Re: Definitions of culture

Robert Snower (rs222@WORLDNET.ATT.NET)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 22:01:13 +0000

At 04:43 PM 8/8/96 +0000, Ralph L Holloway wrote:
>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

Arbitrary equals assumed equals hypothesis equals "construction" equals
pretending equals metaphor equals imaginary equals magic . . . We are all
talking about the same thing. "Learning" implies only imitation (mimesis),
so it won't do the trick. As Danny Yee noted in his post, worms can learn.

Best wishes. R. Snower