Presented at CCA/ACC annual Conference, at Congress 2017, Ryerson U, Toronto, June 30, 2017.


To bring the philosophical enterprise back to its love-of-wisdom etymological roots is to stake the claim that the search for wisdom is the philosophically minded scholar’s most fundamental imperative-prerogative and positionality. This means a paradigmatic turn in philosophy, among whose increasingly influential tributaries are: environmentalism (R.Carson, 1962; L.Code, 2006), also underscored by “de-growth/post-growth” theorizations (G.d’Alisa et al., eds., 2015); various other social/global justice-oriented streams; and relational thinking broadly defined (W.Heisenberg, 1973; N.Noddings in C.Bingham & A.Sidorkin, 2004/10).

Importantly, re-etymologized philosophy is much more conversant with beliefs and practices that are impressively similar among, e.g., Indigenous peoples of the Americas (R.Atleo, 2005 & 2011; G.Cajete, 1994; Leroy Little Bear, 2000), New Zealand’s Maori (L.T.Smith, 2002), African sages (H.O.Oruka, 1991) and Bushmen (The Gods Must Be Crazy, 1980). Since it is the pair of “wisdom” and “culture”, a.o., that have come to translate “lesser” worlds to superior “civilization” boasting “philosophy”/“science”, the proposed re-etymologization also means (boldly explicating D.Vokey, 2001), re-visioning philosophy as a genre of intellectual insight that forms a continuum across firstfourth worlds, thereby legitimating existing differences as properly paradigmatic. Indeed, the above-mentioned Western and Indigenous epistemic flows converge on a core wisdom message, both sides increasingly recognizing shared similarities (Leroy Little Bear, 2000,2016; Pratt, 2002; Peat, 2005). Such decolonization/(re-)Indigenization of the mind/spirit is expected to be feeding into/off of bodily  decolonization, i.e., on the physical plane, through intersecting material, economic, geographical parameters – all these factors likely steered by Batesonian cyclical causality, rather than the hitherto mainstream-predominant one-way counterpart.

A number of pre-contact societies, relying on their own philosophy-theology-science (quotation marks-reprieved, like Indigenous science – P.Colorado 1988; G.Cajete 2000, a.o.), were fully sustainable and epidemic-free (D.Peat 2005, a.o.). I submit that this historical record, contrasted with the developed world’s progress-/success-compromised one, necessitates academia’s Wisdom Re-Turn, as an overarching culmination in a series of “turns” – affective, relational, etc. Remembering dissenting/wise voices, it is not philosophy in toto (just like science/technology) that is to blame for rationalistic exclusivity and wasteful superiority, and more concretely, for environmental decimation, political-economic hegemony, oppressive patriarchy, or colonialism with its accompanying racism/exploitation. Accountability lies with any digression from the self-explanatory etymological designation by its purveyors, or indeed, retailers.

Ultimately, if the developed world’s professionally disciplined philosophy were to retrace its historical-linguistic trajectory back to wisdom, humans would also be in a much better position to attain to proper belonging by owning-as-caring for, not possessing-as-exploiting the land we are born of: Indigenous/non-Indigenous historically, we all are indi-genous (< Lat. “in+born”) to planet Earth. By accepting our interdependence/ relatedness regarding all that surrounds us as a law and responsibility (Leroy Little Bear 2000, 2016; Tracy Lindberg, 2016, a.o.), pre-industrial paradigms going back to Antiquity and dissident/re-visionary/pioneering thinkers until today (D.Lorimer ed., 1999; W.Heisenberg, 1988) we would be honouring the ontological indigeneity we share with Indigenous peoples in Canada and elsewhere, and giving long-overdue recognition to the millennial practice-proven viability of their cognitive paradigms (Cajete, 1984,2000; D.McGregor, 2004,2008; Atleo, 2005,2011; Peat, 2005). Ergo, co-authoring an actual shared future beyond “reconciliation”.


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———- (2011) Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to Global Crisis. Vancouver, Toronto: UBC Press.

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———- (2016) ___________________________Keynote talk at Congress, 2016, University of Calgary, Alberta.

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