Folkbiology / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

Contributors: Scott Atran, Terry Kit-fong Au, Brent Berlin, K. David
Bishop, John D. Coley, Jared Diamond, John Dupré, Roy Ellen, Susan A. Gelman, Michael T. Ghiselin,
Grant Gutheil, Giyoo Hatano, Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, David L. Hull, Eugene Hunn, Kayoko Inagaki,
Frank C. Keil, Daniel T. Levin, Elizabeth Lynch, Douglas L. Medin, Julia Beth Proffitt, Bethany A.
Richman, Laura F. Romo, Sandra R. Waxman.

The MIT Press

Presents basic features of discipline & its role in taxonomy & inductive reasoning; cultural particularity.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
" Folk Biology is an excellent collection of original articlesthat will be a great aid to scholars and students interested inanthropological and psychological aspects of ethnobiology." Ronald W. Casson , Department ofAnthropology, Oberlin College
Ronald W. Casson

Folk Biology is an excellent collection of original articles that will be a great aid to scholars and students interested in anthropological and psychological aspects of ethnobiology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262133494
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/1999
  • Series: Bradford Books Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 470
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas L. Medin is Louis W. Menk Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education and
Social Policy at Northwestern University. He is the coauthor of The Native Mind and the
Cultural Construction of Nature
and coeditor of Folkbiology, both published by the MIT Press.

Scott Atran is Research Director in Anthropology at France's National Center for Scientific
Research and Visiting Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is the coeditor, with Douglas Medin, of Folkbiology (MIT Press, 1999).

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Table of Contents

Contributors
1 Introduction 1
2 Ethno-ornithology of the Ketengban People, Indonesian New Guinea 17
3 Size as Limiting the Recognition of Biodiversity in Folkbiological Classifications: One of Four Factors Governing the Cultural Recognition of Biological Taxa 47
4 How a Folkbotanical System Can Be Both Natural and Comprehensive: One Maya Indian's View of the Plant World 71
5 Models of Subsistence and Ethnobiological Knowledge: Between Extraction and Cultivation in Southeast Asia 91
6 Itzaj Maya Folkbiological Taxonomy: Cognitive Universals and Cultural Particulars 119
7 Inductive Reasoning in Folkbiological Thought 205
8 The Dubbing Ceremony Revisited: Object Naming and Categorization in Infancy and Early Childhood 233
9 Mechanism and Explanation in the Development of Biological Thought: The Case of Disease 285
10 A Developmental Perspective on Informal Biology 321
11 Mechanical Causality in Children's "Folkbiology" 355
12 How Biological Is Essentialism? 403
13 Natural Kinds and Supraorganismal Individuals 447
14 Are Whales Fish? 461
15 Interdisciplinary Dissonance 477
Index 501
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