An Epistemological Framework for Indigenous Knowledge

Claude Gélinas, Yves Bouchard


This paper presents an epistemological framework capable of addressing the opposition between indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge, an opposition widespread in anthropology especially in relation to the problem of sustainable development. In the first part of the paper, we provide a contextualist framework that satisfies two constraints: a priori neutrality with respect to forms, or types, of knowledge, and (2) explicitness of the conditions with respect to the possibility of knowledge transfer. In the second part, we apply the framework to the specific case of Northern Algonquian knowledge. By means of the framework, we investigate and make explicit the underlying epistemic standard at play by identifying the conditions under which particular beliefs are qualified as knowledge in the Northern Algonquian context.


Indigenous Knowledge; Scientific Knowledge; Contextualism; Algonquian; Sustainable Development


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