Cognitive Foundations of Natural History: Towards an Anthropology of Science

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 29, 1993 - Science - 360 pages
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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.
 

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Contents

COMMON SENSE ITS SCOPE AND LIMITS
1
FOLKBIOLOGY
15
FOLKTAXONOMY
17
22 A basic level
25
23 Lifeforms
30
24 Exceptions that prove the rule
35
25 Family fragments
41
THE SEMANTICS OF LIVING KINDS
47
64 Omnia ex ovo
142
THE NATURE OF THE GENUS
151
72 Trial and error
158
73 Art and intuition
165
74 Paradise regained
170
THE SCIENTIFIC BREAKAWAY
183
THE METHOD OF FAMILIES AND CLASSES
185
82 And the walls came tumbling down
190

32 Meaning as a motley
52
33 Nature and necessity
58
34 Phenomenal reality and nomic theory
64
35 Kinds of natural kinds
71
ARISTOTELIAN ESSENTIALS
81
ESSENCE AND ENVIRONMENT
83
42 Induction
87
43 Form and matter
93
MATERIALS OF LOGICAL DIVISION
100
52 Division and assembly
106
53 Analogy
115
54 Failures triumph
119
FROM HERBALS TO SYSTEMS
123
ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES CONCEPT
127
61 Charting new territory
135
63 Species forever
138
83 Piecing together the fragments
196
84 Organization
203
85 End of series
206
SCIENCE SYMBOLISM AND COMMON SENSE
212
92 Cognitive pathogenesis
217
93 Speculating
220
94 Plants as animals
224
95 The analogy of nature
230
96 Man dethroned
239
97 Dispositions to susceptibilities
247
RUDIMENTS OF THE LINNAEAN HIERARCHY TOWARDS AN ANTHROPOLOGY OF SCIENCE
252
MILESTONES OF NATURAL HISTORY
270
NOTES
275
REFERENCES
323
INDEX
341
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