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CONCEPTUAL TOOLS FOR A NATURAL SCIENCE OF SOCIETY AND CULTURE

Sperber, Dan (1999) CONCEPTUAL TOOLS FOR A NATURAL SCIENCE OF SOCIETY AND CULTURE. [Conference Paper] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This is the text of the Radcliffe-Brown Lecture in Social Anthopology 1999 (To appear in the Proceedings of the British Academy). In it, I argue that to approach society and culture in a naturalistic way, the domain of the social sciences must be reconceptualised by recognising only entities and processes of which we have a naturalistic understanding. These are mental representations and public productions, the processes that causally link them, the causal chains that bond these links, and the complex webs of such causal chains that criss-cross human populations over time and space. Such causal chains may distribute and stabilise representations and productions throughout a human population, thereby generating culture. The lecture introduces several conceptual tools useful for such a naturalistic approach, and illustrates their use with the case study of ritual activity in a Southern Ethiopian household.

Item Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:anthropology, culture, society, naturalism, divination, phisolophy of the social sciences, philosophy of the cognitive sciences, cultural evolution, cognition, communication, Ethiopia, anthropological theory, epidemiology of representations, Radcliffe-Brown
Subjects:Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy > Philosophy of Science
Psychology > Social Psychology
ID Code:404
Deposited By:Sperber, Dan
Deposited On:23 Mar 2000
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:53

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