About this topic

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 assessments of their value to anthropology.

Key works Wittgenstein 1967, Quine 1957, Jarvie 1967 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), Radcliffe-Brown 1940, Evans-Pritchard 1961, Lévi-Strauss 1969, Geertz 1973, Harris 2001, Sperber 1985, Sperber 1996, Clifford & Marcus 1986, Spiro 1986, Spiro 1996, Strathern 1987, Strathern 1987, Strathern 1990, Moore 1988, Csordas 1990, Gell 1992, Gell 1994, Abu-Lughod 1996,  Henare et al 2007 and Ingold 2014
Introductions Jarvie 1967 and Sperber 1985 are good places to start. 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. History and Culture: Essays on the Work of Eric R. Wolf.J. Abbink & Hans Vermeulen (eds.) - 1992 - 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 ...
  2. Anthropology in the Territory of Rights, Islamic, Human, and Otherwise..Lila Abu-Lughod - 2011 - In Proceedings of the British Academy Volume 167, 2009 Lectures. pp. 225.
    This chapter presents the text of a lecture on the anthropology in the territory of rights given at the British Academy's 2009 Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthropology. This text discusses the transnational initiatives for Muslim women's rights and the everyday lives of some village women in Egypt and argues that anthropologists can provide critical insight into the limits and politics of global discourses on rights. It suggests that anthropologists should intervene into the worlds of power that authorise, shape, and naturalise (...)
  3. Writing Against Culture.Lila Abu-Lughod - 1996 - In Richard G. Fox (ed.), Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present. School of American Research Press. pp. 137-162.
  4. Book Review: Existence in the Details. Theory and Methodology of Existential Anthropology by Albert Piette. [REVIEW]Christopher Adair-Toteff - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6):634-638.
  5. Book Review: Existence in the Details. Theory and Methodology of Existential Anthropology by Albert PiettePietteAlbertExistence in the Details. Theory and Methodology of Existential Anthropology. Translated by CunninghamMatthew. Berlin, Germany: Duncker & Humblot, 2015. 119 Pp. ISBN-978-3-428-14677-2. €64.90. [REVIEW]Christopher Adair-Toteff - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6):634-638.
  6. The Philosophical Roots of Anthropology.William Yewdale Adams - 1998
  7. Critiques Anthropologiques.Francis Affergan - 1991
  8. Speaking of Ethnography.Michael Agar - 1987
  9. "Understanding Cultures, Perspectives in Anthropology and Social Theory" by Robert C. Ulin.J. Agassi - 1987 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (2):278.
  10. 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]J. Agassi - 1987 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 17 (2):278-283.
  11. Tributes.Joseph Agassi - 1993 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (3):279.
  12. Phenomenology of Technology.Joseph Agassi - 1993 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (4):528.
  13. "Technology and Human Productivity: Challenges for the Future", Edited by John W. Murphy and John T. Pardeck. [REVIEW]Joseph Agassi - 1992 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 22 (4):525.
  14. Towards a Rational Philosophical Anthropology.Joseph Agassi - 1977 - M. Nijhoff.
  15. The Future of Anthropology its Relevance to the Contemporary World.Akbar S. Ahmed & Cris Shore - 1995
  16. Evolution and Man's Place in Nature.Ernest Albee & Henry Calderwood - 1893 - Philosophical Review 2 (4):463.
  17. "Worlds Otherwise": Archaeology, Anthropology, and Ontological Difference.Ben Alberti, Severin Fowles, Martin Holbraad, Yvonne Marshall & Chris Whitmore - unknown
    The debate concerning ontology is heating up in the social sciences. How is this impacting anthropology and archaeology? What contributions can these disciplines make? Following a session at the 2010 Theoretical Archaeology Group conference at Brown University (“‘Worlds Otherwise’: Archaeology, Theory, and Ontological Difference,” convened by Ben Alberti and Yvonne Marshall), a group of archaeologists and anthropologists have continued to discuss the merits, possibilities, and problems of an ontologically oriented approach. The current paper is a portion of this larger conversation— (...)
  18. El Rapto Del Arte Antropolog'ia Cultural Del Deseo Est'etico.Josâe Antonio Gonzâalez Alcantud - 2002
  19. Sísifo y la Ciencia Social: Variaciones Críticas de la Antropología.José Antonio González Alcantud - 2008 - Anthropos.
  20. Rationality and Contingency : Rhetoric, Practice and Legitimation in Almaty, Kazakhstan.Catherine Alexander - 2007 - In Jeanette Edwards, Penelope Harvey & Peter Wade (eds.), Anthropology and Science: Epistemologies in Practice. Berg.
  21. Values as Integrating Forces in Personality, Society and Culture: Essay of a New Anthropology.S. Takdir Alisjahbana - 1966 - London: Oxford University Press.
  22. Ethics and Anthropology.Rudolf Allers - 1950 - New Scholasticism 24 (3):237-262.
  23. M. J. Herskovits. Man and His Works. The Science of Cultural Anthropology. [REVIEW]Rudolf Allers - 1950 - The Thomist 13:610.
  24. La phénoménologie comme science de l'homme sans l'homme.Emmanuel Alloa - 2010 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 72 (1):79-100.
