Title

Much Ado About Very Little: Derek Brereton on the Purported Death of Cultural Relativism

Publication Title

Journal of Critical Realism

Publication Date

2011

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1558/jcr.v10i4.511

Keywords

cultural relativism, ethnology, critical realism, reality, ontology, perception, definitions, ghosts, evolution (biology), anthropology, Brereton, Derek

Disciplines

Anthropology

Abstract

The article offers a defense of the integration of cultural relativism into the field of cultural anthropology in response to critiques made by sociologist Derek Brereton. The author argues that his views on definitions and on the ontology of ghosts are misrepresented by Brereton's critique. He asserts that most cultural relativists do not deny the existence of an external world but argues that it is difficult to define that world as a result of differences in sense perception. Other topics include the role of biological evolution in cultural relativism, and compatibilities between cultural relativism and critical realism.


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