Indigenous American philosophy is the philosophy of the Indigenous people of the Americas.
An indigenous philosopher is an indigenous person or associate who practices philosophy and has a vast knowledge of various indigenous history, culture, language, and traditions. Many different traditions of philosophy have existed in the Americas from Precolumbian times to the present in different regions, notably among the civilizations of Mesoamerica and the Andes.
Epistemology refers to the study of knowledge, the ways in which a person acquires and processes information. Among Indigenous cultures, epistemology is understood differently and more inherently than how it is understood in Western philosophy. Native American epistemology is found primarily in theories, philosophies, histories, ceremonies and nature as multiple ways of knowing. Emphasis is put on the importance of language as one of the vital components of Native American epistemology.It is through the unique symbolism and the close connection with nature, that Native Americans consider knowledge to be acquired. In relation to consciousness, rationality and other heavily studied psychological states, the inherent structure of the complex Native American language is necessary to understand in the obtainment of indigenous knowledge. There is also a strong link between nature and the interpretation of knowledge within Native American culture. It is believed that the mind interacts with the environment in a very active, conscious way. The process through which they interact with nature is through the necessary need for survival but also through a deep respect and understanding the land as a huge part of their identity. It is vital to understand how to gather medicine, predict weather conditions so as to effectively produce food, and how to navigate through the land in order to grow and thrive as part of an ecological dependent community. Native American knowledge is continuously adapting to the changing environment as the ecosystem evolves and this is how epistemology is understood to have such a strong root to nature.
Native American science and understanding is said to have a basis in perceptual phenomenology, meaning the philosophical study of phenomena.In this context, phenomenology refers to the examination of ones experiences to come to a personal world view. Something is believed to be true when it has been verified by experiences and provides explanations which assist in completing tasks.This worldview is dynamic as new experiences alter this worldview and add to it. There is no belief in a universal worldview which could explain all aspects of reality for a permanent set of time.
The world is viewed as infinitely complex and so it is impossible to come to a universal understanding of it.Therefore, Native Americans believe that useful knowledge can only be acquired through individual experience which, whilst subjective, is valid to that space and time. The method of interacting with the environment is never made fixed and instead, is carried through generations who continuously revise it and add to it. This creates a web of knowledge shaped by the individual experiences of a community.
The subjectivity of experience and circumstance means that each Indigenous community's beliefs will be distinct. Indigenous people believe that experience can always present a better way of interacting with the environment.As a result of this understanding, no belief is viewed as being supremely valid when compared to another belief. A belief receives its validity from experience.Regardless of whether an experience is ordinary and extraordinary, they are both viewed the same and are equally useful for gathering knowledge. Everything is viewed as possible in the world as no universal laws are seen to govern how the world exists. Each person in their own environment and circumstance can derive their own beliefs which is completely valid and logical in their personal circumstance.
Brian Yazzie Burkhart, a Cherokee, has described his experience of the story of Coyote:
Coyote is wandering around in his usual way when he comes upon a prairie dog town. The prairie dogs laugh and curse at him. Coyote gets angry and wants revenge. The sun is high in the sky. Coyote decides that he wants clouds to come. He is starting to hate the prairie dogs and so thinks about rain. Just then a cloud appears.
Coyote says, "I wish it would rain on me." And that is what happened.
Coyote says, "I wish there were rain at my feet." And that is what happened.
"I want the rain up to my knees," Coyote says. And that is what happened.
"I want the rain up to my waist," he then says. And that is what happened.
Eventually, the entire land is flooded. Coyote's mistake is not letting what is right guide his actions, but instead acting entirely on his own motivations. This is a reminder that one must be careful about what one desires, and must keep in mind the things around us and how we relate to them. Burkhart terms this the principle of relatedness:
The idea here is simply that the most important things to keep in mind are the simple things that are directly around us in our experience and the things to which we are most directly related. In calling these ideas principles, I do not mean to give them special philosophical status. In American Indian thought, they are simply ways of being. These principles are merely abstractions from these ways of being. ... Principles in the traditional philosophical sense have no place in American Indian philosophy.
Anne Waters has described a "nondiscreet ontology of being" in the context of gender.With a different attitude towards labels, Waters argues that American Indian viewpoints are more tolerant to those that don't fit into a strict binary gender framework.
Due to the lack of deciphered written records (but see quipu), Andean recorded history begins with the edge of living memory from the time of conquest by the Spanish, and thus includes only some Late Intermediate Period and Late Horizon civilizations, such as the Inca and the Chimú empires. Andean philosophy were greatly shaped by the concept of dualism, specifically a form known in Quechua as yanantin , or "dualism of complementary opposites". Coupled with the concept of masintin, meaning "the process of becoming yanintin", this dualism manifested itself in Andean art, gender relations, and even political administrative organization. Inca philosophy is the only Andean philosophical tradition for which we know of any direct records for. Inca philosophy was intrinsically bound together with religion, and was deeply steeped in the concept of dualism.
Perhaps the best documented philosophical tradition of the Precolumbian and early colonial era is that of the Aztecs, a Nahuatl-speaking people who established a large and sophisticated empire in central Mexico prior to being conquered by the Spanish. Mesoamerican thought and philosophy is notable for its extensive usage of metaphor to explain abstract concepts.The Aztecs thought of philosophy in more or less pragmatic and practical terms. A central feature of Aztec philosophy was the concept of teotl, a Nahuatl term for the animating force of the cosmos and an ever-acting and dynamic mover. Teotl in theological terms could also symbolize a type of pantheism.
Among the Hopi, there is a concept known as hopivotskwani, translating roughly to "the Hopi path of life". It entails behaving with a peaceful disposition, cooperation, humility, and respect. Hopi philosophy teaches that life is a journey, to be lived in harmoniously with the natural world. Thus, the Hopi believe that following hopivotskwani will lead to positive outcomes not only in interpersonal relationships, but also in interactions with nature, for example ensuring sufficient rainfall and a good harvest.As a rule, contemporary Pueblo peoples are very reluctant to share their traditional philosophical and spiritual worldviews with outsiders. This can be attributed to several factors, among them abuse of trust be early anthropologists and colonial Spanish intolerance for traditional Puebloan religions.
The canon of Western philosophy (WP) is rooted in the Platonic understanding of truth (the form of the truth) being stable immutable and present, upon which philosophical investigations take place.[ dubious ] On the other hand, Native American philosophy (NAP) holds that the stability for the basis of such inquiry in the native world is found not in absolutes, rather the consistencies in a complexity of the world. This concept of an absolute simplified starting point against finding similarities in a complex matrix is highlighted in particular in the different ways notes how NAP and WP analyse space and time. Typical WP views the world in sections: the universe is viewed as created ex nihilo (implying it had a definitive beginning and most likely with have a definitive end) and is depicted as violent (e.g. 'the big bang'). Moreover, time is broken up into 3 simple sections that all acts can fit within: past, present and future, all of which have definable boundaries that actions in reality can go up to and occasional cross. Conversely, Cordova notes that NAP views space as being a concept that connects everything to our global environment and time as an endless continuous motion. The universe is considered as infinite and unbound; being in constant motion with no beginning or end and is balanced and stable despite occasional "temporary sadness." Similarly, time does not belong to an absolute and bounded category in NAP, it is not a self-existing thing independent of human acknowledgement. Time is not even another dimension - it is nothing more than a human construct. Instead, it is, "merely a measure of motion ... the sun, stars, and moon through the sky, of changes that are visible and can be predicted."
Benjamin Lee Whorf was an American linguist and fire prevention engineer. Whorf is widely known as an advocate for the idea that differences between the structures of different languages shape how their speakers perceive and conceptualize the world. This principle has frequently been called the "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", after him and his mentor Edward Sapir, but Whorf called it the principle of linguistic relativity, because he saw the idea as having implications similar to Einstein's principle of physical relativity.
Charvaka, also known as Lokāyata, is an ancient school of Indian materialism. Charvaka holds direct perception, empiricism, and conditional inference as proper sources of knowledge, embraces philosophical skepticism and rejects ritualism, and supernaturalism. It was a very popular belief system in India before the emergence of Jain and Buddhist tradition.
Eastern philosophy or Asian philosophy includes the various philosophies that originated in East and South Asia including Chinese philosophy, Japanese philosophy, and Korean philosophy which are dominant in East Asia and Vietnam, and Indian philosophy which are dominant in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Tibet and Mongolia.
Hindu philosophy refers to philosophies, world views and teachings that emerged in ancient India. These include six systems (shad-darśana) – Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.
Vaisheshika or Vaiśeṣika is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy from ancient India. In its early stages, the Vaiśeṣika was an independent philosophy with its own metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics, and soteriology. Over time, the Vaiśeṣika system became similar in its philosophical procedures, ethical conclusions and soteriology to the Nyāya school of Hinduism, but retained its difference in epistemology and metaphysics.
