Keishi Okamoto: Apparently Conflicting Ontologies


The purpose of the present study is to bridge ontological pluralism which regards the native’s discourse as a clue for philosophical speculation and a naturalistic approach which tries to connect anthropology to the natural sciences, and to investigate how to maintain a naturalistic approach in the ethnographic context. Contrasting Viveiros de Castro’s notions of the anthropologist’s and native’s discourses and Sperber’s epidemiology of representations, I argue that the anthropologist can entertain both ontological pluralism and a scientific discourse when he consciously conceptualizes the world and nature. After that, I investigate a perspective from which the anthropologist can address the native’s lifeworld while at the same time maintaining a naturalistic approach. I argue that the material foundation of mental representation in the brain is not beyond doubt and that we can think of implicit beliefs with no storage in a society.

[ontology, epidemiology of representations, lifeworld, common-sense knowledge, nature]

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