Re: The next "Great Synthesis?"

Bogdan Lesnik (bogdan.lesnik@GUEST.ARNES.SI)
Sat, 27 Apr 1996 12:30:55 +0100

Ronald Kephart writes:

>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.

That's a bit fast, don't you think? Linguists, of all people, should know
better. Because at the same time it can be said that without language (and
what it entails), there is no biology as a knowable and articulable entity,
nor any division biology/culture, for that matter; or by the same token but
more broadly, there is no biology without a culture defining it. So what is
earlier, the hen or the egg? Which seems to imply not only that the
so-called natural and social sciences are separate, but also that they can
never really meet without reduction. BUT as this is an epistemological
problem and does not pertain to the objects of sudy as such (or it does so
indirectly at best), it already contains part of the answer. The other part,
it seems to me, still waits (in vain?) for the proper question(s).

Bogdan Lesnik
Institutum Studiorum Humanitatis
Beethovnova 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
phone +386 61 1377615, fax +386 61 1377606