The Anthropological Lens -- Theoretical Anthropology (New Goal 2013)

Anthropology as noted "is the most humanistic of the sciences and the scientific of the humanities." Anthropology has always been for me the bridge between the world of science and theory and world of every day life. Anthropology is the theoretical basis for organizing the world and the human experience and it is the library and archive of human experience. As theory, the concepts discovered and explored by anthropologist over the past 200 years have brought to light many of the misconceptions of the past and illuminated many of the basic principles that underlay human behavior. 

Once a unique alliance, within the American tradition, of the study of Man as a biological, psychological, social and cultural being, today American anthropology and anthropology in general seems to be fragmenting into narrowly focused specialties and the public once excited by the discoveries of paleo-anthropology, archaeology, ethnology,etc. now dismisses the discipline as little more than a liberal arts major. In an intellectual environment of STEM (science, technology, engineering and technology), the humanistic links between anthropology and the sciences is being lost. Meanwhile, many of the concepts and methodologies developed by anthropologists have been co-opted by other disciplines in such theoretical fields as behavioral economics and sociology and applied fields such as marketing, management, forensics.

There are a wide range of fundamental theoretical issues that both provide the basis for unity and diversity in anthropology. Among these are:

                  1. What are the basic units of observation for each sub-specialty in a holistic anthropology, e.g. trait and trait complex, genotype and phenotype, emic and etic, status and role, phoneme and morpheme, structure and function, genes and memes, etc.?

                  2. What does "culture", "society" and "personality"  mean from the point of view of each of sub-specialty and where are the linkages? 
                  3. What is a "scientific" anthropology? What is a "humanistic" anthropology? Are they distinct or two sides of the same coin?

                  4. How does anthropology integrate the findings from neuroscience and artificial life into an theory of human and cultural evolution? Can it?

                 5. How can anthropological theory be applied to the solution to problems in the real world? What is the role of applied anthropology is the policy sciences?

                 6. Is there a meta-anthropology through which we can glimpse the logical universality of humanity through the fog of our empirical experience with humanity in its many forms over time and space?

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