Cosmology, Ethics and the "Biocentric Indian"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The difference between the Western and the “Indian” view of nature has sometimes in the literature on environmental ethics been expressed as the difference between an anthropocentric and biocentric worldview. This argument often juxtaposes two models, without consideration of context. My aim in this article is to investigate those aspects of Amerindian cosmologies that have led Western scholars to classify them as biocentric. Since this ascription often has been a general statement, unanchored in time and space, I will limit my discussion to premodern Mi’kmaq, formerly hunters but today living in scattered reserves in the coastal provinces of eastern Canada. The purpose is to uncover the nature of ontology, epistemology and ethics that stems from their specific being-in-the-world or dwelling, in order to discuss and contextualize the biocentric concept.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions


  • Amerindian cosmologies, environmental ethics, biocentrism vs. anthropocentrism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-48
JournalActa Americana
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (015017000)