The concept of Wind as an underlying and unitary force in a Navajo conceptual scheme, as presented primarily in the work of James R. McNeley (Holy Wind in Navajo Philosophy), is used as a means of exploring the possibility that the philosophical theory of monism may serve to explain basic Navajo cultural perspectives.
The study shows how philosophical method--analysis of conceptual notions and their implications--may enhance understanding of the many works on the Navajo presently offered through anthropological and ethnological research.
The idea that Native Americans share a view of the universe as "one thing" has been mentioned by many researchers. The fact that this view may be a monistic one has not heretofore been explored. The Navajo explanation of the Wind concept, as reported by McNeley, is compared to the monistic view proposed by Benedict de Spinoza in the seventeenth-century.
Aside from the analysis of McNeley's presentation this study relies on the views of non-Western peoples offered in the work of Benjamin Whorf and Ludwig Wittgenstein ("Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough").
The presentation of the Navajo world views as monistic is offered as an example for testing whether such a view might be present in other Native American peoples.
Level of Degree
First Committee Member (Chair)
Fred Gillette Sturm
Second Committee Member
Robert W. Young
Third Committee Member
Donald Clark Lee
Fourth Committee Member
Fifth Committee Member
Cordova, Viola F.. "The Concept of Monism in Navajo Thought." (1992). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/phil_etds/29