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Mind, Body and Culture: Anthropology and the Biological Interface Hardcover – June 29, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0521374118 ISBN-10: 0521374111 Edition: y First edition

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Book Description

Concerned with the aspects of human behaviour which have been traditionally described as cultural or social, the author draws on his background in physics to suggest a scientific approach involving a reconceptualization of many of our assumed concepts.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; y First edition edition (June 29, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521374111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521374118
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,734,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By calmly on September 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Geoffrey Samuel went into the spirit world and returned with the multimodal framework(MMF). By doing so, he has been able to challenge some of our key Western suppositions about culture including the objective superiority of rationalism and science. Or so it seems. I'm just a layperson who enjoyed Samuels' work on Tibetan Buddhism so much that I ventured into "Mind, Body and Culture" not knowing what I'd find but knowing it would be worth my time.

Samuel applies the framework he develops in this book to "Civilized Shamans" ( his study of Buddhism in Tibetan Societies) explicitly in some places and more so implicitly in the recognition of the importance of shamans to some societies and the respect that we should accord them for their constructive influence. In "Mind, Body, and Culture" he develops this theory of cultural patterns that goes across individuals, groups and entire cultures and that also goes across mind and body (i.e. rejecting their duality). My first reaction was that he was presenting a conditioning theory something like radical behaviorism (i.e. B.F. Skinnner's form of behaviorism which doesn't dismiss consciousness and private stimuli) but Samuels' framework doesn't depend on the natural scientific view that radical behaviorism assumes. His MMF can be applied to the non-scientific Ndembu in Africa and to the scientific Western culture.

About half the book uses examples from various cultures (in Africa, Asia, Australia, and even Europe) to apply his framework, which is undeniably a work in progress and has been offered by Samuel to others (i.e. to you and me) to help us design our own anthropology: one free of Western assumptions. Samuels' writes "To take the MMF as another form of authoritative knowledge would defeat its whole purpose".
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