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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1315 found
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  1. added 2019-01-08
    El hombre que habita en los suburbios. La antropología spinoziana como respuesta post-renacentista al humanismo.Daniel Pino - 2017 - In Maria Luisa de la Cámara & Julián Carvajal (eds.), Spinoza y la Antropología en la Modernidad. Hildesheim, Alemania: pp. 65-74.
    Is it correct to accept an anthopological dimension in Baruch Spinoza’s doctrine? Regardless of the answer we may suggest for this point, how could be this connected to the prevailing Humanism of the immediately previous period in which our author lived? Our proposal points to a positive stance in relation to the presence of an anthropological perspective in Spinoza’s thought; perspective that may be seen as a reaction to that kind of Renaissance humanism that sees the human being in Nature (...)
  2. added 2018-12-15
    Deep South: A Social Anthropological Study of Caste and Class.Allison Davis, Burleigh B. Gardner, Mary R. Gardner & Donald Pierson - 1943 - Science and Society 7 (2):188-189.
  3. added 2018-12-05
    Oppressive Walling: Babel and the Inverted Order of the World.Marius Ion Benta - 2018 - In Agnes Horvath, Joan Davison & Marius Ion Benta (eds.), Walling, Boundaries and Liminality: A Political Anthropology of Transformations. London, UK: pp. 51-70.
    In this chapter, we address the problem of walling and its violence-related connotations in modernity following an interpretive path. We analyse and interpret the biblical version of the Babel myth, which we consider an archetypal story relevant for the primeval experiences of the passage from the nomadic to the settled way of life and from village to city. By drawing parallels between the Babel story and Mumford or other anthropological frameworks, we argue that the primeval hubris of arrogance a1nd ambition (...)
  4. added 2018-11-23
    Of Urban.Noel J. Chrisman - 1976 - In Michael A. Rynkiewich & James P. Spradley (eds.), Ethics and Anthropology: Dilemmas in Fieldwork. R.E. Krieger Pub. Co.. pp. 135.
  5. added 2018-11-19
    Biological Aspects of Human Migration. Edited by C. G. N. Mascie-Taylor and G. W. Lasker. Pp 263. (Cambridge University Press, 1988.) £30.00. [REVIEW]Tony Champion - 1989 - Journal of Biosocial Science 21 (4):502-504.
  6. added 2018-11-16
    Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice, and Inequality.James G. Carrier & Don Kalb (eds.) - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    Rising social, political and economic inequality in many countries, and rising protest against it, has seen the restoration of the concept of 'class' to a prominent place in contemporary anthropological debates. A timely intervention in these discussions, this book explores the concept of class and its importance for understanding the key sources of that inequality and of people's attempts to deal with it. Highly topical, it situates class within the context of the current economic crisis, integrating elements from today into (...)
  7. added 2018-11-16
    The Krajina Project: Exploring the Ottoman-Hapsburg Borderland.Richard Carlton & Alan Rushworth - 2009 - In A. Peacock (ed.), The Frontiers of the Ottoman World. pp. 403.
    This chapter summarises the results of the Krajina Project, which was established in 1998 to investigate the archaeological remains, material culture and continuing ethnographic legacy of this distinctive late medieval/early modern frontier society. The project has focused on an area in the north-west corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina, between Kladuŝa and Bihać, known as the Bihaćka Krajina. This was one of the last districts in the region to be conquered by the Ottoman state, not falling to the sultan's forces until the late (...)
  8. added 2018-11-12
    Some Anthropological Aspects of Comenius Conception of Science.D. Capkova - 1992 - Filosoficky Casopis 40 (1):17-26.
  9. added 2018-11-08
    Encountering Aborigines a Case Study : Anthropology and the Australian Aboriginal.Kenelm Burridge - 1973
  10. added 2018-11-01
    Tribes of the Sahara.Lloyd Cabot Briggs & George Peter Murdock - 1962 - Science and Society 26 (3):362-365.
  11. added 2018-10-28
    Understanding Inner City Poverty: Resistance and Self Destruction Under US Apartheid.Philippe Bourgois - 2002 - In Jeremy MacClancy (ed.), Exotic No More: Anthropology on the Front Lines. University of Chicago Press. pp. 15--32.
  12. added 2018-10-28
    Being There the Necessity of Fieldwork.Daniel Bradburd - 1998
  13. added 2018-10-25
    The Symbolic Space of the Community.Claudio Bonvecchio - 1999 - Anthropology and Philosophy 3 (1).
