Interior Salishan Creation Stories: Historical Ethics in the Making

Journal of Religious Ethics 20 (2):353 - 387 (1992)
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Abstract

The descriptive and reflective aspects of ethical naturalism as a comparative approach are set in the context of an inquiry into the story tradi- tion of Interior Salishan peoples. In approaching cosmogonic stories of these traditions from a descriptive perspective, I observe these stories as practices, distinctive in their process as well as their content. The practice of these stories reveals ethical relationships structured in a manner that contrasts dramatically with ethics as an investigation into first principles, with formalist approaches that seek a universal rationality, and with narrative ethics that take a meta-narrative approach to meaning. These stories "tell" an Interior Salishan cultural process of constructing a dynamic and historical measure of meaning and value-a multidimensional economy of meaning that can be characterized as traditional individualism.

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