Dance of Person and Place One Interpretation of American Indian Philosophy

ISBN-10: 1438431325

ISBN-13: 9781438431321

Edition: 2010

Authors: Thomas M. Norton-Smith

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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 M. 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 descriptions of the world (or “world versions”) satisfying certain criteria construct actual worlds—words make worlds. Ultimately, Norton-Smith argues that the Native ways of organizing experiences with spoken words and other performances 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.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 4/29/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 180
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.572
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Common Themes in American Indian Philosophy
First Introductions
Four Common Themes: A First Look
Constructing an Actual American Indian World
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
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
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
An Expansive Conception of Persons
A Western Conception of Persons
Native Conceptions of Animate Beings and Persons
An American Indian Expansive Conception of Persons
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
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
The Dance of Person and Place
American Indian Philosophy as a Dance of Person and Place
Consequences, Speculations, and Closing Reflections
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