  14. added 2018-10-18
    Incest, Incest Avoidance, and Attachment: Revisiting the Westermarck Effect.Robert A. Wilson - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    This paper defends a version of the Westermarck Effect, integrating existing clinical, biological, and philosophical dimensions to incest avoidance. By focusing on care-based attachment in primates (sections 2-3), my formulation of the Effect suggests the power of a phylogenetic argument widely accepted by primatologists but not by cultural anthropologists (section 4). Identifying post-adoption incest as a phenomenon with under-explored evidential value (section 5), the paper sketches an explanatory strategy for reconciling the Effect with the clinical reality of incest (section 6), (...)
  15. added 2018-10-13
    Anthropology and the Classics: War, Violence, and the Stateless Polis1.Moshe Berent - 2000 - Classical Quarterly 50 (01):257-.
    I. INTRODUCTION It has become a commonplace in contemporary historiography to note the frequency of war in ancient Greece. Yvon Garlan says that, during the century and a half from the Persian wars to the battle of Chaeronea , Athens was at war, on average, more than two years out of every three, and never enjoyed a period of peace for as long as ten consecutive years. ‘Given these conditions’, says Garlan, ‘one would expect them to consider war as a (...)
  16. added 2018-10-05
    Spekülatif materyalizmde hümanizm ve post-hümanizm.Jussi M. Backman - 2018 - Sabah Ülkesi: Üç Aylık Kültür-Sanat Ve Felsefe Dergisi (57):20-25.
  17. added 2018-10-05
    Property.Ernest Beaglehole - 1932 - Journal of Philosophy 29 (15):415-417.
  18. added 2018-09-22
    Book Review:The Nature of Culture. A. L. Kroeber. [REVIEW]C. E. Ayres - 1953 - Ethics 63 (3):217-.
  19. added 2018-09-21
    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 (...)
  20. added 2018-09-20
    What Do Human Rights Do? An Anthropological Enquiry.Talal Asad - 2000 - Theory and Event 4 (4).
  21. added 2018-09-16
    Pluralität der Erfahrung Als Anthropologische Bestimmung.Gregor Schiemann - 2012 - In M. Wunsch (ed.), Von Hegel zur philosophischen Anthropologie. Königshausen & Neumann.
    Als Vertreter der historischen Anthropologie hat Christoph Wulf die philosophische Anthropologie von Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner und Arnold Gehlen kritisiert: Mit ihrem Interesse an einer einheitlichen Bestimmung des Menschen entgehe ihr die Pluralität von menschlichen Kulturen. Meiner Auffassung nach stellt diese Kritik für die philosophische Lehre vom Menschen eine Herausforderung dar (1.). Um ihr zu begegnen, möchte ich prüfen, ob Ernst Cassirers Kulturphilosophie die Vielfalt menschlicher Erfahrungsweisen angemessener berücksichtigt. Dass dies nicht in hinreichendem Umfang der Fall ist, lässt sich auf (...)
  22. added 2018-09-16
    Ignoramus et ignorabimus? Rezension zu: Volker Schürmann, Die Unergründlichkeit des Lebens. Lebens-Politik zwischen Biomacht und Kulturkritik. [REVIEW]Guido K. Tamponi - 2012 - Internationales Jahrbuch für Philosophische Anthropologie 3 (1):349-356.
  23. added 2018-09-16
    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.
  24. added 2018-08-28
    Psychology and Anthropology.Ralph Linton - 1939 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 5:115.
  25. added 2018-08-28
    Anthropology and Economics.M. J. Herskovits - 1939 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 5:127.
  26. added 2018-08-27
    LOWIE, R.H. The History of Ethnological Theory. [REVIEW]Harry Alpert - 1938 - Journal of Social Philosophy and Jurisprudence 4:83.
  27. added 2018-07-22
    Let A Hundred Natures Bloom. A Polemical Trope in the "Ontological Turn" of Anthropology.Olivier Surel - 2014 - Krisis. Journal for Contemporary Philosophy 2014 (2):14-29.
  28. added 2018-07-12
    More Things in Heaven and Earth: Spirit Possession, Mental Disorder, and Intentionality.Mohammed Abouelleil Rashed - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Humanities:1-16.
    Spirit possession is a common phenomenon around the world in which a non-corporeal agent is involved with a human host. This manifests in a range of maladies or in displacement of the host's agency and identity. Prompted by engagement with the phenomenon in Egypt, this paper draws connections between spirit possession, and the concepts of personhood and intentionality. It employs these concepts to articulate spirit possession, while also developing the intentional stance as formulated by Daniel Dennett. It argues for an (...)
