Francesco Remotti

Philippe Descola: Structuralism and Ontology

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Cosmology; Nature/Culture; Ontological Turn; Structuralism; Typology.

Philippe Descola is an important ethnographer and anthropologist. From Amazonian Achuar he learned that every society drafts its own cosmology and that their cosmology does not separate but unites human and natural beings, ignoring the distinction between nature and culture. Dominating the ethnological knowledge of the different cultural areas of the world, Descola wanted to develop a broad framework of possible cosmologies. His bold anthropological bet is that there are four types of cosmologies. He achieves this result by means of a combinatorial process that follows very closely the structuralism of Lévi-Strauss. Moreover, he believes that these cosmologies are real ontologies. On both these points (limited typological framework and ontological turn, which Descola is a prominent proponent of) the author expresses his doubts and perplexities.

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