In this conversation, Brazilian anthropologist, philosopher, and political activist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro offers an overview of his thinking, both past and present. After explaining why initially he argued that ontology should be a topic of anthropologists, he discusses his more recent conclusion that indigenous thought should be regarded instead as metaphysical. It is not that la pensée sauvage has an implicit ontology discoverable by the human sciences but, rather, that indigenous people themselves think about metaphysical issues as such. He explains the origins of this position in the ethnographic fieldwork that he undertook in the 1980s with the Awareté of northwestern Brazil and in his and the anthropologist Philippe Descola's parallel engagements with the structuralism of Claude Lévi-Strauss. Finally, Viveiros de Castro addresses the political stakes of ascribing metaphysics to alien and marginal peoples, clarifying what he means by the “permanent decolonization of thought.”

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