Mīmāṃsā is a Sanskrit word that means "reflection" or "critical investigation" and thus refers to a tradition of contemplation which reflected on the meanings of certain Vedic texts. This tradition is also known as Pūrva-Mīmāṃsā because of its focus on the earlier (pūrva) Vedic texts dealing with ritual actions, and similarly as Karma-Mīmāṃsā due to its focus on ritual action (karma). It is one of six Vedic "affirming" (āstika) schools of Hinduism. This particular school is known for its philosophical theories on the nature of dharma, based on hermeneutics of the Vedas, especially the Brāḥmanas and Saṃhitas. The Mīmāṃsā school was foundational and influential for the vedāntic schools, which were also known as Uttara-Mīmāṃsā for their focus on the "later" (uttara) portions of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads. While both "earlier" and "later" Mīmāṃsā investigate the aim of human action, they do so with different attitudes towards the necessity of ritual praxis.
Nicholas Rescher is a German-American philosopher, polymath, and author, teaching at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science and has formerly served as Chairman of the Philosophy Department.
Presuppositionalism is a school of Christian apologetics that believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and attempts to expose flaws in other worldviews.
Standpoint feminism is a theory that feminist social science should be practiced from the standpoint of women or particular groups of women, as some scholars say that they are better equipped to understand some aspects of the world. A feminist or women's standpoint epistemology proposes to make women's experiences the point of departure, in addition to, and sometimes instead of men's.
In ontology and the philosophy of mind, a non-physical entity is a spirit or being that exists outside physical reality. Their existence divides the philosophical school of physicalism from the schools of idealism and dualism; with the latter schools holding that they can exist and the former holding that they cannot. If one posits that non-physical entities can exist, there exist further debates as to their inherent natures and their position relative to physical entities.
Philosophical Explanations is a 1981 metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical treatise by the philosopher Robert Nozick.
Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa was an Indian philosopher and the author of Tattvopaplavasiṃha in which he professed radical skepticism, which posits the impossibility of knowledge. In his work, he attempts to show the contradictions of various philosophical positions as well as the counter positions. This methodology makes him aligned to the Ajñanins of ancient India and Nagarjuna.
In psychology, constructivism refers to many schools of thought that, though extraordinarily different in their techniques, are all connected by a common critique of previous standard approaches, and by shared assumptions about the active constructive nature of human knowledge. In particular, the critique is aimed at the "associationist" postulate of empiricism, "by which the mind is conceived as a passive system that gathers its contents from its environment and, through the act of knowing, produces a copy of the order of reality".
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation.
Knowledge and Human Interests is a 1968 book by the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas, in which the author discusses the development of the modern natural and human sciences. He criticizes Sigmund Freud, arguing that psychoanalysis is a branch of the humanities rather than a science, and provides a critique of the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
The Hopi time controversy is the academic debate about how the Hopi language grammaticalizes the concept of time, and about whether the differences between the ways the English and Hopi languages describe time are an example of linguistic relativity or not. In popular discourse the debate is often framed as a question about whether the Hopi "had a concept of time", despite it now being well established that they do.
Elizabeth Secor Anderson is an American philosopher. She is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan and specializes in political philosophy, ethics, and feminist philosophy.
Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century. The term "Neo-Vedanta" was coined by Paul Hacker, in a pejorative way, to distinguish modern developments from "traditional" Advaita Vedanta.
In philosophy, naturalism is the idea or belief that only natural laws and forces operate in the universe. Adherents of naturalism assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.
Naturalism is not so much a special system as a point of view or tendency common to a number of philosophical and religious systems; not so much a well-defined set of positive and negative doctrines as an attitude or spirit pervading and influencing many doctrines. As the name implies, this tendency consists essentially in looking upon nature as the one original and fundamental source of all that exists, and in attempting to explain everything in terms of nature. Either the limits of nature are also the limits of existing reality, or at least the first cause, if its existence is found necessary, has nothing to do with the working of natural agencies. All events, therefore, find their adequate explanation within nature itself. But, as the terms nature and natural are themselves used in more than one sense, the term naturalism is also far from having one fixed meaning.
Decolonization of knowledge is primarily an intellectual project that challenges the hegemonic Western knowledge system with its claim of universality. The project seeks to legitimize other knowledge systems and establish justice for hitherto disregarded epistemologies. These debates originated in the west with the counter culture, prominent in universities in the 1970s, which supported similar debates in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere. Because of this project modern academic scholarship tends to give more weight to indigenous belief systems, as well as identities around race, gender, and sexuality. Critics would argue however that it has failed in many ways to challenge the dominant aspects of neoliberal ideology and the dominance of free market capitalism..