FOM: social construction?

Martin Davis martind at
Sun Mar 22 14:42:59 EST 1998

At 04:06 PM 3/22/98 GMT, Lincoln Wallen wrote:

>I hope it was clear from my posting a few minutes ago in response to
>Tait's message that it is exactly this view [expressed by Silver] that
>I think has a lot of merit.  I put it differently: certain
>anthropological schools have adopted the view, *not* that people (like
>mathematicians) act like anthropologists when engaging in their chosen
>activity, but *the other way around*: that there is no position
>"outside" the activity one is studying from which to gain a more
>direct understanding of the structure and truth of the activity.
>Hence it is the anthropologists who must act ethnically and seek to
>understand *as the participants themselves understand*, not in some
>other way.

Yes! I think of this point of view as a disease imported from France. In
anthropology it was Claude Levi-Strauss (sp?) who pushed this point of view
in (I must say) a charming style. I don't know about Britain, but in the US
one finds it not only in anthropology departments, but particularly in
language departments. How weak this stuff is was made clear by Sokol's hoax.


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