Books

Descombes’ The Institutions of Meaning

The Institutions of Meaning: A Defense of Anthropological Holism

by Vincent Descombes

translated by Stephen Adam Schwartz. Harvard University Press, 2014. 392 pp.

 

How is what is “in” our minds, as thought, also something that we share, communicate, and can understand? This question, however posed, must be fundamental for any anthropological approach to mental life. In the course of …

Books

Terrence Deacon’s Incomplete Nature

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged From Matter

By Terrence Deacon

W. W. Norton, 2013, paperback, 627 pages.

Incomplete Nature is a big book, literally and conceptually. The subtitle “How Mind Emerged From Matter” hints of a grand synthesis and Terrence Deacon, chair of University of California–Berkeley’s anthropology department, presents a dense argument which defies usual labels. The result is part …