The Western Illusion of Human Nature

With Reflections on the Long History of Hierarchy, Equality and the Sublimation of Anarchy in the West, and Comparative Notes on Other Conceptions of the Human Condition

Author: Marshall Sahlins

Publisher: Prickly Paradigm


Category: Social Science

Page: 112

View: 6990


Reflecting the decline in college courses on Western Civilization, Marshall Sahlins aims to accelerate the trend by reducing "Western Civ" to about two hours. He cites Nietzsche to the effect that deep issues are like cold baths; one should get into and out of them as quickly as possible. The deep issue here is the ancient Western specter of a presocial and antisocial human nature: a supposedly innate self-interest that is represented in our native folklore as the basis or nemesis of cultural order. Yet these Western notions of nature and culture ignore the one truly universal character of human sociality: namely, symbolically constructed kinship relations. Kinsmen are members of one another: they live each other's lives and die each other's deaths. But where the existence of the other is thus incorporated in the being of the self, neither interest, nor agency or even experience is an individual fact, let alone an egoistic disposition. "Sorry, beg your pardon," Sahlins concludes, Western society has been built on a perverse and mistaken idea of human nature.

Dao Companion to the Philosophy of Xunzi

Author: Eric L. Hutton

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 9401777454

Category: Religion

Page: 565

View: 448


This volume presents a comprehensive analysis of the Confucian thinker Xunzi and his work, which shares the same name. It features a variety of disciplinary perspectives and offers divergent interpretations. The disagreements reveal that, as with any other classic, the Xunzi provides fertile ground for readers. It is a source from which they have drawn—and will continue to draw—different lessons. In more than 15 essays, the contributors examine Xunzi’s views on topics such as human nature, ritual, music, ethics, and politics. They also look at his relations with other thinkers in early China and consider his influence in East Asian intellectual history. A number of important Chinese scholars in the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE) sought to censor the Xunzi. They thought that it offered a heretical and impure version of Confuciansim. As a result, they directed study away from the Xunzi. This has diminished the popularity of the work. However, the essays presented here help to change this situation. They open the text’s riches to Western students and scholars. The book also highlights the substantial impact the Xunzi has had on thinkers throughout history, even on those who were critical of it. Overall, readers will gain new insights and a deeper understanding of this important, but often neglected, thinker.

In Praise of Historical Anthropology

Perspectives, Methods, and Applications to the Study of Power and Colonialism

Author: Alexandre Coello de la Rosa,Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1000038572

Category: History

Page: 260

View: 4299


In Praise of Historical Anthropology is based on a fundamental conviction: the study of society cannot be undertaken without considering the weight of history and separations between disciplines in academics need to be bridged for the benefit of knowledge. Anthropology cannot be limited to situating its object in its immediate context; rather its true subject of study is society as a historical problem. The book describes the complex attempts to transcend this separation, presenting perspectives, methodologies and direct applications for the study of power relations and systems of social classification, paying special attention to the reconstruction of colonial situations. Following the maxim expounded by John and Jean Comaroff, this book will help us understand that historical anthropology is not a matter of merging the two disciplines of anthropology and history, but rather considering societies in their historically situated dimension and applying the tools of the social and human sciences to the analysis. In this vein, the book reviews the complex attempts to bridge disciplinary separations and theoretical proposals coming from very different traditions. The text, consequently, opens up hegemonic perspectives to include 'other anthropologies.'

Red, Black, and Objective

Science, Sociology, and Anarchism

Author: Professor Sal Restivo

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 140949456X

Category: Political Science

Page: 234

View: 5891


Drawing on the empirical findings generated by researchers in science studies, and adopting Kropotkin's concept of anarchism as one of the social sciences, Red, Black, and Objective expounds and develops an anarchist account of science as a social construction and social institution. Restivo's account is at once normative, analytical, organizational, and policy oriented, in particular with respect to education. With attention to the social practices and discourse of science, this book engages with the works of Feyerabend and Nietzsche, as well as philosophers and historians of objectivity to ground an anarchistic sociology of science. Marx and Durkheim figure prominently in this account as precursors of the contemporary science studies perspective on the perennial question, "What is science?" The result is an approach to understanding the science-and-society nexus that is at once an extension of Restivo's earlier work and a novel adaptation of the anarchist agenda. Red, Black, and Objective is an exploration by one of the founders of the science studies movement of questions in theory, practice, values, and policy. As such, it will appeal to those with interests in science and technology studies, social theory, and sociology and philosophy of science and technology.

