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“Indigenize” by getting close to the land we’re born of – How’s that?! 🙂


The question now, is,

  • Knowing that paradigms like the one mapped by Siobhan Senier (2013) existed,
  • whereby dichotomies around alternative gender, human/nature, and now “dis-ability”
  • did not tear the social fabric,
  • how do we, situated in “developed” countries, can best stitch our societies up?

I have no problem coming up with huge bucket list items that are so extreme they seem impossible yet I make them happen, but I lost sight of what I really want from my every day life and it leaves me feeling unfulfilled and discouraged. I’m at a cross-roads now. I will be leaving my […]

via 10 Things I Want From Life — Bucket List Publications

you would have seen this poster in Toronto, i imagine?!

including in the window of variety stores that — by the additional looks of it —

ARE

selling

cigarettes,

whether someone attempted to scratch the merchandize evidence out — see top left above

SOOOooo, …

PPt-as-PDF file


On the eve of Canada’s 150th anniversary an equitable relationship between First Peoples and “settlers”/“newcomers” is still out of reach (cf. findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 2015, and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996, twenty years apart). Extending law professor Kathleen Mahoney’s “Canada’s origin story” SSHRCC keynote (November 2015), I propose to postpone the “Canada 150” graduation until we’ve taken a make-up “Canada 101” course, addressing whose-ecological-knowledge-counts as a top-priority topic.

I submit that, in conceptualizing the future of this country alternatively to its ongoing, if chronically unacknowledged, colonialism, practice-justified Indigenous knowledges – at their philosophical core – are well worth employing on a par with re-examined(!) European-descended knowledges. Drawing on the work of Indigenous scholars Winona Laduke (1999), Deborah McGregor (2005, 2008), Richard Atleo (2011 & elsewhere), a.o., I compare (non-)Indigenous environmental philosophies in search of coalitional yet diversified, non-colonial thinking and action. “Traditional ecological knowledge” (TEK), a notion introduced by the mainstream for the Indigenous eco-epistemological orientation, but predictably eschued by Indigenous scholars (discussed in McGregor, 2005), is given a two-way upgrade, allowing Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges to cross-pollinate or specialize, depending on the case, in informing environmental policy-making.

The study explores the correspondences between epistemological issues of paradigm (in)commensurability (per Kuhn’s “scientific revolution” model) and actual lived experiences of environmental injustices, notably in Canada’s “fourth world” and the global “third world” (see Shiva 1989/2010, a.o.), largely perpetrated by Canada et al.’s “first worlds”. Given the increasingly visible global-scale ecological crisis, which has come to be recognized as related to the industrialized-technologized lifestyle of the (ironically) “developed” world, attention is directed to lessons to be gained from the historically proven sustainable practices of “pre-contact” societies, and their persisting present-day descendants. I, moreover, insist on also looking at Europe’s own pre-Industrial ways of life and underlying worldviews (see, e.g., Lorimer’s 1998 edited volume), from which Western modernity, and even more so current free market economy, have drastically, and ultimately (self-)destructively, departed.

This allows me to argue, on some level critically/pedagogically and on another post-dichotomously/coalitionally, that the notion of TEK is not precluded from reference to what Europe “knew” (no different than world-wide wisdom traditions) and chose to sidestep through its double-edged values of “progress”/“civilization”/“development”. Sampling 25 centuries, there is a record of reverence for nature and “paradigmatic rebellions” (Rorty, 1979) against its subjection in the thought of … Sophocles,… Hildegard von Bingen,… Goethe,… Hans Jonas…

The educational philosophy message is that an up-to-date “Canada 101” epistemology informing public/personal decisions would invite the traditional knowledges of a re-emerging Indigenous North America, while heeding the wake-up calls of contemporary science (Hansen 2009, Schneider 2009, Weaver 2009 on climate) and concurring theoretical stances, without ignoring nature-mindful European (and, likewise, world-wide) legacies. Rather than denying “[economic] growth” (Jackson, 2009), wellbeing (cf. Anishinaabe minobimaatisiiwin “right/good living”) would entail growing together in (ecological) wisdom as far as economy, technology, and overall way-of-life. By ecosystemic interconnectedness, the blueprint for an equitably knowledgeable Canada that is yet to be born calls forth a similarly upgraded Earth.

