Re: Definitions of culture

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 12:43:17 -0400

On Thu, 8 Aug 1996, Dwight W. Read wrote:

> Halloway comments:
> >"... and [culture] that complex whole ..blah blah per Tylor, AND IN WHICH
> I think Halloway has identified a crucial aspect of culture--the
> arbitrariness (and I assume here he means "arbitrary" in the way
> mathematicians use the term, not arbitray in the sense of "irrational") of
> phenomena identified as "cultural." I am struck by his comment because it,
> of necessity, grounds culture in the operation of the mind, not in the
> consequences in the form of behaviors which we can observe. The problem
> with the "learned behavior, social learning" kinds of definitions is (in my
> view) their failure to identify what is the underlying process/operation
> that is at issue and makes culture a distinct kind of phenomenon.
> D.Read

Yes, that is exactly what I mean by "arbitrary", although it might well be
the case that at times the phenomena might appear "irrational"...
Ralph Holloway