Re: Chunking intelligence functions

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Thu May 10 2001 - 05:50:51 MDT

Lee Corbin wrote:

> Mead's influence within anthropology was immense. It was Mead
> who gave almost limitless credibility to Franz Boas' whole
> program of repudiating every 19th century belief about society
> and anthropology that he could. For all the evils of 19th
> century views, Boas and Mead went way too in the other direction,
> especially in causing entire abandonment of the very idea that
> there is a "human nature". Only in the last two decades of the
> 20th century were these baleful influences finally countered
> successfully.

Quite so, except that I wouldn't lean too heavily on the "countered
successfully" part; after having lived for more than a decade
with somebody who is now a film professor, and who is drenched
in the culture of academic humanities studies, I would point out
that the phrase "human nature" is still fightin' words to a lot
of intellectuals. Also, would you really care to debate, in person,
the nature of "human nature" with somebody like Stephen Jay Gould?
(pardon me, while I find the nearest closet to hide in).

But apart from whatever scientific influence Mead may have exercised,
she cut quite a figure in the popular media while she was alive
(like Dr. Ruth, but with immensely more gravitas). She wrote newspaper
articles, and was a formidable presence at speaking engagements,
with her trademark cape and walking stick. Also a fearsome
opponent in debate, I've heard (where was that closet, now?).
Avatar and sha-womyn of the Goddess, darling role model of the
feminist movement etc., etc.

Jim F.

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