Keywords: philosophy; systems theory/social systems, cultural imperialism, post-colonialism, policy, ethics, environmental journalism

 REFERENCES

Atleo, E. Richard [a.k.a. Umeek] (2004) Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. Vancouver, Toronto: UBC Press.

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

Haraway, Donna (1988) Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies 14(3), pp. 575-599 (Autumn 1988). Appears in S. Harding, ed., The Feminist Standpoint Theory

Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. pp. 81-101. New York & London: Routledge.

Carson, Rachel Silent Spring

Code, Lorraine (2006) Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location. Oxford, UK: Oxfod University Press.

Laduke, Winona (1999) All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life. Cambridge, MA: Southend Press.

Lorimer, David, ed. (1998) The Spirit of Science: From Experiment to Experience. Edinburgh, Scotland: Floris Books.

McGregor, Deborah (2005) Traditional Ecological Knowledge: An Anishnabe Woman’s Perspective. Atlantis 29(2), Spring/Summer 2005, pp.103-109.

———- (2008) Linking Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Western Science: Aboriginal Perspectives from the 2000 State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference. The Canadian Journal of Native Studies XXVIII, 1(8):139-158.

Rorty, Richard (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Shiva, Vandana (1989/2010) Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development. London: Zed. Republished in 2010 by

South End Press.

———- (1997) Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge. Boston, MA: South End Press.

PPt-as-PDF file


 

“Truth” – judging by the presumed cognitive extremes of religious/spiritual and epistemological/scientific contexts (Rorty, 1979, 2005) – can be seen, across the board, as the goal of inquiry and the highest distinction awarded in/for understanding and knowing well. This is because truth (best knowledge) potentially serves (in Deweyan terms) the “betterment of life”, which is why human societies have had, in one form or another, a special place for education. When it comes to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools (TRC, 2015), extending the work of RCAP (1996) and mandated by the ensuing IRS Settlement Agreement (2006), we face the asymmetric truths of a colonial history and present, and the urgent-discomfiting imperative of making space for these in knowing about the past and for the future. I see this as a long-term (in)formal educating-for/by-doing enterprise, attuned to the TRC’s 94 calls-to-action.

TRC’s truths exceed the analytic philosophy mould, descended from the Kantian tradition of “philosophy as epistemology” (per Rorty’s, 1979 diagnosis), whereby mental representation and apodicticity reign supreme. Instead, in their robust social/power situatednesses and investments, said truths demand a composite epistemological-ethical examination, as proposed by Miranda Fricker (2007) for “epistemic injustice” in gendered legal contexts, and earlier pursued more comprehensively by Donna Haraway, Lorraine Code, among many other feminist/revisionist epistemologists. I direct my similarly multimodal discursive lens toward a shared (non)Indigenous future for Canada. My emphatically public-cum-academic educational philosophy project, informed by TRC’s 94 calls-to-action (op.cit.), openly engages the country’s foundational colonial dichotomy to map past-current-future cognitive relationships within and across(non-)Indigenous spaces, along socio-psychological, political-economic, etc. dimensions.

I will argue that there is no direct, neat and easy, causal link between truth andreconciliation. Truth-finding/telling will be politically, educatively, and profoundly humanly vacuous, unless it effectively informs the consistent, continual creation and exercise of upgraded social habits/action. I take up the symbolic revision of “Canada’s Origin Story”, per law professor Kathleen Mahoney’s SSHRCC keynote (November 27, 2015), as a shorthand for the actual re-constituting of Canada. Namely, accepting Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit, Metis) as “co-founding” nations to reinstate them on a par with the currently constitutionally recognized British and French European settlers (in truth, colonizers). This means being/becoming – today, just as in the fur trade that birthed Canada (Innis, 1962; Ray, 1975, 1990), or in the French and Indian Wars (Tehanetorens, 1999) – partners of co-equal epistemic/economic/political agency. Hence, truly confederate – peaceful – nations.