    Husserlian phenomenology sets off as a fundamental rejection of those psychologisms and anthropologisms that deduce the structures of appearance from some preexisting essence of man. However, despite a clear rejection of all anthropological foundations of phenomenology, the examples of Husserl, Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty show that the question of man continues to haunt the phenomenological project and constitutes something like a ‘blind spot’. Relating these unspoken tensions to another historical ‘scene’ (the debate between the Sophists and Aristotle), the article argues why (...)
  25. Semantical Anthropology.Joseph Almog - 1984 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 9 (1):478-489.
  26. LOWIE, R.H. The History of Ethnological Theory. [REVIEW]Harry Alpert - 1938 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 4:83.
  27. La Aparición de la Antropología Literaria Chilena.Miguel Alvarado - 2000 - Cinta de Moebio 8.
    This article describes the new style of writing appearing in Chile from the 1980s. This kind of work, so called "Chilean Literature Anthropology", attempts to combine science with literary resources.
  28. Good Hunters Keep Smaller Shares of Larger Pies.Michael Alvard - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (4):560-561.
    High producers are motivated to hunt in spite of high levels of sharing because the transfers come from absolutely larger amounts of resource. In the context of a generalized cooperative subsistence strategy, stinginess could provoke the withdrawal of cooperative partners and result in a loss of income. Good producers could have more to lose by not sharing than poor producers would.
  29. Explaining Culture: A Naturalistic Approach, by Dan Sperber. [REVIEW]Mahesh Ananth - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
  30. Review of Explaining Culture.Mahesh Ananth - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
  31. Interaction, Transference, and Subjectivity: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Fieldwork.Linda Lundgaard Andersen - 2012 - Journal of Research Practice 8 (2):Article - M3.
    Fieldwork is one of the important methods in educational, social, and organisational research. In fieldwork, the researcher takes residence for a shorter or longer period amongst the subjects and settings to be studied. The aim of this is to study the culture of people: how people seem to make sense of their lives and which moral, professional, and ethical values seem to guide their behaviour and attitudes. In fieldwork, the researcher has to balance participation and observation in her attempts at (...)
  32. Essays on Individualism.Lyle V. Anderson - 1987 - Review of Metaphysics 41 (2):381-383.
  33. II. Wittgenstein and Comparative Sociology.R. J. Anderson, J. A. Hughes & W. W. Sharrock - 1984 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 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 (...)
  34. Is It Worth to Fit the Social Sciences in the Same Track as the Study of Biological Evolution?Armando Aranda-Anzaldo - 2000 - Ludus Vitalis 8 (14):213-218.
    For some the gene-centered reductionism that permeates contemporary neo-Darwinism is an obstacle for finding a common explanatory framework for both biological and cultural evolution. Thus social scientists are tempted to find new concepts that might bridge the divide between biology and sociology. Yet since Aristotle we know that the level of explanation must be commensurate with the particular question to be answered. In modern natural science there are many instances where a reductionist approach has failed to provide the right answer (...)
  35. The New Anthropology and its Critics.Edwin Ardener - 1971 - [Royal Anthropological Institute].
  36. Anthropology and the Will to Meaning a Postcolonial Critique.Vassos Argyrou - 2002
  37. Ethnographic Puzzles Essays on Social Organization, Symbolism and Change.Kaj Århem - 2000
  38. Taking Sides: Ethics, Politics, and Fieldwork in Anthropology.Heidi Armbruster & Anna Lærke (eds.) - 2008 - 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 ...
  39. Koleno Isava: Okhotniki, Sobirateli, Rybolovy Opyt Izuchenii͡a Alʹternativnykh Sot͡sialʹnykh Sistem.O. I͡U Artemova - 2009
  40. What Do Human Rights Do? An Anthropological Enquiry.Talal Asad - 2000 - Theory and Event 4 (4).
  41. Constructing and Reconstructing the Human Body: Scriptural Anthropology.Benedict M. Ashley - 1987 - The Thomist 51 (3):501.
  42. Essays in Anthropology Presented to Alfred Louis Kroeber. Robert H. Lowie.M. F. Ashley-Montagu - 1937 - Isis 27 (1):102-103.
  43. The 'World System'of Anthropology and 'Professional Others'.Pamela J. Asquith - 1999 - In E. L. Cerroni-Long (ed.), Anthropological Theory in North America. Bergin & Garvey. pp. 31--49.
  44. Anthropologists as Cognitive Scientists.Rita Astuti & Maurice Bloch - 2012 - 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 (...)
  45. Why a Theory of Human Nature Cannot Be Based on the Distinction Between Universality and Variability: Lessons From Anthropology.Rita Astuti & Maurice Bloch - 2010 - 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.
  46. Questions of Anthropology.Rita Astuti, Jonathan P. Parry & Charles Stafford (eds.) - 2007 - 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 (...)
  47. Das Menschenbild Als Rechtsethische Dimension.Karl Heinz Auer - 2007 - Archiv fuer Rechts- und Sozialphilosphie 93 (4):493-518.
    This article deals with the conception of man as the critical foundation of legal ethics and of law itself, whereby three significant aspects are responsible for the direction and shape of this conception. First of all, a survey of philosophical approaches within the framework of cultural anthropology shows how man himself is the basis of law and jurisprudence. The second aspect explains that it is the understanding of man which unites ethics and law. And finally, the postulated conception of man (...)
  48. Non-Places Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity.Marc Augâe - 1995
  49. The War of Dreams: Exercises in Ethno-Fiction.Marc Augé - 1999 - Pluto Press.
  50. An Anthropology for Contemporaneous Worlds.Marc Augé - 1999
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