Local Ecologies of Knowledge: Towards a Philosophy of Ethnobiology

    Project: EU research project

    Project Details


    Indigenous and other local communities possess complex biological knowledge that is increasingly recognized in collaborative approaches in the agricultural, environmental, and health sciences. However, collaborations between local communities and academically trained scientists are commonly challenged by deep differences in epistemologies, ontologies, and value systems. For example, an Indigenous fisher may be an expert on a local marine ecosystem but rely on spiritual fishing norms and metaphysical assumptions that raise questions about compatibility with academic ecology. This project will develop “philosophy of ethnobiology” as an interdisciplinary meeting ground for addressing foundational methodological issues in cross-cultural negotiations of biological and ecological knowledge. As there has been almost no interaction between academic philosophy and ethnobiology, the project develops an equally ambitious and original program. It provides a framework for approaching cross-cultural collaborations despite deep philosophical differences and for expanding current philosophical debates through global and applied considerations. While I am trained as a philosopher of science, the project will develop an interdisciplinary research methodology that integrates philosophical analysis and empirical collaboration with three ethnobiological research teams in Brazil and Mexico. Furthermore, I have already shown the possibility of bringing these fields together in flagship journals of both philosophy of science and ethnobiology. The unique interdisciplinary methodology and published proofs of concept therefore clearly demonstrate the feasibility of developing “philosophy of ethnobiology” as a meeting ground between foundational and applied concerns of global challenges in the life sciences.
    Effective start/end date1/02/2031/01/25