Re: The "Great Synthesis"
Read, Dwight ANTHRO (Read@ANTHRO.SSCNET.UCLA.EDU)
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 13:59:00 PDT
"This is a bit fuller version of what I meant when I said the other day that
"culture is a product of biology." "
Trivially (though it is not necessarily trivial) culture is a product of
biology in the sense that we are able to "have culture" only because, via
biological evolution, we have a brain that is capable in engaging in what we
call culture. The harder question: Does this fact allow for reduction of
culture to being reduced to essentially a biological phenomenon (albeit very
complex), or is there a qualitative shift that took place with the advent of
language/culture/complex brain that makes biological reductionism a
non-starter? Structuralist anthropology a la Levi Strauss, certainly part of
White's culturology, and other arguments of this kind are predicated upon the
assertion biological reductionism is a fundamental distortion. Those who vie
culture more as "learned behavior" are more likely to see biological
reductionism as valid.