  29. added 2018-07-12
    Review of Explaining Culture.Mahesh Ananth - 2001 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 31 (4):563-571.
  30. added 2018-06-11
    Tributes.Joseph Agassi - 1993 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (3):279.
  31. added 2018-06-11
    Phenomenology of Technology.Joseph Agassi - 1993 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 23 (4):528.
  32. added 2018-06-11
    "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.
  33. added 2018-05-11
    Ideas, Persons, and Objects in the History of Ideas.Bennett Gilbert - 2017 - Journal of the Philosophy of History.
    _ Source: _Page Count 22 The history of ideas is most prominently understood as a highly specialized group of methods for the study of abstract ideas, with both diachronic and synchronic aspects. While theorizing the field has focused on the methods of study, defining the object of study – ideas – has been neglected. But the development of the theories behind material culture studies poses a sharp challenge to this narrow approaches. It both challenges the integrity of the notion of (...)
  34. added 2018-04-01
    What's Left of Human Nature? A Post-Essentialist, Pluralist and Interactive Account of a Contested Concept.Maria Kronfeldner - forthcoming - Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    Human nature has always been a foundational issue for philosophy. What does it mean to have a human nature? Is the concept the relic of a bygone age? What is the use of such a concept? What are the epistemic and ontological commitments people make when they use the concept? In What’s Left of Human Nature? Maria Kronfeldner offers a philosophical account of human nature that defends the concept against contemporary criticism. In particular, she takes on challenges related to social (...)
  35. added 2018-04-01
    The Right to Ignore: An Epistemic Defense of the Nature/Culture Divide.Maria Kronfeldner - 2017 - In Richard Joyce (ed.), Handbook of Evolution and Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 210-224.
    This paper addresses whether the often-bemoaned loss of unity of knowledge about humans, which results from the disciplinary fragmentation of science, is something to be overcome. The fragmentation of being human rests on a couple of distinctions, such as the nature-culture divide. Since antiquity the distinction between nature (roughly, what we inherit biologically) and culture (roughly, what is acquired by social interaction) has been a commonplace in science and society. Recently, the nature/culture divide has come under attack in various ways, (...)
  36. added 2018-03-27
    Natura ludzka w narracji posthumanizmu dystopijnego.Dawid Misztal - 2017 - Humanistyka I Przyrodoznawstwo. Uniwersytet Warmińsko-Mazurski W Olsztynie 23:71-90.
    For the prominent figures of dystopic posthumanism biotechnological progress means not only new possibilities of solving the most nagging problems, but also many extremely dangerous consequences: a modification of social organization, an undermining of morality, and some changes in the way we understand our identity. Thinkers such as Fukuyama, Kass, Sandel and Habermas consider those consequences as a threat to human nature. In the article I examine the way they construct the latter notion (i.e. human nature) in their arguments.
  37. added 2018-03-27
    Epistemologiczny Antropocentryzm Locke'a.Dawid Misztal - 2013 - Diametros 37:107-126.
    Odczytywanie filozoficznego przedsięwzięcia Locke’a przede wszystkim jako krytyki kartezjańskiego natywizmu przysłania zwykle napięcia, jakimi obciążona jest myśl Anglika, oraz skutkuje przemilczeniem sporej części stojących za nią motywów. Choć nie zamierzam w prezentowanym tekście całkowicie zerwać z tą popularną wykładnią, chciałbym zaproponować ujęcie wolne od właściwych jej uproszczeń. Dzięki temu możliwe będzie ukazanie złożoności stosunku filozofii Locke’a do podstawowych idei natywizmu, wydobycie sprzecznych interesów, które Locke chciałby dzięki swojej refleksji pogodzić, oraz zasygnalizowanie w zakończeniu znaczenia wypracowanych przez niego rozwiązań dla późniejszych (...)
  38. added 2018-03-22
    Participation in Alternative Realities: Ritual, Consciousness, and Ontological Turn.Radmila Lorencova, Radek Trnka & Peter Tavel - 2018 - In SGEM Conference Proceedings, Volume 5, Issue 6.1. SGEM. pp. 201-207.
    The ontological turn or ontologically-oriented approach accentuates the key importance of intercultural variability in ontologies. Different ontologies produce different ways of experiencing the world, and therefore, participation in alternative realities is very desirable in anthropological and ethnological investigation. Just the participation in alternative realities itself enables researchers to experience alterity and ontoconceptual differences. The present study aims to demonstrate the power of ritual in alteration, and to show how co-experiencing rituals serves to uncover ontological categories and relations. We argue that (...)
  39. added 2018-02-22
    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.
  40. added 2018-02-17
    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 (...)
  41. added 2018-02-10
    Menschsein Als Menschwerdung. Rezension Zu G. Cusinato, „Person Und Selbsttranszendenz. Ekstase Und Epoché des Ego Als Individuationsprozesse Bei Schelling Und Scheler". [REVIEW]Guido K. Tamponi - 2014 - Internationales Jahrbuch für Philosophische Anthropologie 4 (1):247-253.
  42. added 2018-02-07
    Practical Knowledge and Participant Observation.Julie Zahle - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (1):50 - 65.
    Abstract An important strand of theories of practice stress that individuals' practical knowledge, i.e., their ability to act in appropriate and/or effective ways, is mainly tacit. This means that the social scientist cannot find out about this knowledge by simply asking the individuals she studies to articulate how it is appropriate and/or effective to act in various circumstances. In this paper, I pursue the proposal that the method of participant observation may be used to find out about individuals' practical knowledge. (...)
  43. added 2018-01-06
    Prospects of Objective Knowledge.Christian Spahn - 2011 - In Welsch Wolfgang, Singer Wolf & Wunder Andre (eds.), Interdisciplinary Anthropology. Springer. pp. 55--77.
  44. added 2017-12-02
    Artefacts as Mere Illustrations of a Worldview.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2017 - Symposion. Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 4 (2):241-244.
    This paper responds to an argument against a kind of anthropology. According to the argument, if the aim of anthropology is to describe the different worldviews of different groups, then anthropologists should only refer to material artefacts in order to illustrate a worldview; but the interest of artefacts to anthropology goes beyond mere illustration. This argument has been endorsed by key members of the ontological movement in anthropology, who found at least one of its premises in Marilyn Strathern’s writing.
  45. added 2017-11-20
    Art's Visual Efficacy: The Case of Anthony Forge's Abelam Corpus.Jakub Stejskal - 2016/2017 - Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics 67:78-93.
    This paper addresses the question of whether a general method is capable of accommodating the vast array of contexts in which art objects are studied. I propose a framework for such a general method, which is, however, limited to a specific research task: reconstructing the circumstances under which a culturally and/or temporally distant or “exotic” art object becomes interesting (or menacing) to look at. The proposed framework is applied to evaluate Anthony Forge’s essays on the visual art of the Abelam. (...)
  46. added 2017-11-17
    From Epistemology to Anthropology and Back Again Crossed Reflections.P. Tort & J. -L. Jamard - 1997 - Diogenes 45 (180):155-181.
  47. added 2017-11-17
    Panorama of Ethnology I950-I952.C. Levi-Strauss - 1953 - Diogenes 1 (2):69-92.
  48. added 2017-11-08
    Networks of Gene Regulation, Neural Development and the Evolution of General Capabilities, Such as Human Empathy.Alfred Gierer - 1998 - Zeitschrift Für Naturforschung C - A Journal of Bioscience 53:716-722.
    A network of gene regulation organized in a hierarchical and combinatorial manner is crucially involved in the development of the neural network, and has to be considered one of the main substrates of genetic change in its evolution. Though qualitative features may emerge by way of the accumulation of rather unspecific quantitative changes, it is reasonable to assume that at least in some cases specific combinations of regulatory parts of the genome initiated new directions of evolution, leading to novel capabilities (...)
  49. added 2017-10-27
    Embodied Cognition, Habit, and Natural Agency in Hegel’s Anthropology.Italo Testa - forthcoming - In Marina F. Bykova & Kenneth R. Westphal (eds.), The Palgrave Hegel Handbook. Palgrave MacMillan.
    The aim of this chapter is to discuss the central role of the notion of " habit " (Gewohnheit) in Hegel's theory of " embodiment " (Verleiblichung) and to show that the philosophical outcome of the Anthropology is that habit, understood as a sensorimotor life form, is not only an enabling condition for there to be mindedness, but is more strongly an ontological constitutive condition of all its levels of manifestation. Moreover, I will argue that Hegel's approach somehow makes a (...)
  50. added 2017-10-23
    Cultural Attractor Theory and Explanation.Andrew Buskell - 2017 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (13).
    Cultural attractor theory (CAT) is a highly visible and audacious approach to studying human cultural evolution. However, the explanatory aims and some central explanatory concepts of CAT remain unclear. Here I remedy these problems. I provide a reconstruction of CAT that recasts it as a theory of forces. I then demonstrate how this reinterpretation of CAT has the resources to generate both cultural distribution and evolvability explanations. I conclude by examining the potential benefits and drawbacks of this reconstruction.
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