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This philosophy of anthropology section is within philosophy of social science, so the term 'anthropology' is here taken as short for social and cultural anthropology. Philosophy of anthropology aims to contribute to our understanding of anthropology as a discipline through doing philosophy. Most works within this category fall into one or more of the following areas. (1) Attempts to answer questions about the nature or value of anthropology, e.g. what distinguishes anthropology from other disciplines? is it possible to pursue  anthropology as a science? what moral obligations does anthropology give rise to? (2) Attempts to identify the commitments of a given type of anthropology, e.g. functionalist anthropology, structuralist anthropology; and also philosophical evaluations of these commitments. (3) Attempts to define more general concepts that are closely connected to anthropological research, e.g. the concept of a culture, the concept of a belief system; and also evaluations of their value to anthropology.

Key works Wittgenstein 1967 (in German), Quine 1957 and Davidson 1973 are key works written by philosophers. A number of key works are by anthropologists reflecting on their discipline. See Malinowski 1922 (introductory chapter), Evans-Pritchard 1961, Lévi-Strauss 1969, Geertz 1973, Sperber 1985, Sperber 1996, Clifford & Marcus 1986, Spiro 1986, Spiro 1996, Strathern 1987, Strathern 1987, Strathern 1990, Gell 1992, Gell 1994 and Henare et al 2007.
Introductions A good place to start is the first essay of Sperber 1985. Hacker 1992 is useful for understanding Wittgenstein's criticisms of Frazer. Lynch 1997 serves well as an introduction to what a conceptual framework is and whether there can be alternative conceptual frameworks.
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  1. J. Abbink & Hans Vermeulen (eds.) (1992). History and Culture: Essays on the Work of Eric R. Wolf. Het Spinhuis.
    Introduction Jan Abbink and Hans Vermeulen This volume consists of essays and studies by authors inspired by the work of Eric Wolf, a central figure in ...
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  2. J. Agassi (1987). Book Reviews : Understanding Cultures, Perspectives in Anthropology and Social Theory. By ROBERT C. ULIN. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984. Pp. Xvii + 200. U.S. $19.95. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (2):278-283.
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  3. José Antonio González Alcantud (2008). Sísifo y la Ciencia Social: Variaciones Críticas de la Antropología. Anthropos.
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  4. Catherine Alexander (2007). Rationality and Contingency : Rhetoric, Practice and Legitimation in Almaty, Kazakhstan. In Jeanette Edwards, Penelope Harvey & Peter Wade (eds.), Anthropology and Science: Epistemologies in Practice. Berg.
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  5. F. Allan Hanson (1986). Strictures and Ratiocinations: I. C. Jarvie's Philosophy for Anthropology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 16 (4):489-499.
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  6. M. Ananth (2001). Book Review: Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
  7. R. J. Anderson, J. A. Hughes & W. W. Sharrock (1984). II. Wittgenstein and Comparative Sociology. Inquiry 27 (1-4):268-276.
    Focusing on a discussion by Ruddich and Stassen of the ?Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough?, this paper shows that some of the usual criticisms made by sociologists of Wittgenstein are misplaced. He does not reject causal explanations of beliefs and actions and replace them with some other form of explanation, but dismisses the idea that any explanation is called for here. His argument that the origin of the desire to explain beliefs is to be found in a misconceived parallel between (...)
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  8. Heidi Armbruster & Anna Lærke (eds.) (2008). Taking Sides: Ethics, Politics, and Fieldwork in Anthropology. Berghahn Books.
    This volume, written by a new generation of scholars engaged with contemporary global movements for social justice and peace, reflects their efforts in trying ...
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  9. O. I͡U Artemova (2009). Koleno Isava: Okhotniki, Sobirateli, Rybolovy Opyt Izuchenii͡a Alʹternativnykh Sot͡sialʹnykh Sistem.
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  10. Rita Astuti & Maurice Bloch (2012). Anthropologists as Cognitive Scientists. Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (3):453-461.
    Anthropology combines two quite different enterprises: the ethnographic study of particular people in particular places and the theorizing about the human species. As such, anthropology is part of cognitive science in that it contributes to the unitary theoretical aim of understanding and explaining the behavior of the animal species Homo sapiens. This article draws on our own research experience to illustrate that cooperation between anthropology and the other sub-disciplines of cognitive science is possible and fruitful, but it must proceed from (...)
