Discuss the Extent to Which Anthropology Is a Science Essay

1201 Words Mar 7th, 2015 5 Pages
‘DISCUSS THE EXTENT TO WHICH ANTHROPOLOGY IS A SCIENCE.’

The study of anthropology concerns itself with the understanding of various societies and cultures within our world. It focuses on revealing the spectrum of connections and relationships that serve as the foundation to society and culture. Ethnography, which involves one immersing themselves in a foreign culture serves as the main form of research for anthropologists’. However the interpersonal and subjective nature of this form of study undermines the scientific nature of Anthropology in regards to the natural sciences. In order to understand the extent to which anthropology is a science, I will explore arguments which reiterate the validity and academic value of anthropological
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The removal of ‘metaphysical absoluteness’ is necessary as science is prone to theoretical change and mutability and idea that simply does not correlate with an ‘absolute truth’. In order for theoretical change and mutability to exist there needs to be a free flowing stream of information that is passed on through social and interpersonal means, science as a social institution invites ideas and ‘truths’ to be challenged and questioned in order for progress to be maintained, the social element to this progress is unquestionable. Conclusively, the arrogance of the natural sciences to claim absolute impersonality within their discipline needs to be redefined, their institution thrives on interpersonal relationships which evolve and progress in the various fields. The concept of “modified sociological realism” reestablishes anthropological content as factual and as scientific as the evidence produced in the fields of Biology, Physics and Even Chemistry.

The legitimacy and reliability of scientific knowledge is a based on the idea that a community of knower’s should be able to perceive a specific stimuli in the same fashion, this is reiterated by Ziman who comprises scientific knowledge in three elements; “a community of knower’s, that which is perceptually consensible to them and that on which they reach

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