Mathias Risse Photo

Mathias Risse

Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy
Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs and Philosophy

The future of humanity depends on how we will manage to live with the technological revolutions that happen all around us. This is a good time to bring voices into the discussion that have long been excluded from impactful discussions about the future of humanity: voices of indigenous people, whose received wisdom reflects millennia of sustainable living in their respective contexts. Some of this wisdom has been worked out in distinctive indigenous philosophies, and the focus of this class is to explore some of these philosophies and assess what lessons they teach for the technological age. A focus is on indigenous authors from the U.S., but we encounter authors and perspectives from all continents. Topics we explore through the lens of indigenous philosophies include attitudes towards nature; views on technology generally; the Anthropocene; traditional ecological knowledge; artificial intelligence; genome-editing; geo-engineering; human rights; and the meaning of life. Engaging with indigenous perspectives on these matters is likely to have a transformative effect on how one approaches the big questions of the 21st century.