Indigenous worldviews meet Western paradigms: a path to renewal of human/non-human relationships

Wehrheim, Kat (2023) Indigenous worldviews meet Western paradigms: a path to renewal of human/non-human relationships. Doctoral thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St. David.

Wehrheim, Kat (2023) PhD Indigenous Worldviews meet western paradigms.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (16MB) | Preview


This thesis attempts to identify and overcome barriers to potential knowledge transfer and collaboration between Western and Indigenous worldviews regarding our human relationship with more-than-human nature. Issues of discrimination and epistemic injustice are contextualised with existing minority and intersectional thought, and distinguished from particular incommensurabilities between the two worldviews requiring their own approach. Part 1 introduces and practises an iterative methodology of utilising, and progressing from, familiar stepping stones on a journey towards understanding of the unfamiliar on its own terms. Indigenous and Western academics’ own journey of “The Dialogues”, a series of conferences, is retraced, exploring parallels between quantum theory and Indigenous thought over a period of ten years, and revealing a shared ethic of responsive responsibility as we interact with those around us. These results are shown to be interwoven with Merleau-Ponty’s and Spinoza’s thinking. An interim conclusion is drawn of the unhelpfulness of human persistence in our assumption of unilateral control of the world. This leads to the Part 2 question of how an alternative to our unilateral control can be lived in the contemporary West, considering our tendency to impose Cartesian distinctions of binary dualism not only of mind and body and of humans versus non-humans, but also of the spiritual versus the material and of the individual versus the whole: learning from Indigenous worldviews would involve our openness to understanding these as being in a non-binary relationship of mutual supportiveness instead, entailing a constitutive role of ritual. Stepping stones to our engagement with an Indigenous, participationalist paradigm are provided by Jacques Ellul’s, John Dewey’s, and William James’s thinking. Three case studies explore the possibility of Western participation in the shared learning and creation inherent in Indigenous understandings of performative knowledge processes. To the extent that we acknowledge the incompleteness of our understanding, we may be able to reclaim our responsiveness to that which, only a few hundred years ago, we in the West, too, might have referred to as the sacred in the material.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Indigenous, philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Kat Wehrheim
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2023 15:51
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 15:51

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only