Chapter

Addressing the Critics

Michael Horace Barnes

in Stages of Thought

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780195396270
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852482 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396270.003.0003
Addressing the Critics

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Theories of cultural evolution in general face hostile criticism and Piagetian categories only seem to make things worse. Whether there is indeed a pattern of development of styles of thought across cultures in religion and science can best be decided by looking at the relevant evidence. A quick examination of some major criticisms may at least remove obstacles to an open consideration of that evidence. Criticisms can be divided into three main categories: criticism of theories of cultural evolution, criticism of Piaget's ideas, and criticism of Piagetian theories of cultural evolution. This chapter describes and responds briefly to all three. It aims to show that the major shifts in styles of thought that Piaget observed provide an excellent map of the sequence of major shifts in thought styles in the history of several major cultures of the world.

Keywords: Piagetian theories; cultural evolution; Franz Boas; brain modularity; Richard Shweder

Chapter.  8854 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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