Understanding Anthropological Understanding: for a merological anthropology

Zeitlyn, David (2009) Understanding Anthropological Understanding: for a merological anthropology. Anthropological Theory, 9 (2). pp. 209-231. ISSN eISSN: 1741-2641 ISSN: 1463-4996. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1463499609103550) (Full text available)

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In this paper I argue for a merological anthropology in which ideas of ‘partiality’ and ‘practical adequacy’ provide a way out of the impasse of relativism which is implied by post-modernism and the related abandonment of a concern with ‘truth’. Ideas such as ‘aptness’ and ‘faithfulness’ enable us to re-establish empirical foundations without having to espouse a simple realism which has been rightly criticised. Ideas taken from ethnomethodology, particularly the way we bootstrap from ‘practical adequacy’ to ‘warrants for confidence’ point to a merological anthropology in which we recognize that we do not and cannot know everything, but that we can have reasons for being confident in the little we know.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Merology/ empirical responsibility/ relativism/ realism/ postmodernism/ ethnomethodology/ partiality / practical adequacy /
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: D. Zeitlyn
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2009 12:33 UTC
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2017 11:47 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/20300 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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