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CHINESE COMPARISONS AND QUESTIONABLE ACTS

CHINESE COMPARISONS AND QUESTIONABLE ACTS In this response to comments on "The Chimera of Relativism," her article in the same Common Knowledge issue, by cognitive neuroscientist Andreas Roepstorff, classicist G. E. R. Lloyd, and anthropologist Martin Holbraad, Smith begins by describing her experiences visiting China in 1983 as a scholar of comparative literature. This account is meant to illustrate and reinforce Lloyd's cautions regarding the hazards of intercultural—here, Chinese-Western—comparisons in studies of culture and cognition. Examination of a foundational study in East-West cultural/cognitive differences by psychologists Hazel Markus and Shinobu Kitayama, cited by Roepstorff, indicates extensive conceptual and methodological problems in that tradition of research. It also indicates that, contrary to Roepstorff's description of the new field of cultural neuroscience as a site of cultural-relativist energy, researchers in the field appear committed to the uncovering of psychological/cognitive universals. Although Smith writes that Holbraad champions a more radical relativism than that offered in her own work, she argues that the moves he urges have either been present in her work from the beginning or are, from her perspective, both dubiously radical and otherwise undesirable. She points out that the vulnerable positions, arguments, and views that Holbraad attributes to her are spuriously derived from the texts he cites and that, for this reason, his evident effort to duplicate certain philosophically creative intellectual acts by Gilles Deleuze fail of their desired effects and yield only "a litter of baby chimeras." http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

CHINESE COMPARISONS AND QUESTIONABLE ACTS

Common Knowledge , Volume 17 (1) – Jan 1, 2011

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-2010-034
Publisher site
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Abstract

In this response to comments on "The Chimera of Relativism," her article in the same Common Knowledge issue, by cognitive neuroscientist Andreas Roepstorff, classicist G. E. R. Lloyd, and anthropologist Martin Holbraad, Smith begins by describing her experiences visiting China in 1983 as a scholar of comparative literature. This account is meant to illustrate and reinforce Lloyd's cautions regarding the hazards of intercultural—here, Chinese-Western—comparisons in studies of culture and cognition. Examination of a foundational study in East-West cultural/cognitive differences by psychologists Hazel Markus and Shinobu Kitayama, cited by Roepstorff, indicates extensive conceptual and methodological problems in that tradition of research. It also indicates that, contrary to Roepstorff's description of the new field of cultural neuroscience as a site of cultural-relativist energy, researchers in the field appear committed to the uncovering of psychological/cognitive universals. Although Smith writes that Holbraad champions a more radical relativism than that offered in her own work, she argues that the moves he urges have either been present in her work from the beginning or are, from her perspective, both dubiously radical and otherwise undesirable. She points out that the vulnerable positions, arguments, and views that Holbraad attributes to her are spuriously derived from the texts he cites and that, for this reason, his evident effort to duplicate certain philosophically creative intellectual acts by Gilles Deleuze fail of their desired effects and yield only "a litter of baby chimeras."

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2011

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