The Western Illusion of Human Nature
With Reflections on the Long History of Hierarchy, Equality and the Sublimation of Anarchy in the West, and Comparative Notes on Other Conceptions of the Human Condition
By (author) Marshall Sahlins
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Western Illusion of Human Nature by Marshall Sahlins
Book DescriptionReflecting the decline in college courses on Western Civilization, Marshall Sahlins aims to accelerate the trend by reducing "Western Civ" to about two hours. He cites Nietzsche to the effect that deep issues are like cold baths; one should get into and out of them as quickly as possible. The deep issue here is the ancient Western specter of a presocial and antisocial human nature: a supposedly innate self-interest that is represented in our native folklore as the basis or nemesis of cultural order.Yet these Western notions of nature and culture ignore the one truly universal character of human sociality: namely, symbolically constructed kinship relations. Kinsmen are members of one another: they live each other's lives and die each other's deaths. But where the existence of the other is thus incorporated in the being of the self, neither interest, nor agency nor even experience is an individual fact, let alone an egoistic disposition. "Sorry, beg your pardon," Sahlins concludes, "Western civilization has been built on a perverse and mistaken idea of human nature."
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780979405723
(178mm x 115mm x 7mm)
Imprint: Prickly Paradigm Press, LLC
Publisher: Prickly Paradigm Press, LLC
Publish Date: 12-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Marshall Sahlins
Beyond Nature and Culture, Paperback (December 2014)
Deals with a question central to both anthropology and philosophy: what is the relationship between nature and culture? Drawing on ethnographic examples from around the world, the author formulates a new framework, the "four ontologies" - animism, totemism, naturalism, and analogism - to account for all the ways we relate ourselves to nature.
Confucius Institutes, Paperback (November 2014)
Drawing on reports in the media and conversations, the author shows that the Confucius Institutes are a threat to the principles of academic freedom and integrity at the foundation of our system of higher education.
What Kinship is-and is Not, Paperback (September 2014)» View all books by Marshall Sahlins
Offers, on its surface, a simple theoretical argument, laid out in the titles of its mere two chapters: kinship is culture, not biology. But along the way to proving his point, the author engages an array of thinkers, from Aristotle to Emile Durkheim to Marilyn Strathern, as well as an array of ethnographic examples from around the globe.
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Author Biography - Marshall Sahlins
Marshall Sahlins is the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
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