Re: Is Culture Expectations?

Matthew Hill (mhill@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA)
Thu, 27 Jan 1994 09:27:23 -0500

On Wed, 26 Jan 1994, SS51000 (AKA Bob Graber) wrote:

> know better! Are our machines, our monogamous marriages, and (some of
> our) monotheistic beliefs not culture? Of course they are. If we adopt

I have to disagree on machines, Bob and, on different grounds on beliefs.
Machines like other cultural material are culturAL, products of culture
but that doesn't make them culture per se. That distinction I take from
Walter Taylor though it probably was not original with him.
Beliefs? Sounds like an explanation of culture like other mentalistic
notions and suspiciously like Humoral Theory in biology.

Shared patterns of behaviour, not genetically determined- seems to me to
subsume pretty well everything usefully viewed as culture without assuming
any explanations. All of us, of course, (Foss possibly excepted) manage to
deal with only some small subset of that fairly generous universe.

And yes, I realize that Chimpanzees and Sea Otters and a whole slew of
other critters have a bit of culture by this definition and putting on my
evolutionist hat that is just what I would expect. If exclusionism is
desired one can prefix behaviour by hominid. That however begs a number
of very interesting questions, as does any insertion of social, learned,
symbolic, etc. etc..

Matthew Hill