The Dance of Person and Place: One Interpretation of American Indian Philosophy

The Dance of Person and Place: One Interpretation of American Indian Philosophy

by Thomas M. Norton-Smith
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1438431333

ISBN-13: 9781438431338

Pub. Date: 06/01/2010

Publisher: State University of New York Press

Ever since first contact with Europeans, American Indian stories about how the world is have been regarded as interesting objects of study, but also as childish and savage, philosophically curious and ethically monstrous. Using the writings of early ethnographers and cultural anthropologists, early narratives told or written by Indians, and scholarly work by

Overview

Ever since first contact with Europeans, American Indian stories about how the world is have been regarded as interesting objects of study, but also as childish and savage, philosophically curious and ethically monstrous. Using the writings of early ethnographers and cultural anthropologists, early narratives told or written by Indians, and scholarly work by contemporary Native writers and philosophers, Shawnee philosopher Thomas Norton-Smith develops a rational reconstruction of American Indian philosophy as a dance of person and place. He views Native philosophy through the lens of a culturally sophisticated constructivism grounded in the work of contemporary American analytic philosopher Nelson Goodman, in which stories (or “world versions”) satisfying certain criteria construct actual worlds—words make worlds. Ultimately, Norton-Smith argues that the Native stories construct real worlds as robustly as their Western counterparts, and, in so doing, he helps to bridge the chasm between Western and American Indian philosophical traditions.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781438431338
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Series:
SUNY series in Living Indigenous Philosophies Series
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments

1. Common Themes in American Indian Philosophy

First Introductions
Four Common Themes: A First Look
Constructing an Actual American Indian World

2. Nelson Goodman’s Constructivism

Setting the Stage
Fact, Fiction, and Feeders
Ontological Pluralism
True Versions and Well-Made Worlds
Nonlinguistic Versions and the Advancement of Understanding

3. True Versions and Cultural Bias

Constructive Realism: Variations on a Theme by Goodman
True Versions and Cultural Bias
An American Indian Well-Made Actual World

4. Relatedness, Native Knowledge, and Ultimate Acceptability

Native Knowledge and Relatedness as a World-Ordering Principle
Native Knowledge and Truth
Native Knowledge and Verification
Native Knowledge and Ultimate Acceptability

5. An Expansive Conception of Persons

A Western Conception of Persons
Native Conceptions of Animate Beings and Persons
An American Indian Expansive Conception of Persons

6. The Semantic Potency of Performance

Opening Reflections and Reminders About Performances
Symbols and Their Performance
The Shawnee Naming Ceremony
Gifting as a World-Constructing Performance
Closing Remarks About the Semantic Potency of Performances

7. Circularity as a World-Ordering Principle

Goodman Briefly Revisited
Time, Events, and History or Space, Place, and Nature?
Circularity as a World-Ordering Principle
Circularity and Sacred Places
Closing Remarks About Circularity as a World-Ordering Principle

8. The Dance of Person and Place

American Indian Philosophy as a Dance of Person and Place
Consequences, Speculations, and Closing Reflections

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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