Re: The next "Great Synthesis?"

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 15:46:57 -0400

In message <26APR96.16132512.0030.MUSIC@MUSIC.STLAWU.EDU> Deus Ex Machina
> A common thread on Anthro-L has been the proposed synthesis of Physical
> and Cultural Anthro. I would be interested to know exactly how many from
> each field would like the two fields synthesized.

As an anthropological linguist, and therefore with ties to both physical
(evolution of the vocal tract, articulatory phonetics, etc.) and cultural
(ethnolinguistics, etc.) anthropology, I think that the two fields are already
very intimately connected. Maybe my view is distorted by the special nature of
Language, which encompasses both biological and "nonbiological" aspects of Homo
sapiens. Then again, maybe linguistics IS the synthesis! Whoa, I need a

But before I go: culture is a product of biology, after all. Without the
biologically functioning carbon-based life forms known as Homo sapiens, culture
(I mean human culture) does not exist. When you think about it, it's not the
synthesis but the separation of the two "fields" that seems odd, at least to me.

Ronald Kephart
Dept of Language & Literature
University of North Florida
Jacksonville, FL USA 32224-2645
Phone: (904) 646-2580