Louis W Menk Professor of Psychology Douglas L Medin, Douglas L. Medin, Scott Atran, Directeur de Rechereche Scott Atran
MIT Press, 1999 - Psychology - 504 pages
The term "folkbiology" refers to people's everyday understanding of the biological world--how they perceive, categorize, and reason about living kinds. The study of folkbiology not only sheds light on human nature, it may ultimately help us make the transition to a global economy without irreparably damaging the environment or destroying local cultures.
This book takes an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together the work of researchers in anthropology, cognitive and developmental psychology, biology, and philosophy of science. The issues covered include: Are folk taxonomies a first-order approximation to classical scientific taxonomies, or are they driven more directly by utilitarian concerns? How are these category schemes linked to reasoning about natural kinds? Is there any nontrivial sense in which folk-taxonomic structures are universal? What impact does science have on folk taxonomy? Together, the chapters present the current foundations of folkbiology and indicate new directions in research.
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