Can and Should Anthropology be a Science? Argumentative Essay

Can and Should Anthropology be a Science?
An exploration of whether anthropology can (and should) be a science.
# 153961 | 0 words | 0 sources | 2014 | CA
Published by on Jul 24, 2014 in Anthropology (General)

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From the Paper:

"This essay explores the vexing question of whether anthropology can (and should) be a science. Citing the positions of several well-known anthropologists on both sides of the debate and evaluating these positions in the process, it offers several arguments in favour of the proposition that anthropology is not, and cannot be, a science. The essay takes as its starting point three fundamental questions: (1) What is the proper goal of anthropology?; (2) What exactly is the object of anthropological inquiry?;and (3) What methodsof study are appropriate to anthropological inquiry? In exploring the answers to these three questions, the essay notes that those anthropologists who favour the view that anthropology is a science emphasize the explanatory role and function of the discipline, one that goes along with the attitude of methodologicalobjectivity adopted by the sciences, whereas those who oppose this view see anthropology's function as a largely interpretive one, associated with a methodologically subjective approach, along the lines of that used in the humanities. The essay concludes, on the basis of the arguments presented, that anthropology belongs neither in the sciences nor in the humanities, but in a class by itself by virtue of being a hybrid discipline incorporating characteristics of both branches of knowledge,perhaps even a "metadiscipline." As such, it should formulate an identity and methodology of its own that is answerable neither to the sciences nor to the humanities. However, the author expresses the view that this repositioning of anthropology as a discipline among other academic disciplines is unlikely to take place in the foreseeable future."

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