical Positivists weren’t that bad? What if they were onto something–something worth keeping hold of? And what are the dangers of the contextual and the local?

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