The above, I propose, necessitates a comprehensive, transformative (self)educational project throughout the school-society continuum. It is to re-tune the ways in which and the reasons for which (non)Indigenous actors generate and engage with socially situated, thus ethically charged knowledges about/by/for self and each other, which have been, far too long, conspicuously discrepant. By conducting a hybrid epistemological inquiry, I project the conditions for a likewise multidimensional Canadian past-to-future “truth” of mutual inclusivity. Hide-and-seek need no longer be a colonizer/colonized tactic to circumvent reciprocally problematic truths of the past 500 years. Instead, Canada re-constitutes itself, byand for, the ethical-epistemic-pedagogical truthfulness of strategic mutuality.

REFERENCES

Fricker, Miranda (2007) Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (May 8, 2006) www.residentialschoolssettlement.ca/settlement.html

Innis, Harold Adam (1962) The Fur Trade in Canada: An Introduction to Canadian Economic History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Mahoney, Kathleen (2015) “Canada’s Origin Story”. SSHRCC keynote, Victoria, BC, November 27, 2015.

Ray, Arthur J. (1974) Indians in the Fur Trade. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

———- (1990) The Canadian Fur Trade in the Industrial Age. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Rorty, Richard (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. NJ: Princeton University Press.

———- (2005) Anticlericalism and Atheism. In Richard Rorty & Gianni Vattimo,The Future of Religion, pp. 29-42. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Vols I-V. Canada.

Tehanetorens [Ray Fadden] (1999) Wampum Belts of the Iroquois. Summertown, Tennessee: Book Publishing Company.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015a) Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Winnipeg, Manitoba: TRC. www.trc.ca

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015b) Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. Winnipeg, Manitoba: TRC. www.trc.ca

 

Weeelll, it is exciting to watch

— at 3:00/3:30 pm-ish, on a mild December Friday afternoon —

how the vote count soars, in front of your eyes

http://www.ontariondp.ca/stoptheselloff

59,744 signatures at 3:25

840 at 4:05

 

SUCCESS to Andrea Horvath’s campaign to stop Hydro One’s privatization!

[announced goal is 60,000 sig’s; the time frame = “a little over a week” yesterday THU]

seems safe to bet that we’ll hit the mark in les than 24h (received emailed link THU around noon)


On Toronto Star’s watch:

  • Thu Oct 29 2015 article by  Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

image caption states:

In his first-ever report to the legislature, Ontario budget watchdog [IF I may, we could have done without this “title”] Stephen LeClair said the sale of 60 per cent of Hydro One would hike the already massive provincial debt by slashing revenue. More…

a humorous post that somehow hadn’t gotten posted for awhile 🙂



img credit: free stock images

Well, it turns out, Toronto’s MaRS Centre will be hosting an HTML500 event, i.e. a crash course of sorts in HTML coding for near-beginners. One way to read Marit Mitchell’s UofT News article on the subject can be an ironic

* * * We Must Surrender * * *

AND

* * * Learn to Code * * *

Well, those who may still be resisting 🙂 🙂 🙂

(It is certainly fun to be causing “stuff” to happen on your blog, for example, even minimally)

But isn’t that the way with so many technologies??? Irresistible???

I confess

I am one of

the progressively fewer

CELL PHONE HOLDOUTS

for example

And NO, I do not deserve that much credit — I CAN STILL AFFORD IT, — for now.

  • Don’t have to get my job assignments by cell phone
  • Don’t need ongoing W3 searches for this or that
  • Don’t have to tag that way teenage kids
  • Ergo: Can still “wax environmental”

So, if you’d be interested, and happen to be in T.O.

