Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Nature of Science

  • Dawn Sutherland
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_407-2


Cultural contexts; Knowledge; Science

Chalmers (1980) poses a fundamental question in the title of his book, What Is This Thing Called Science? Philosophers of science and science educators for decades have attempted to create one clear, all-encompassing definition of science. However, these two groups have rarely developed definitions on which they both agree. The complexity involved in establishing one agreed definition of science is in part due to the difference in the purpose of the definition. Philosophers look for a definition of science that will provide an accurate depiction of the process of science. This definition serves as a guideline to those in the pursuit of scientific inquiry, the scientist, and the production of new scientific knowledge. In other words, philosophers develop a functional definition of science.

On the other hand, science educators attempt to obtain a definition of science that will provide direction to those in the pursuit of learning already...


Scientific Knowledge Cultural Context Indigenous Knowledge Indigenous Knowledge System Cartesian Dualism 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aikenhead G, Michell H (2011) Bridging cultures: indigenous and scientific ways of knowing nature. Person Canada, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  2. British Science Council (2009) What is science? http://www.sciencecouncil.org/definition. Accessed 9 Aug 2012
  3. Chalmers A (1980) What is this thing called science? Open University Press, Milton-KeynesGoogle Scholar
  4. International Council for Science (2002) ‘Science and traditional knowledge’, report from the ICSU Study Group on Science and Traditional Knowledge. http://www.icsu.org/publications/reports-and-reviews/science-traditional-knowledge/Science-traditional-knowledge.pdfon. Accessed 9 Aug 2013
  5. Lederman NG (1992) Student’s and teachers’ conceptions of the nature of science: a review of the research. J Res Sci Teach 29(4):331–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Office, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Science EducationThe University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada