The Laws of Anthropology

Anthropology has reached that point of development where the careful investigation of facts shakes our firm belief in the far-reaching theories that have been built up. The complexity of each phenomenon dawns on our minds, and makes us desirous of proceeding more cautiously. Heretofore we have seen the features common to all human thought. Now we begin to see their differences. We recognize that these are no less important than their similarities, and the value of detailed studies becomes apparent. Our aim has not changed, but our method must change. We are still searching for the laws that govern the growth of human culture, of human thought; but we recognize the fact that before we seek for what is common to all culture, we must analyze each culture by careful and exact methods, as the geologist analyzes the succession and order of deposits, as the biologist examines the forms of living matter. We see that the growth of human culture manifests itself in the growth of each special culture. Thus we have come to understand that before we can build up the theory of the growth of all human culture, we must know the growth of cultures that we find here and there among the most primitive tribes of the Arctic, of the deserts of Australia, and of the impenetrable forests of South America; and the progress of the civilization of antiquity and of our own times. We must, so far as we can, reconstruct the actual history of mankind, before we can hope to discover the laws underlying that history.


Anthropologists need a firm and accurate grasp of history before they can begin to induct laws from it.

Folksonomies: natural history anthropology

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Laws of Anthropology Anthropologists:PrintMedia (0.898252 (negative:-0.243347)), geologist:JobTitle (0.443880 (neutral:0.000000)), South America:Continent (0.427273 (neutral:0.000000)), Arctic:GeographicFeature (0.425282 (neutral:0.000000)), Australia:Country (0.402201 (neutral:0.000000))

Culture (0.959642): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Anthropology (0.805938): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
History (0.778805): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Civilization (0.742677): dbpedia | freebase
Cultural anthropology (0.661403): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Archaeology (0.645398): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Sociology (0.628375): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Humanities (0.580750): dbpedia | freebase

 The Jesup North Pacific Expedition
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Boas , Franz (1909), The Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Retrieved on 2012-01-18
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: anthropology