Frank Palmer, Richard Eldridge, and Martha Nussbaum explore the contributions that imaginative literature can make to ethics. From three different moral philosophical perspectives, they argue that reading literature can help persons to achieve greater moral understanding. This essay examines how each author conceives of moral understanding, particularly in its emotional dimension, and how each thinks that reading literature can promote moral understanding. The essay also considers some implications of this work for religious ethics.
The resercher Ann Talbot presents in this book one of the more complex and in-depth studies ever written about the influence of travel literature on the work of the British philospher John Locke (1632-1704). At the end of the 18th century the study of travel literature was an alternative to academic studies. The philosopher John Locke recommended with enthousiasm these books as a way to comprehend human understanding. Several members of the Royal Society like John Harris (1966-1719) affirmed (...) that the learning that could be obtained through these books was different from the one that provided the educative system of that time. Travel literature could make see the source of the ignorance of the ancients; it stressed the curiosities and extraordinary facts and led to a revision of beliefs and scientific theories of the ancient world. Besides the account of a broad diversity of sujects contributed to the creation of matters of fact, and this was important in order to put rational limits to the descriptions of the world that were commonly accepted. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 1 - 28 We still lack a systematic or complete theory of tradition. By referring to the works of many major figures of the last century – Arendt, Boyer, Eisenstadt, Eliot, Gadamer, Goody, Hobsbawm, Kermode, Leavis, MacIntyre, Oakeshott, Pieper, Pocock, Popper, Prickett, Shils and others – I show that a theory of tradition must include insights taken not only from the study of sociology and anthropology, but also from the study of (...) class='Hi'>literature and religion. The proliferation of separate academic subjects does not make it any less necessary for us to attempt to say in general what we are talking about when we talk about tradition. In this article I distinguish three elements which are found in traditions. I call these continuity, canon, and core. The argument is that traditions can be distinguished in terms of whether there is a core in addition to canon and continuity, a canon in addition to continuity, or only mere continuity. Together these form a theory of tradition which enables us to see what is necessary to all traditions and also what it is which distinguishes different types of tradition from each other. (shrink)
How do people make sense of their experiences? How do they understand possibility? How do they limit possibility? These questions are central to all the human sciences. Here, Vincent Crapanzano offers a powerfully creative new way to think about human experience: the notion of imaginative horizons. For Crapanzano, imaginative horizons are the blurry boundaries that separate the here and now from what lies beyond, in time and space. These horizons, he argues, deeply influence both how we experience our lives and (...) how we interpret those experiences, and here sets himself the task of exploring the roles that creativity and imagination play in our experience of the world. (shrink)
Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide has been often interpreted from the point of view of postcolonial studies and environmental studies, overlooking the anthropological implications of the narrative. This paper investigates the worship and the myth of the sylvan deity Bonbibi, and of her counterpart, the demon Dakshin Rai. The goddess, endowed with an apotropaic function, protects the people who “do the forest” from the dangers of the wilderness, epitomized by tigers. According to anthropologist Annu Jalais, who accompanied Ghosh in the (...) Sundarbans when he was collecting material for the novel, Bonbibi is associated with a kind of forest ethics, which is owned by Fokir, the fisherman. This ethics, which in the novel remains in the background due to the urban viewpoint of the protagonists, very coherently explains otherwise eccentric behaviours and elusive answers of subaltern characters such as Fokir, Moyna and Horen. (shrink)
In this pathbreaking study, Micaela di Leonardo reveals the face of power within the mask of cultural difference. From the 1893 World's Fair to Body Shop advertisements, di Leonardo focuses on the intimate and shifting relations between popular portrayals of exotic Others and the practice of anthropology. In so doing, she casts new light on gender, race, and the public sphere in America's past and present. "An impressive work of scholarship that is mordantly witty, passionately argued, and takes no (...) prisoners."--Lesley Gill, News Politics "[Micaela] di Leonardo eloquently argues for the importance of empirical, interdisciplinary social science in addressing the tragedy that is urban America at the end of the century."--Jonathan Spencer, Times Literary Supplement "In her quirky new contribution to the American culture brawl, feminist anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo explains how anthropologists, 'technicians of the sacred,' have distorted American popular debate and social life."--Rachel Mattson, Voice Literary Supplement "At the end of di Leonardo's analyses one is struck by her rare combination of rigor and passion. Simply, [she] is a marvelous iconoclast."--Matthew T. McGuire, Boston Book Review. (shrink)
