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Between Native American and Continental Philosophy: A comparative approach to narrative and the emergence of responsible selves

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Abstract

This essay explores some of the affinities between current theories of North American Indigenous trickster narratives and continental philosophy where they are both concerned with the question of responsibility in subject formations. Taking up the work of Judith Butler, Franz Kafka and Gerald Vizenor, the author works to show how both continental and Indigenous intellectual traditions work against any assumed stability for the ‘I’ in the narration of the self, yet toward responsible relationality. Such affinities, however, emerge from differing socio-cultural and linguistic horizons that are not reducible one to the other. This is particularly so with regard to the natural world and the ways in which Indigenous narratives are developed to foster responsible subjects to a larger biotic environment. Through discussion of such affinities and differences, the author seeks to broaden and multiculturalize contemporary debates in philosophy.

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