Cover

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Frontmatter

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Cover

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Contents

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Illustrations

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pp. ix-ix

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiv

We come to a place in the history of the First Nations of the Americas wherein a confluence of intellectual and political movements affecting academe has brought some of our indigenous students, faculty, and local knowledge bearers to the forefront of gate keeping. On one hand, more than ever before, members of our indigenous communities are entering academic...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

There are many who contributed to this work in innumerable ways—so many, in fact, that I will surely forget someone, and for that I apologize. I thank series editors Agnes Curry and Anne Waters for their comments and encouragement. I owe much to Piqua Sept Shawnee tribal elders Jim Perry (who recently passed), Don Rankin, and Rick Wagar. As well, I have ...

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1. Common Themes in American Indian Philosophy

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pp. 1-16

This chapter introduces the four common themes that are the focus of the interpretation of American Indian philosophy as a dance of person and place: relatedness and circularity as world-ordering principles, the expansive conception of persons, and the semantic potency of performance. It also offers a few clarifications and caveats that must frame the discussion, and explains ...

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2. Nelson Goodman’s Constructivism

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pp. 17-37

This chapter rehearses important tenets of Nelson Goodman’s constructivist view that there is a plurality of internally consistent, equally privileged, well-made actual worlds constructed through the use of very special symbol systems—true or right-world versions. It pays special attention to world-constructing processes and to Goodman’s criteria for an ultimately acceptable ...

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3. True Versions and Cultural Bias

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pp. 39-54

This chapter begins the argument for the legitimacy of an American Indian world version from a constructivist perspective. It begins with a critique of Goodman’s view, in which I gently suggest that his constructive nominal-ism cannot be the whole story, because mental acts of world construction are real, members of kinds, and necessarily antecedent to the actual worlds ...

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4. Relatedness, Native Knowledge, and Ultimate Acceptability

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pp. 55-76

This chapter finishes the argument for the legitimacy of an American Indian world version from a culturally sophisticated constructivist perspective. It also reintroduces and develops relatedness as a world-ordering principle—the first common theme in American Indian philosophy. Both come through an examination of a Native conception of knowledge, wherein we consider the ...

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5. An Expansive Conception of Persons

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pp. 77-94

This chapter begins with the insightful critique of a prominent Western conception of persons by Ross Poole, which will nicely frame our development of an American Indian expansive conception of persons. We will find that human beings are essentially “spirit beings” in a changeable human form who become persons by virtue of their relationships with and obligations ...

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6. The Semantic Potency of Performance

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pp. 95-117

This chapter explores the third common theme in American Indian world versions, the semantic potency of performance. Through a consideration of various sorts of speech acts, dance, a naming ceremony, and Native gifting traditions, the chapters shows how performing with a symbol empowers the symbol, transforms the participants, categorizes and orders experiences, and ...

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7. Circularity as a World-Ordering Principle

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pp. 119-133

This chapter begins with the commonplace that American Indian religious traditions can be distinguished from Western religious traditions in that the former focus on space, place, and nature, whereas the latter are framed by time, events, and history. I then present a constructivist interpretation of Donald Fixico’s reflection that American Indian philosophy is a circular ...

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8. The Dance of Person and Place

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pp. 135-139

This final chapter focuses on the interpretation of our four common themes in American Indian philosophy, relatedness and circularity as world-ordering principles, the expansive conception of persons, and the semantic potency of performance, as a dance of person and place. It also presents some closing reflections, speculations, and consequences of this constructivist rendering ...

Notes

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pp. 141-152

Bibliography

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pp. 153-158

Index

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pp. 159-164