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Chapter 2 Archaeology, Anthropology, Science, and the Humanities Chapter Outline • So What’s An Anthropological Approach? • The Culture Concept in Anthropology • Scientific and Humanistic Approaches in Archaeology • Conclusion: Scientist or Humanist? An Anthropological Approach • Anthropologists believe the best understanding of the human condition arises from a global, comparative, and holistic approach. • Archaeologists are anthropologists who specialize in the deceased. • Archaeologists draw upon each of the sub-fields of anthropology. Kinds of Anthropologists • Anthropology embraces four primary fields of study: – Biological anthropology – Cultural anthropology – Linguistic anthropology – Archaeology Kinds of Anthropologists Culture • Integrated system of beliefs, traditions, and customs that govern or influence a person’s behavior. • Culture is – Learned – Shared by members of a group – Based on the ability to think in terms of symbols How Anthropologists Study Culture • Ideational perspective – Focus on ideas, symbols, and mental structures as driving forces in shaping human behavior. • Adaptive perspective – Isolates technology, ecology, demography, and economics as the key factors defining human behavior. Culture as Ideas • This perspective emphasizes ideas, thoughts, and shared knowledge and sees symbols and their meanings as crucial to shaping human behavior. • According to the ideational view of culture, one cannot comprehend human behavior without understanding the symbolic code for that behavior. Culture as Adaptation • An adaptive perspective is primarily concerned with “culture as a system.” • Social and cultural differences are viewed as responses to the material parameters of life, such as food, shelter, and reproduction. • Human behaviors are seen as linked systemically, such that change in one area (technology) will result in change in another area (social organization). Characteristics of Science 1. 2. 3. 4. Science is empirical, or objective. Science is systematic and explicit. Science is logical. Science is explanatory and, consequently, predictive. 5. Science is self-critical and based on testing. 6. Science is public. The Scientific Method 1. Define a relevant problem. 2. Establish one or more hypotheses. 3. Determine the empirical implications of the hypotheses. 4. Collect appropriate data. 5. Test the hypothesis by comparing these data with the expected implications. 6. Reject, revise and/or retest hypotheses as necessary. • Inductive reasoning – Working from specific observations to more general hypotheses. • Deductive reasoning – Reasoning from theory to account for specific observational or experimental results. • Multiple working hypotheses – A set of hypotheses that are tested against the empirical record from the simplest to the most complex. • Bridging arguments – Logical statements linking observations on the static archaeological record to the dynamic behavior or natural processes that produced it. • Testability – The degree to which one’s observations and experiments can be reproduced. • Objectivity – The attempt to observe things as they are, without prejudging or falsifying observations in light of some preconceived view of the world. The Scientific Cycle Science Is Not Infallible • Although philosophers of science rarely agree on many points, they do generally agree that: 1. There is no single right way to do science. 2. A scientific approach cannot guarantee truth. A Humanistic Approach • Humanists tend to emphasize the dignity and worth of the individual. • Humanistic-style inquiry begins with the premise that all people possess a capacity for self-realization through reason. Humanism • A doctrine, attitude, or way of life that focuses on human interests and values. • In general, a humanistic approach tends to reject a search for universals and stress instead the importance of the individual’s lived experience. Scientist or Humanist? • When archaeologists wish to seek and understand patterns and regularities in prehistoric cultures, they are scientists. • When they wish to understand the history and culture of particular past societies, they are humanists. Scientist or Humanist? • When archaeologists wish to test their ideas about the past, they are scientists. • When they wish to present their results in a way that will be meaningful to the public, they are humanists. Scientist and Humanist • The scientific method is critical for checking whether the conclusions derived from humanistic approaches are correct. • A humanistic approach is good at generating ideas, but less useful for testing those ideas. • Good archaeologists know they need a humanist in their hearts, and a scientist in their hands. Quick Quiz 1. Which of the following is a field of anthropology: A. Biology B. Languages C. Linguistics D. Archaeology E. None of the above. Answer: D • Archaeology is a field of anthropology. • Others include: Biological anthropology, Cultural anthropology, and Linguistic anthropology. 2. The ideational perspective of anthropology: A. Focuses on ideas, symbols, and mental structures as forces in human behavior. B. Considers the ideas of technology, ecology, demography, and economics as factors that define behavior. C. Is primarily concerned with “culture as a system”. D. All of the above. Answer: A. • The ideational perspective of anthropology focuses on ideas, symbols, and mental structures as forces in human behavior. 3. Which of the following are characteristics of science? A. Objective, logical, explanatory. B. Objective, subjective and processural. C. Based on an untested idea. D. Objective, logical, explanatory, unproven. E. All of the above. Answer: A • Science is objective, logical, and explanatory.