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  11. Rita Astuti & Maurice Bloch (2010). Why a Theory of Human Nature Cannot Be Based on the Distinction Between Universality and Variability: Lessons From Anthropology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):83-84.
    We welcome the critical appraisal of the database used by the behavioral sciences, but we suggest that the authors' differentiation between variable and universal features is ill conceived and that their categorization of non-WEIRD populations is misleading. We propose a different approach to comparative research, which takes population variability seriously and recognizes the methodological difficulties it engenders.
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  12. Rita Astuti, Jonathan P. Parry & Charles Stafford (eds.) (2007). Questions of Anthropology. Berg.
    Anthropology today seems to shy away from the big, comparative questions that ordinary people in many societies find compelling. Questions of Anthropology brings these issues back to the centre of anthropological concerns. Individual essays explore birth, death and sexuality, puzzles about the relationship between science and religion, questions about the nature of ritual, work, political leadership and genocide, and our personal fears and desires, from the quest to control the future and to find one's "true" identity to the fear of (...)
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  13. Marc Augé (1999). The War of Dreams: Exercises in Ethno-Fiction. Pluto Press.
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  14. Marc Augé (1998). A Sense for the Other: The Timeliness and Relevance of Anthropology. Stanford University Press.
    If the end of exoticism is one of the characteristics of our time, and if classical anthropology based its study of alterity on this exotic distance from the other, is anthropology still possible, and if so, to what end? The author uses these questions as a point of departure for a probing interrogation of ethnological practice, starting with Le;vi-Strauss. The author advocates an anthropology of 'proximity' in place of the usual anthropology of distance. He has studied such emblematic places of (...)
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  15. Johannes Balthasar (1991). Anthropological Ideograms. What Kind of Species is Man? Philosophy and History 24 (1/2):29-29.
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  16. Alan Barnard (2000). History and Theory in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
    Anthropology is a discipline very conscious of its history. Alan Barnard has written a clear, detailed overview of anthropological theory that brings out the historical contexts of the great debates, tracing the genealogies of theories and schools of thought. His book covers the precursors of anthropology; evolutionism in all its guises; diffusionism and culture area theories, functionalism and structural-functionalism; action-centered theories; processual and Marxist perspectives; the many faces of relativism, structuralism and poststructuralism; and recent interpretive and postmodernist viewpoints. This is (...)
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  17. S. R. Barrett (1989). On Anthropological Knowledge. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 19 (1):103-104.
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  18. S. R. Barrett (1985). Book Reviews : The Building of British Social Anthropology. By Ian Langham. Dordrecht: Holland, Boston: U.S.A., London: England: D. Reidel Publishing Company, 1981. Pp. XXXII + 392. $72.50 (Cloth), $29.50 (Paper. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 15 (1):103-107.
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  19. Stanley R. Barrett (1984). Racism, Ethics and the Subversive Nature of Anthropological Inquiry. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 14 (1):1-25.
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  20. A. Beaulieu (2004). Mediating Ethnography: Reflections on Ethnographic Practices and the Study of the Internet. Social Epistemology 18 (2-3):139-163.
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  21. Richard H. Bell (1984). Wittgenstein's Anthropology Self-Understanding and Understanding Other Cultures. Philosophical Investigations 7 (4):295-312.
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  22. Sieghard Beller, Andrea Bender & Douglas L. Medin (2012). Should Anthropology Be Part of Cognitive Science? Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (3):342-353.
    Anthropology and the other cognitive science (CS) subdisciplines currently maintain a troubled relationship. With a debate in topiCS we aim at exploring the prospects for improving this relationship, and our introduction is intended as a catalyst for this debate. In order to encourage a frank sharing of perspectives, our comments will be deliberately provocative. Several challenges for a successful rapprochement are identified, encompassing the diverging paths that CS and anthropology have taken in the past, the degree of compatibility between (1) (...)
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  23. Giovanni Bennardo (2014). Cognitive Anthropology's Contributions to Cognitive Science: A Cultural Human Mind, a Methodological Trajectory, and Ethnography. Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (1):138-140.
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  24. Eeva Berglund (2006). Generating Nontrivial Knowledge in Awkward Situations : Anthropology in the United Kingdom. In Gustavo Lins Ribeiro & Arturo Escobar (eds.), World Anthropologies: Disciplinary Transformations Within Systems of Power. Berg.
