Global Humanities Distinguished Lecture with Philippe Descola
Comparatism as an Exercise in Symmetrisation
November 10, 2015
Anthropological comparison is not based upon inductive generalisations stemming out of ethnographic particulars; it is anchored in deductive generalisation, that is, in the detection within a number of ethnographic cases of features that can be arranged according to meaningful patterns. Comparing in that sense can only be legitimate if it strives for symmetry, if it endeavours to render comparable on an equal footing the cultural features of the observer and those of the observed. There are different ways to accomplish this, each with deep philosophical implications.Please find the sound recording of the event here.
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