Stance: An International Undergraduate Philosophy Journal

Volume 10, April 2017

Ried Gustafson
Pages 39-47

Epistemologies of Henry David Thoreau & the Lakota Sioux

Western individualism and Indigenous communalism are contradicting epistemologies. This paper provides a comparative analysis of these epistemologies found in the writings of Henry David Thoreau and Lakota Sioux philosopher, Robert Bunge. Taking a comparative look into these epistemologies is beneficial to understanding the fundamental difference in knowledge existing between Western and Indigenous peoples. Ultimately, Western individualism has created an environment of competition to establish boundaries and define oneself. In contrast, the Lakota knowledge of community operates to sustain life through reciprocity and adjustment to one another and the natural world.