Pueblos de mar. Relatos etnográficos es un libro singular que forma parte de una clase de textos ambivalentes entre la escritura etnográfica y la literatura antropológica, género nuevo en las letras chilenas paralelo a la llamada antropología poética. Esta condición depende de los diversos metatextos que lo conforman en gran parte, tales como el título, subtítulo, prólogo, estructura y especificidades textuales, que reconocen expresamente su plural condición de texto etnográfico y literario. Al mismo tiempo, su narración referencial se mezcla con (...) subjetividad, autorreflexividad y ficcionalidad. Peoples of sea. Ethnographic accounts is a unique book that is part of a class of ambivalent textual writings between ethnographic and anthropological literature, a new gendre in Chilean letters parallel to the so-called poetic anthropology. This condition depends on the different metatexts that compriseit, such as title, subtitle, prologue, and specific textual structures, which expressly recognize plural condition of ethnographic and literary text. At the same time, his referential discourse is mixed with subjectivity, self-reflexivity and fictionality. (shrink)
The concept of philosophical anthropology is polysemous. These words carry the most diverse and sometimes mutually incompatible nuances of metaphysical thought. It is difficult to judge what criterion would enable us to draw the necessary demarcations. For example, the early writings of the French moralists, in which they discussed human nature, are considered to belong to philosophical anthropology. However, few would classify Arthur Schopenhauer's Aphorisms of Everyday Wisdom [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit] as metaphysical literature, although they contain a (...) typology of human needs. (shrink)
This study looks at the lives of the most famous "wild children" of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. Julia V. Douthwaite recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angelique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized. A variety of educational experiments (...) failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their stories, Douthwaite turns to literature that reflects on similar experiments to perfect human subjects. Her examples range from utopian schemes for progressive childrearing to philosophical tales of animated statues, from revolutionary theories of regenerated men to Gothic tales of scientists run amok. Encompassing thinkers such as Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, and Mary Shelley, Douthwaite shows how the Enlightenment conceived of mankind as an infinitely malleable entity, first with optimism, then with apprehension. Exposing the darker side of eighteenth-century thought, she demonstrates how advances in science gave rise to troubling ethical concerns, as parents, scientists, and politicians tried to perfect mankind with disastrous results. (shrink)
For over two decades, Immanuel Kant offered a lecture course on the subject of anthropology. In 1997, a German critical edition of several different sets of student notes from this course was published, and a large selection of these notes was translated into English in 2012. The collection of thirteen new essays under review is a significant contribution to the growing literature that makes use of this lecture material to understand Kant’s anthropology in particular and to flesh (...) out other parts of Kant’s system. Scholars interested in a variety of particular issues in Kant’s philosophy are likely to find at least several chapters very worthwhile, and scholars interested in better understanding the nature and.. (shrink)
Anthropology has gained in popularity, penetrating the ivy walls of literature departments, philosophical debates, historical texts. It is for this reason that it is useful to reflect on what has happened in this funny discipline, peddling otherness and debating human nature. Culture has become a rallying point for a number of disciplines and the joining of a historical perspective seems to be a giant step forward in the emergence of a more powerful human science. It is not just (...) academics that have become interested in culture, but even the state and the World Bank. Technologies, social formations, myths and mentalities have all become areas of inquiry. (shrink)
The connection between ethics and theological vision has become increasingly important for ethics as we better appreciate how the moral agent is embedded in a framework that affectively and intellectually shapes her moral reasoning. Moral reasoning is always reasoning within (that is, within a moral framework, a religious worldview, and/or a set of ideological commitments). A similar framing occurs in literature, which I refer to as its “horizon.” A literary text's horizon comprises the theological and metaphysical commitments that are (...) implied by the text and that the reader relies on to make sense of it. I suggest that there is a parallel between how moral frameworks and literary horizons operate in that both shape moral judgment. I argue that in using literature as a resource for ethics, the same contemporary currents that have led us to appreciate the embeddedness of moral reasoning should also encourage us to give more careful attention to the theological or metaphysical vision implied by a text. Such a “theo-ethical” reading of literature provides a richer understanding of particular moral goods and the interplay between those goods and ethical themes like agency, hope, and redemption. I substantiate this claim with a reading of William Blake's Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion. (shrink)
“…we must move into theological anthropology if we are to do justice to the wisdom literature. In the Old Testament man can be defined in terms of his relationship to the Lord as his saviour, creator, sustainer. The working out of these ideas is not possible apart from the concern of Old Testament wisdom…”.
