First published in 1998, this collection of ten essays transforms our understanding of both the role of philosophical anthropology in modern world philosophy and the origins of tribal knowledge in their relation to contemporary assessments of cognition and consciousness. Ethnographic data from geographically distant cultures - such as the Maori of New Zealand, the Fore of New Guinea, the Sea Nomads of the Andaman, the Cowlitz of North America, the Maya, Australian Aborigines, Siberian Shamans - are carefully crafted toward an empirical basis for discussing a variety of phenomena traditional labelled in Western thought as transcendent or metaphysical. This anthology is a valuable source of information relevant for any theories of knowledge and a solid challenge for reductionist models of consciousness. The essays enhance our recognition and appreciation of fundamental similarities as well as differences in world views and cultural perspectives related to knowledge claims. This anthology illustrates unplumbed depths of human consciousness, reveals experiential understandings beyond linguistic thought, and stands aside from the view that behaviour and intelligence can be understood by deterministic principles.
This volume of essays should be read with stereoscopic vision: one lens focusing on the rich ethnographic material of folk societies, the other focusing on the wider awareness of how we come to know what we know. It features specialists in philosophy, ethnology and comparative sociology, comparative religion, cross-cultural psychology, physical anthropology, environmental and marine scientists, Indian affairs, anthropology, comparative literature, shamanism and theoretical biology. These contributors explore issues including individuality in relational cultures, Maori epistemology, shamanistic knowledge and cosmology and images of conduct, character and personhood in the Native American tradition.
Table of Contents
Part 1. Introduction. 1. Pathways to Knowledge. Helmut Wautischer. Part 2. Methodological Conundrums. 2. Observations on ‘Self’ and ‘Knowing’. Rudolph C. Rÿser. 3. Individuality in a Relational Culture: A Comparative Study. Hoyt L. Edge. Part 3. Ethnographic Assessment of Knowledge. 4. Understanding Maori Epistemology: A Scientific Perspective. Roma Mere Roberts and Peter R. Wills. 5. Preconquest Consciousness. E. Richard Sorenson. Part 4. Shamanistic Mediation of Meaning. 6. Shamanistic Knowledge and Cosmology. Michael Ripinsky-Naxon. 7. The Meaning of Ecstasy in Shamanism. Åke Hultkrantz. Part 5. Converging Knowledge in Cultural Diversity. 9. Myths and Morals: Images of Conduct, Character, and Personhood in the Native American Tradition. Nina Rosenstand. 10. Some ‘Shamanistic’ Affinities of Western Culture: ‘Donner un sens plus pur aux mots de la tribu’. Robert M. Torrance.
’I highly recommend this book for readers looking for something that is not mainstream’...Wautischer's book is daring and most welcome.’ Journal of Consciousness Studies ’...this volume has a great deal to contribute to the postmodern debate on how postmodern debate on how knowledge is generated within society, and how it is approached by the social sciences...will be welcomed by philosophers and psychological anthropologists as a theoretical exposition.’ Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor 'This is a book to be read by philosophers interested in the anthropology of consciousness.' American Indian Quarterly