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Cognitive Foundations of Natural History : Towards an Anthropology of Science - Scott Atran

Cognitive Foundations of Natural History

Towards an Anthropology of Science

Paperback Published: 31st May 1993
ISBN: 9780521438711
Number Of Pages: 376

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What is it about human nature that makes our species capable of thinking scientifically? Inspired by a debate between Noam Chomsky and Jean Piaget, Scott Atran traces the development of natural history from Aristotle to Darwin, and demonstrates how the science of plants and animals has emerged from the common conceptions of folkbiology. The author proceeds not only from the more traditional philosophical, historical or sociological perspectives, but from a point of view he considers more basic and necessary to all of these: that of cognition.

' ... only Atran could have written this book, because only Atran combines the deep understanding of anthropology, biological systematics, history of science, and philosophy necessary to write it. The result is a book that contains more substance per page than any book I have read in a generation.' David Hull, Biology and Philosophy 'This subtle and sophisticated book has a little of that same power to shock by innocence. It is about how children think of living things, less a matter of what they learn than of what human nature teaches about nature.' Ian Hacking, London Review of Books 'There can be no doubt that the book establishes new standards of rigour in its area and will be the starting-point for future investigations in years to come.' Andrew Brennan, Times Higher Education Supplement

Prefacepage ix
Common Sense: Its Scope and Limitsp. 1
Introductionp. 1
Folkbiologyp. 15
Folktaxonomyp. 17
In the beginning ....p. 17
A basic levelp. 25
Life-formsp. 30
Exceptions that prove the rulep. 35
Family fragmentsp. 41
The Semantics of Living Kindsp. 47
Domain specificityp. 47
Meaning as a motleyp. 52
Nature and necessityp. 58
Phenomenal reality and nomic theoryp. 64
Kinds of natural kindsp. 71
Aristotelian Essentialsp. 81
Essence and Environmentp. 83
Essentialism reconsideredp. 83
"Induction"p. 87
Form and matterp. 93
Materials of Logical Divisionp. 100
Genos and Eidosp. 100
Division and assemblyp. 106
Analogyp. 115
Failure's triumphp. 119
From Herbals to Systemsp. 123
Origins of the Species Conceptp. 127
Back to naturep. 127
Charting new territoryp. 135
Species foreverp. 138
Omnia ex ovop. 142
The Nature of the Genusp. 151
Fruits of reasonp. 151
Trial and errorp. 158
Art and intuitionp. 165
Paradise regainedp. 170
The Scientific Breakawayp. 183
The Method of Families and Classesp. 185
Stress and strainp. 185
And the walls came tumbling downp. 190
Piecing together the fragmentsp. 196
Organizationp. 203
End of seriesp. 206
Science, Symbolism and Common Sensep. 212
Savage savvyp. 212
Cognitive "pathogenesis"p. 217
Speculatingp. 220
Plants as animalsp. 224
The analogy of naturep. 230
Man dethronedp. 239
Dispositions to susceptibilitiesp. 247
Conclusionsp. 252
Rudiments of the Linnaean Hierarchy: Towards an Anthropology of Sciencep. 252
Milestones of Natural Historyp. 270
Notesp. 275
Referencesp. 323
Indexp. 340
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521438711
ISBN-10: 0521438713
Series: Msh
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 376
Published: 31st May 1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.57