By Marshall Sahlins
The most thrust of this publication is to carry an immense critique of materialist and rationalist causes of social and cultural varieties, however the within the procedure Sahlins has given us a miles improved assertion of the centrality of symbols in human affairs than have lots of our 'practicing' symbolic anthropologists. He demonstrates that symbols input all stages of social existence: these which we have a tendency to regard as strictly pragmatic, or in line with issues with fabric desire or virtue, in addition to these which we have a tendency to view as simply symbolic, equivalent to ideology, ritual, delusion, ethical codes, and so forth. . . .—Robert McKinley, reports in Anthropology
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Extra resources for Culture and practical reason
Passive rather than active, simply rational rather than symbolic, the intelligence responds reflexively to situations it does not itself produce or organize, so that in the end a practical logic-biologic in the earlier stages, technologic in the later-is what is realized in cultural forms. The conceptual scheme is not the construction of human experience but its verbalization, as in the classifications of kinship, which are merely the terms of a de facto ordering of relations effected by economic or biological advantage.
Marx could accord the world that knew them the same kind of respect the structural anthropologist pays to the search for "closed shapes, forms and given limits," and to "satisfaction from a limited standpoint" (Marx 1973, p. 488). But Marx would differ from all later anthropologies in the idea that the af\cient community which thus mediated the producers' relations to nature and to themselves was not in its own right a social product. It belonged rather to the order of nature: the spontaneous development of "natural" bonds of kinship or blood, producing, moreover, by instruments that came more or less naturally to hand.
For any given human group, the I imply a suspension of the symbolic powers necessary to its postulation. There is also some evidence that inner speech, which is "a distinct plane of verbal thought," has a different and more simplified structure than spoken language; nor is this yet the most profound level of a complex, and largely unknown, relation between thought and word (Vygotsky 1962). 10. "In preparing my doctor's thesis I had to use photometric methods to compare intensities of light. This led me to consider the quantitative values of sensations.