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  25. Jon Bialecki (2014). Does God Exist in Methodological Atheism? On Tanya Lurhmann's When God Talks Back and Bruno Latour. Anthropology of Consciousness 25 (1):32-52.
    In the anthropology of Christianity, and more broadly in the anthropology of religion, methodological atheism has foreclosed ethnographic description of God as a social actor. This prohibition is the product of certain ontological presumptions regarding agency, an absence of autonomy of human creations, and a truncated conception of what can be said to exist. Reading Tanya Luhrmann's recent ethnography, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God (2012), in light of both the ontological postulates of Object Orientated (...)
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  26. Max Black (1959). Linguistic Relativity: The Views of Benjamin Lee Whorf. Philosophical Review 68 (2):228-238.
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  27. Maurice Bloch & Dan Sperber, Kinship and Evolved Psychological Dispositions: The Mother's Brother Controversy Reconsidered (to Appear in Current Anthropology).
    The article revisits the old controversy concerning the relation of the mother's brother and sister's son in patrilineal societies in the light both of anthropological criticisms of the very notion of kinship and of evolutionary and epidemiological approaches to culture. It argues that the ritualized patterns of behavior that had been discussed by Radcliffe-Brown, Goody and others are to be explained in terms of the interaction of a variety of factors, some local and historical, others pertaining to general human dispositions. (...)
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  28. Maurice Bloch & Dan Sperber, Kinship and Evolved Psychological Dispositions.
    This article revisits the old controversy concerning the relation of the mother’s brother and sister’s son in patrilineal societies in the light both of anthropological criticisms of the very notion of kinship and of evolutionary and epidemiological approaches to culture. It argues that the ritualized patterns of behavior discussed by Radcliffe-Brown, Goody, and others are to be explained in terms of the interaction of a variety of factors, some local and historical, others pertaining to general human dispositions. In particular, an (...)
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  29. Lee Xenakis Blonder (1991). Human Neuropsychology and the Concept of Culture. Human Nature 2 (2):83-116.
    American anthropology is distinguished by a four-fields approach in which biological, cultural, archaeological, and linguistic dimensions of behavior are examined in evolutionary and cross-cultural perspective. Nevertheless, assumptions of mind-body dualism pervade scholarly thinking in anthropology and have prevented the development of a truly integrated science of human experience. This dualism is most exemplified by the lack of consideration of the role of the brain in both “physical” and “mental” processes, including phenomena labeled as cultural. In this paper, I review neural (...)
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  30. Paul Richard Blum (2010). Das Wagnis, Ein Mensch Zu Sein: Geschichte - Natur - Religion. Lit Verlag.
    "Die eigentliche Optik Paul Richard Blums sollte man akkurat als holistisch bezeichnen. Es handelt sich um ein verborgenes Streben nach Ganzheitlichkeit, das diesem Buch eine methodologische Einheit gibt. ... Ein Mensch zu sein nach dem Zeitalter der Renaissance und Moderne ... bedeutet die Aufgabe, sich in einer strukturellen und inhaltlichen Offenheit zu situieren, die die verschiedenen Antworten auf die Frage: Was heißt es, ein Mensch zu sein? in der paradoxen Einheit eines neuen Humanismus zusammenbringt. ... Genau wie die Philosophie des (...)
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  31. Vivian Bohl & Alan P. Fiske (2014-02). In and Out of Each Other's Bodies: Theory of Mind, Evolution, Truth, and the Nature of the Social. Maurice Bloch. Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2012. 161 Pp. [REVIEW] American Ethnologist 41 (1):214-215.
  32. Jacques Bouveresse (2007). Wittgenstein's Critique of Frazer. Ratio 20 (4):357–376.
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  33. Pascal Boyer (1992). Causal Thinking and its Anthropological Misrepresentation. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (2):187-213.
    The study of causal inferences is an essential part of the study of other cultures. It is therefore crucial to describe the cognitive mechanisms whereby subjects are led to find specific causal explanations plausible and "natural." In the anthropological literature, specific causal connections are described as the result produced by applying a general "conception of causation" or some general "theories" to specific events; the essay aims to show that these answers are either trivial or false. The "naturalness" of explanations must (...)
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  34. Pascal Boyer (1987). The Stuff 'Traditions' Are Made Of: On the Implicit Ontology of an Ethnographic Category. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (1):49-65.