And should you need a boost,


On the dangers of cell phones — see Dr Devra Davis’s Huffington Post article “Beyond Brain Cancer: Other Possible Dangers of Cell Phones”

So, the keywords:

  • “replenish” — term sums up human-human relationship as per Jean Vanier’s book Becoming Human
  • “heartmindfully” — term translates citta = heart + mind + not forgetting the body
  • “to the 7th generation” — metaphorizes the long-term Indigenous responsibility for thought and action

Replenishing One Another

Heartmindfully, to the Seventh Generation

To explore the question of how cross-cultural knowledges can inform the directions and modes in which the human potential of individuals and their communities could unfold, the present paper samples paradigms within the Buddhist and Native North American traditions, and further expands the “difference” taxonomy with the philosophy behind Jean Vanier’s L’Arche network of homes for the disabled. The comparative exploration of such purposefully chosen disparate epistemic-experiential spaces shows that they in fact have in common relatedness to Self, Other, and broader ecosystems. What is more, their overlap matches aspects of Western paradigmatic rebellions such as feminism, ecological and systems thinking models, critical (race/equity) theorizations, a.o., and harkens to the pragmatism of Peirce, James, and Dewey.

The noted overlap is proposed as what can make a difference in education (institutional and life-long) by orienting it toward a world-wide consciousness shift for mutually beneficial thinking-feeling-acting. This is in tune with scholarly efforts that have yielded approaches/models such as Claudia Eppert’s (2010 & elsewhere) “intercultural healing ethic”, Daniel Vokey’s (2001) “moral discourse in a pluralistic world”, Scott Pratt’s (2002) “rethinking of the roots of American philosophy”, James Tully’s (2009, 2014) Indigenous-knowledges informed “public philosophy”, or Jean Vanier’s (1998/2008) tao of “becoming human”.

Starting with Buddhism, its multiple streams (the earlier Theravada Buddhism, the later Tibetan Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism), generated over a period of more than 2,500 years, has a relatively long tradition of exchanges with the West. As far as current insights about concrete applications in educational settings, a number of scholars have engaged key notions like “mindfulness” (in Pali: sati), “heartmind” (Pali and Sanskrit: citta), or the four “divine abodes” (brahmavihāras), commonly rendered as “compassion”, “equanimity”, “lovingkindness”, “sympathetic joy” (in Pali: karunā, upekkhā, mettā, muditā, respectively).

While mindfulness, with its relatively Buddhism-independent status in e.g. current neuropsychology and psychiatry, may not even qualify as cross-cultural translation (of sati) because it misses its content (see Don Nelson, 2010, for the “scientific approach” relying on brain state neurophysiological assessments in D.J. Siegel, 2007, a.o.), there are other notions which seem to exemplify that. A good illustration is the nondualistic “heartmind [and body]” (citta, as in bodhicitta), which, being a single word in Pali, lends an extra leverage to Claudia Eppert’s (2010) de-dichotomization project, and by extension to her argument for citta-informed “heartmind literacy” that, compared to the well exercised “emotional literacy”, is, one might say, a few steps ahead on the way to restoring humans to wholeness, and education to a matching mode.  In a similar vein, Mary Jo Hinsdale (2012) proposes an “ethic of love” to guide the interactions of a professor with her students (and vice versa, I’d add), whereby she replenishes Kelly Oliver’s “theory of witnessing” with the divine abodes, foregrounding “lovingkindness”. Just as Eppert, gaining conceptual-affective traction from Buddhism, argues for a revisioned “heartmind literacy” and also opens up the understanding (Nussbaum’s, a.o.) of the closely related notion of “compassion”, so does Hinsdale enrich Oliver’s argument, and her own, for a view of Self-formation that entails “mutual subjectivity” rather than being bound by the standard, descended from Hegel, of identity-building by way of “recognition” predicated on strife/confrontation.

In a cross-cultural dialogue, the Buddhism scholars discussed above are building bridges to ultural traditions from the “third world”, whether at its original geographical location, or transposed to any other point around the globe by migrants. By giving dignity to culturally distinct knowledges, and thereby to the Others that embody them and to the embedding cultures, the authors can be thought of as contributing substantially to Eppert’s “intercultural healing ethic” project.

