Accepted Paper:

Mind, self and society: a critical view about the contemporary naturalistic way to conceptualize the identity group and the human nature  


Alessandro Lutri (University of Catania)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of this paper is discuss the epistemological validity of the hypothesis of the universal propensity to naturalize several domains of human knowledge, particularly the way to organize the knowledge of the identity group. Moreover the paper want discuss the idea of human nature underlying this naturalistic hypothesis.

Paper long abstract:

The contemporary naturalistic approaches about the folksociology (the way to organize the knowledge about the identity group) have hypothesized a universal propensity to naturalize both the living kinds (folkbiology) that the human kinds (folksociology).

This paper want discuss the hypothesis about the human kinds founded on the constraints of the phylogenetic properties of the human mind.

I think that the hypothesis of innate conceptual content in the domain about the human kinds perpetuate the anthropological vice to emphasize and to reify the differences about the identities of social groups supposed as naturals. A judgement founded on the fact until today no one empirical evidence has been show about that this kind of relevant concepts emerge early in development irrespective of widely different input conditions.

Differently by this naturalistic hypothesis and by most mainstream anthropologists founded in the hypothesis of a "Unconstrained Learning", on the basis of my ethnographic research I will show: the conceptual content of identity group is socially and culturally constructed because their construction and acquisition are in no way constrained by the philogenetic properties of the human mind.

At the contrary I think that the identity group is most constrained by practicing certain activities, or by adopting distinctive ways of doing and being, more that by the philogenetic cognitive properties,

therefore if the anthropology would understand how the people form their knowledge about themselves, it should see both inside the actor's mind and in the social praxis hand on every day.

Panel W075
The fall of cultural man: some proposals for an anthropology less cultural and more natural