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Folkbiology and the anthropology of science: Cognitive universals and cultural particulars

Abstract : This essay in the "anthropology of science" is about how cognition constrains culture in producing science. The example is folk biology, whose cultural recurrence issues from the very same domain-specific cognitive universals that provide the historical backbone of systematic biology. Humans everywhere think about plants and animals in highly structured ways. People have similar folk-biological taxonomies composed of essence-based species-like groups and the ranking of species into lower- and higher-order groups. Such taxonomies are not as arbitrary in structure and content, nor as variable across cultures, as the assembly of entities into cosmologies, materials or social groups.
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00000109
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Submitted on : Friday, August 23, 2002 - 1:45:33 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 11:46:08 AM

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Scott Atran. Folkbiology and the anthropology of science: Cognitive universals and cultural particulars. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 1998, 21, pp.547-609. ⟨ijn_00000109⟩

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