The Return of the Sun

Suicide and Reclamation Among Inuit of Arctic Canada

Author: Michael J. Kral

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190269340

Category: Psychology

Page: 272

View: 2296


Inuit have among the highest suicide rates in the world - ten times the national average. Inuit narratives of suicide provide clues as to what can and in some cases has been done to combat the problem, but until recently they have not circulated far beyond Inuit communities themselves. At the same time, academic researchers have studied suicide among Indigenous peoples, but have stopped short of analyzing narrative accounts for their themes of cultural survival. Based on two decades of participatory action and ethnographic research, The Return of the Sun is a historical and anthropological examination of suicide among Inuit youth in Arctic Canada. Conceptualizing suicide among Inuit as a response to colonial disruption of family and interpersonal relationships and examining how the community has addressed the issue, Kral draws on research from psychology, anthropology, Indigenous studies, and social justice to understand and address this population. Central to the book are narrative accounts by Inuit of their experiences and perceptions of suicide, and the lives of youth and their community action for change. As these Indigenous community success stories have not previously been widely retold, The Return of the Sun gives voice to a historically ignored community. Kral also locates this community action within the larger Inuit movement toward self-determination and self-governance. This important volume will be of interest to a broad range of social scientists, as well as researchers and practitioners in the mental health fields.

The Huainanzi and Textual Production in Early China

Author: N.A

Publisher: BRILL

ISBN: 9004265325

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 414

View: 5018


The Han dynasty Huainanzi is a compendium of knowledge. This edited volume follows a multi-disciplinary approach to explore how and why the Huainanzi was produced and how we should interpret the work.

The Great Debate about Art

Author: Roy Harris

Publisher: Prickly Paradigm


Category: Art

Page: 130

View: 1021


In this lucid and insightful essay, renowned linguist Roy Harris reflects on the early nineteenth-century doctrine of “art for art’s sake.” This was attacked by Proudhon and Nietzsche, but defended by Théophile Gautier and E. M. Forster. It influenced movements as diverse as futurism and Dada. Over the past two centuries, three main positions have emerged. The “institutional” view declares art to be a status conferred upon certain works by the approval of influential institutions. The “idiocentric” view gives absolute priority to the judgment of the individual. The third is the “conceptual” view of art, which insists that what counts is the idea that inspired a work, not the physical execution. But as Harris shows, the tacit assumptions which once supported this Debate and these positions have now collapsed. “Art” as a coherent category has imploded, leaving behind a historical residue of empty questions that contemporary society can no longer answer. The Great Debate about Art provides much needed signposts for understanding this sorry state of affairs.

American Counterinsurgency

Human Science and the Human Terrain

Author: Roberto J. Gonzalez

Publisher: Prickly Paradigm


Category: Philosophy

Page: 134

View: 3350


Critiques the Pentagon's Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which offered a blueprint for mobilizing the cultural expertise of anthropologists for the war in Iraq. Explores the ethical and intellectual conflicts of the Pentagon's Human Terrain System, and probes the increasing militarization of academic knowledge.

Are the Humanities Inconsequent?

Interpreting Marx's Riddle of the Dog

Author: Jerome J. McGann

Publisher: Prickly Paradigm


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 96

View: 9786


Adapting the discontinuous and multi-tonal critical procedures of works like Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus and Laura Riding’s Anarchism Is Not Enough, Jerome McGann subjects current literary studies to a patacritical investigation. The investigation centers in the interpretation of a notorious modern riddle: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Working by indirection and from multiple points of view, the book argues that aesthetics is always a science of exceptions, and that any given critical practice is also always an exception from itself. The book works from two assumptions: first, that the riddle of the dog conceals an allegory about book culture and is addressed to the academic custodians of book culture; and second, that any explanation of the riddle is necessarily implicated in the problem posed by the riddle. It therefore remains to be seen—it is the reader’s part to decide—whether the book is a friend to man or—perhaps like the riddle of the dog—“too dark to read.”