The structural anthropology of Claude Lévi?Strauss is reductionist in at least two senses. This at once brings out structural anthropology's ambivalent relationship to positivist conceptions of science, and to the complex nature of reduction. Reduction can be interpreted in at least three broad ways, and need not be construed as pejorative or as particular to positivist philosophy of science. Non?positivist methods of reduction are at work when Lévi?Strauss attempts to substitute structural explanations of culture for non?structural explanations. Positivist methods of (...) reduction take over when Lévi?Strauss seeks to deduce ?deep? structures from surface structures. Taken together, this two?step process of reduction generates models of human nature which seem to overcome the dichotomy between nature and culture. (shrink)
What can we learn from Louis Dumont? -- A contrarian's most contrarian notion : Dumont on hierarchy -- Our individualism and its religious origins -- The comparative risks of comparison : on not remaining caged within our own frame of reference -- Conclusion: Dumont's morality and social cosmology.