Chapter

Beyond Nature and Culture

PHILIPPE DESCOLA

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 139, 2005 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780197263945
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734038 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263945.003.0006

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Beyond Nature and Culture

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This chapter discusses the concepts of nature and culture. It reveals that Radcliffe-Brown had a poor opinion of the concept of culture; he neglected to consider that the concept of nature was no more concrete or directly observable than ‘culture’. The chapter shows that other civilisations were able to adopt a variety of ways to distribute qualities to beings in the world, thus resulting in forms of discontinuity and continuity between humans and non-humans. It stresses that people should treat the modern ontological grid — moral singularity versus physical universality — as one of several other formulae employed to describe the structures of the world.

Keywords: nature and culture; Radcliffe-Brown; discontinuity; continuity; modern ontological grid; moral singularity; physical universality; structures of the world

Chapter.  8180 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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