Christoph Meiners (1747—1810) was one of 18th-century Europe's most important readers of global travel literature, and he has been credited as a founder of the disciplines of ethnology and anthropology. This article examines a part of his final work, Untersuchungen über die Verschiedenheiten der Menschennaturen [Inquiries on the differences of human natures], published posthumously in the 1810s. Here Meiners developed an elaborate argument, based on empirical evidence, that the different races of men emerged indigenously at different times and (...) in different places in natural history. Specifically this article shows how a sedentary scholar who never left Europe constructed a narrative of human origins and migrations on the basis of (1) French theory from the 1750s (Charles de Brosses and Simon Pelloutier) and (2) data gathered by explorers as reported in travel literature (J. R. Forster, Pérouse, Cook, Marsden). (shrink)
I soon discovered that I was quite isolated in my attempts to pursue the sociology of literature. In any case, one searched almost in vain for allies if one wanted to approach a literary text from the perspective of a critical theory of society. To be sure, there were Franz Mehring’s articles which I read with interest and profit; but despite the admirable decency and the uncompromising political radicalism of the author, his writings hardly went beyond the limits of (...) a socialist journalist who wrote in essentially the same style about literature as about political and the economy. George Lukács had not yet published his impressive series of essays on Marxist aesthetics and interpretation of literature. Of course, I was deeply touched and influenced by his fine little book, The Theory of the Novel , which I practically learned by heart. Besides Levin Schücking’s small volume on the sociology of literary taste, the only other major influence I can recall was George Brandes’ monumental work on the literary currents of the nineteenth century.Nonetheless, I had the courage, not to say hubris, to plan an ambitious, socially critical series on French, English, Spanish, and German literature, the beginning of which was to be formed by the above-mentioned studies. My attention was especially focused on the writes and literary schools which the German literary establishment either punished by total silence or raised up into the clouds of idealistic babble or relegated to quasi-folkloric anthropology .In these studies, I limited myself to the narrative forms of literature; for reasons which I hold to be sociologically and artistically valid, I believe that novels and stories represent the most significant aspect of German literature in the nineteenth century. While I in no way feel ashamed of these documents of my youth, I am conscious of their weaknesses. If I were to write them over again, I would certainly be less sure of some of the direct connections I drew between literature and writers on the one hand, and the social infrastructure on the other. In later publications I attempted to analyze with greater circumspection the mediation between substructure and superstructure, between social currents and ideologies; but my views on the social world and the necessity to combine social theory and literary analysis have not changed in any essential way. In the last decades the sociology of literature has become progressively more fashionable. The writings of my contemporaries have often amazed me because some—frequently in unnecessarily complicated and esoteric language—are so concerned with “mediation” that the connections between social being and social consciousness became almost obscured. Leo Lowenthal is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also professor emeritus at the University of Frankfurt in West Germany. His collected works have been published in five volumes in German and in a parallel English edition. Lowenthal’s autobiographical writings, edited by Martin jay, will appear in the fall of 1987 under the title An Unmastered Past. Lowenthal’s present studies deal with German postmodernism. Ted. R. Weeks is a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in imperial Russian history. (shrink)