Similarly valuated flows can be tracked in Scott Pratt’s argument for a pre-contact “Native pragmatism”, which foreshadowed the classical pragmatism of Peirce, James, and Dewey. He conceptualizes four foundational principles that drive it, namely, interaction, pluralism, community, and growth. By closely following the historical record of exchanges between Indigenous peoples of the American North-East and European settlers, he projects a connection, however indirect, to the founders of American pragmatism, in whose later philosophies he sees the four principles resurfacing. Thus, in a radical move, he puts Indigenous knowledges and their embodying humans, not just on a par with (post-)settler America. In effect, he aligns them with the original colonizer, Europe, whose cultural elites treated the New World as an intellectual clone at best, and first peoples as epistemologically (and even bodily) invisible, only giving grudging (if any) recognition to pragmatism as the first properly American philosophical approach. Taking a look at the West Coast, Richard Atleo, among a growing number of Indigenous scholars, has shown that the Nuu-chah-nulth worldview of tsawalk, or “ontological unity” (a.k.a. interconnectedness), can go far in suggesting an ecologically oriented way of being in the world, informing public activism and state policy (cf. Tully’s public philosophy). As is well known, a number of Indigenous nations pledge responsibility for the world, as the idiom goes, “to the seventh generation”.

Switching situatednesses from the ethnic-political to the embodied, through his work with L’Arche homes for the disabled, Jean Vanier develops a philosophy that is very much in line with the deeper relatedness message of the previous theorizations. “Becoming human” shapes up as the process that teaches one to love difference and its presumed uncanniness/inferiority as well as, and, conversely, to believe in oneself and in the possibility and reality of being loved despite one’s difference.  Far from surprisingly, Vanier shares that the able-bodied and privileged can learn how to give love to the least attractive, in what can aptly be described as the “to and fro” of relationship that is mutually replenishing.

To conclude, in establishing a common denominator the juxtaposition of concordant “old” and “(re)new(ed)” knowledges of relatedness to Self, Other, and the rest of (a)biotic Nature may be downplayed as a cliché (cf. the so-called Golden Rule of loving one’s neighbour that is cross-culturally pervasive). However, I propose to treat the established convergence as an affirmation of a “real would-be” (in Peircean terms) and an opportunity for a turning point in human history. By this token it becomes a promising, edifying (in Rorty’s 1979 terms), formal and public education agenda for the directions and modes in which to think, feel, intuit, act,… and ultimately live-with, and live on.

 

References

Atleo, E. Richard a.k.a. Umeek (2004) Tsawalk: A Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview. Vancouver and Toronto: University of British Columbia Press.

———- (2011) Principles of Tsawalk: An Indigenous Approach to World Crisis. Vancouver and Toronto: University of British Columbia Press.

Eppert, Claudia (2010) “Heartmind Literacy: Compassionate Imaging and the Four Brahmavihäras”, Paideusis 19, no 1 (2010), pp. 17-28.

Eppert, Claudia and Hongyu Wang, eds. (2008) Cross-cultural Studies in Curriculum: Eastern Thought, Educational Insights. Mahweh, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum/Routledge, Taylor & Francis.

Hinsdale, Mary Jo (2012) “Choosing to Love”, Paideusis 20, no 2 (2012), pp.  36-45.

Nelson, Donald (2010) “Implementing Mindfulness: Practice as the Home of Understanding”. Paideusis 19, no 1 (2010), pp.  4-14.

Nhat Hanh, Titch (1998) Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism. Berkeley: Parallax Press.

Oliver, Kelly (2001) Witnessing: Beyond Recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Pratt, Scott L. (2002) Native Pragmatism: Rethinking the Roots of American Philosophy. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Rorty, Richard (1979) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979).

Tully, James (2009) Public Philosophy in a New Key. Volume I: Democracy and Civic Freedom, Volume I I: Imperialism and Civic Freedom. Cambridge University Press.

———- (2014) On global citizenship: James Tully in dialogue. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Vanier, Jean (1998/2008) Becoming Human. CBC Massey Lectures Series. Toronto, ON: House of Anansi Press.

Vokey, Daniel (2001) Moral Discourse in a Pluralistic World. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

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