  35. Cherry Bradshaw (2005). Liberals & Cannibals: The Implications of Diversity. Contemporary Political Theory 4 (1):97.
  36. Don Brenneis (2005). Documenting Ethics. In Lynn Meskell & Peter Pels (eds.), Embedding Ethics. Berg.
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  37. Krzysztof J. Brozi (1992). Philosophical Premises of Functional Anthropology. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (3):357-369.
    The philosophical roots of Malinowski's functionalism are in the academic circles of Krakow, where three figures seem to have exerted a particularly strong influence: Pawlicki, Straszewski, and Heinrich. The predominant trend in philosophy at that time was empiriocriticism, as developed by Mach and Avenarius. Also important were F. A. Lange's interpretation of Marburg neo-Kantianism. It should be noted that the historical philosophy field was extremely broad and diverse. Functionalism, a philosophically open concept, cannot be subordinated to any one philosophical system, (...)
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  38. Michal Buchowski (1988). The Rationality of Magic. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 18 (4):509-518.
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  39. Michał Buchowski (1997). The Rational Other. Wydawnictwo Fundacji Humaniora.
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  40. Douglas J. Buege (1996). The Ecologically Noble Savage Revisited. Environmental Ethics 18 (1):71-88.
    The stereotype of the “ecologically noble savage” is still prevalent in European-American discourses. I examine the empirical justifications offered for this stereotype, concluding that we lack sound empirical grounds for believing in “ecological nobility.” I argue that the stereotype should be abandoned because it has negative consequences for native peoples. Instead of accepting questionable stereotypes, philosophers and others should focus on the lives of particular peoples in order to understand their philosophies as well as the relationships that they maintain with (...)
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  41. Mario Bunge (2004). Mitos, Hechos y Razones: Cuatro Estudios Sociales. Sudamericana.
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  42. Mikel Burley (2012). Mounce and Winch on Understanding (or Not Understanding) an Indigenous Society. Philosophical Investigations 35 (3-4):350-372.
    Howard Mounce and Peter Winch both made novel and illuminating contributions to discussions about how, or whether, we can understand societies very different from our own – societies that would, these days, be referred to as “indigenous,”“tribal,”“traditional” or “small-scale.” This paper aims to elucidate some disagreements between Mounce and Winch while also critically engaging in the debate. The concepts of “practice” and “language-game” are considered in connection with magic-related activities among the Azande of north-central Africa, and Mounce's contention that the (...)
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  43. K. O. L. Burridge (1987). Book Reviews : The Rebirth of Anthropological Theory. BY STANLEY R. BARRETT. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984. Pp. 266. $22.50. [REVIEW] Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (1):126-128.
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  44. K. O. L. Burridge (1975). Claude Lévi-Strauss: Fieldwork, Explanation and Experience. [REVIEW] Theory and Society 2 (1):563-586.
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  45. Alex Byrne (2007). Review: Soames on Quine and Davidson. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 135 (3):439 - 449.
    A discussion of Quine and <span class='Hi'>Davidson</span>, as interpreted and criticized in Scott Soames' "Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume II".
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  46. Alex Byrne (2007). Soames on Quine and Davidson. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 135 (3):439 - 449.
    A discussion of Quine and Davidson, as interpreted and criticized in Scott Soames’ Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century, Volume II.
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  47. Anne Campbell & Patricia C. Rice (2008). Why Do Anthropological Experts Disagree? In Philip Carl Salzman & Patricia C. Rice (eds.), Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide for Students. Pearson Prentice Hall. 55.
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  48. Simon Caney (2000). Human Rights, Compatibility and Diverse Cultures. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 3 (1):51-76.
  49. Patricia Caplan (ed.) (2003). The Ethics of Anthropology: Debates and Dilemmas. Routledge.
    Since the inception of their discipline, anthropologists have studied virtually every conceivable aspect of other peoples' morality - religion, social control, sin, virtue, evil, duty, purity and pollution. But what of the examination of anthropology itself, and of its agendas, epistemes, theories and praxes? Conceived as a response to Patrick Tierney's hugely inflammatory book Darkness in El Dorado , whose allegations of immoral and negligent anthropological research in South America caused a storm of protest and debate, the book combines theoretical (...)
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  50. Janet Carsten (2007). How Do We Know Who We Are? In Rita Astuti, Jonathan P. Parry & Charles Stafford (eds.), Questions of Anthropology. Berg. 76--29.
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