The Rhodes‐Livingstone Institute , founded in Northern Rhodesia in 1937, was the first social science research institute in Africa. This book is a history of the RLI from its earliest beginnings with emphasis on the years up to 1960. The author, who identifies herself as a historian, supplemented her archival research with periods of fieldwork mainly devoted to oral history but including shorter spells of anthropological participant observation in association with African assistants employed by the institute. She is therefore well (...) equipped to comment on the activities of the RLI, which consisted principally of field research in social anthropology and sociology.She organizes her data in terms of “field generations,” cohorts of researchers who, although they worked alone or with one assistant at their field sites, nevertheless developed a collective identity through visits to each others' sites and through participation in seminars and conferences arranged by the successive RLI directors. Many published histories of research institutions focus on theoretical assumptions, but Lyn Schumaker instead looks more at the methods and practices of field research. Indeed, she tends to treat the divisions between theory and practice, and between theoretical and applied research, as unproblematic, while successfully avoiding any naïve positivism. She demonstrates her expertise as a historian by providing abundant details of the diversity of conflicting interests that influenced the choice of topics for investigation and of the modes of collecting data in the field. With over seven hundred footnotes, fifty interviews, and more than three hundred bibliographic items, the book serves anthropologists well.The book's title indicates its main theme. The institute started in a colonial environment in which white anthropologists who had trained in Britain, the United States, and South Africa carried out anthropological research, mainly in rural areas, using African assistants as interpreters and language teachers. Over the years more of the inquiries were made in towns than in villages, with teams of African assistants working more and more autonomously. During the same time, the colonial regime was replaced after bitter struggle by indigenous political independence. The first Zambian director was appointed in 1973, by which time the institute's research had shifted from anthropology and sociology to psychology.Schumaker uses the concept of “work culture” to explore the significance of the pattern of daily activity of researchers and assistants, thus exposing data usually neglected in anthropological monographs. She draws attention to the vigorous collective interaction that distinguished the RLI from many other research organizations: the RLI, for example, depended significantly for its success on its symbiotic link with Manchester University, where Max Gluckman, its director from 1941 to 1947, became Foundation Professor of Anthropology. Schumaker is, however, careful to point out that her book is not a history of the Manchester department, whose activities extended far beyond the RLI.The author sometimes ranges widely to relate aspects of the RLI story to topics in the literature on the history of science. For instance, she links the problems faced by Elizabeth Colson, the only female RLI director, to wider discussions of the impact of gender on professional careers. Likewise, she discusses the frequently made claim that anthropology was the “handmaid of colonialism.” Her book supplies more than ample ammunition to refute this claim and gives us an impressive and well‐documented account of how a social science research institute operated in a colonial society undergoing radical transformation. (shrink)
Social anthropology flourished in the 20th century but ethnographic methods and intensifying ‘creative destruction’ in the elaboration of theory have combined to deflect attention away from earlier concerns with long-term historical change. The ‘theft of history’ that took place within anthropology refers to this loss, which is not to be confused with healthy interdisciplinary borrowing. With the demise of the evolutionist paradigm and intensifying global connectivity, anthropologists have struggled to find a new balance between empirical ethnographic description, the (...) interpretation of other social worlds, and theoretical explanation. It is not so much that the canon has continued to change but that many practitioners no longer acknowledge any canon. The difficulties are illustrated with a critical discussion of the Anglophone anthropological literature in a field that is novel for the discipline: socialism and its aftermath. The work of Jack Goody has a surprising relevance here; more generally, Goody’s oeuvre shows how ethnographic excellence and intellectual originality can be harnessed together to serve a longue durée comparative historical anthropology. (shrink)
This is a broad-ranging and ambitious attempt to rethink aesthetic and literary studies in terms of an “anthropology” of symbolic media generally. Central to the author’s argument is the proposition that the idea of literature—at least as it has been understood in the West since the eighteenth century—as the paradigm for artistic experience is both limited and limiting. In its place, the author offers a more general theory of aesthetic experience appropriate to a wide range of media and (...) geared toward performativity and bodily experience. The author develops the idea of the “protoliterary” as a cultural-aesthetic discourse prior to and external to the “literary” as traditionally conceived in Western aesthetics. Manifestations of the protoliterary tend to occur within forms of multimedia theatricalization in which suggestive images of the body loom large. The appeal of the protoliterary lies in its ability to function on both cognitive and somatic levels, thereby neutralizing such distinctions as self/society and reality/fiction. The author’s argument is indebted to John Dewey’s belief in a basic human need for aesthetic experience, a need that can be met in a variety of ways, from tattoos and scarification, through sports, parades, and cosmetics, to literature, opera, and film. From this basis the book theorizes a history of the development of separate, hierarchical arts in the West while suggesting that independent histories of single arts and artistic experience are no longer desirable or even possible. Although the genesis of particular forms of media are inextricably linked to specific historical, sociological, and technological conditions, their potential functions and effects are not tied to those conditions, nor should they be. (shrink)
This is the long-awaited publication of a set of writings by the British philosopher, historian, and archaeologist R.G. Collingwood (1889-1943) on critical, anthropological, and cultural themes only hinted at in his previously available work. At the core are six essays on folktale and magic in which Collingwood applies the principles of his philosophy of history to problems in the long-term evolution of human society and culture. The volume opens with three substantial introductory essays by the editors, authorities in their various (...) fields, who provide their explanatory and contextual notes to guide the reader through the texts. The Philosophy of Enchantment highlights the broad range of Collingwood's intellectual engagements, their integration, and their relevance to current areas of debate in the fields of philosophy, cultural studies, social and literary history, and anthropology. (shrink)
The paper argues that Sartre’s work as both a literary critic and social philosopher is deeply indebted to his early commitment to phenomenology. The first part of the paper examines the nature of reading and writing in the account of literary meaning that is presented in the transitional text, 'Qu’est-ce que la littérature?' While acknowledging the political turn that occurs in Sartre’s work, we then discuss how the theme of history emerges in the later essay, 'Questions de méthode,' as one (...) that opens up a “double reading” of human motivation. Our conclusion maintains that the Marxist phase of Sartre’s work is based on the hermeneutical notion of comprehension, which provides an anthropological grounding for his existential philosophy. (shrink)
The essay reconstructs the main aspects of Gernot Böhme’s philosophy of technolo-gy. In polemical reference to Max Horkheimer’s and Jürgen Habermas’ critical theory, Böhme asks about the rationality criteria of technology. He does not view his philosophy of technology as part of the philosophy of science but places it on the boundary between philosophical anthropology and social philosophy. Böhme reflects on the ethically negative, neutral and positive effects of the technification process both on the identity of contemporary humans and (...) the changes taking place in social integration patterns. He also discusses the cultural sources of resistance to “invasive technification” not only in Western culture but also that of the Far East. The author closes his reflections with a set of questions about what he considers to be open issues in the Boehme’s philosophy of technology. (shrink)
The definition of the human -- Perceiving paintings as paintings I -- Perceiving paintings as paintings II -- "One and only one correct interpretation" -- Toward a phenomenology of painting and literature -- "Seeing-in," "make-believe," transfiguration" : the perception of pictorial representation -- Beauty and truth and the passing of transcendental philosophy.
Lecture 1. Hinduism in the world and the world of Hinduism -- Lecture 2. The early cultures of India -- Lecture 3. The world of the Veda -- Lecture 4. From the Vedic tradition to classical Hinduism -- Lecture 5. Caste -- Lecture 6. Men, women, and the stages of life -- Lecture 7. The way of action -- Lecture 8. The way of wisdom -- Lecture 9. Seeing God -- Lecture 10. The way of devotion -- Lecture 11. The (...) goddess and her devotees -- Lecture 12. Hinduism in the modern period. (shrink)
Aping apes: Edgar Allan Poe's "The murders in the Rue Morgue" and Richard Wright's Native son -- Slavery's bestiary: Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus tales -- Autoimmunity and ante-racism: Philip Roth's The human stain -- Ashamed of shame: J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace.