Philosophy First Paper

Philosophy First Paper - Eric Sheerin 711973574 David Lowe...

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Eric Sheerin 711973574 David Lowe Pledge: QUESTION : Is there any essential difference between a typical Western speaker’s utterance “My professor is a strange bird” and a Bororo’s declaration “I am a red-breasted parrot”? How are these utterances essentially alike or different in nature? Explain your answer in terms of the course argument, demonstrating that you understand the latter, and then, reserving a paragraph, state whether the argument does or does not make sense to you, and why.
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Anthropology attempts to understand the question “what does it mean to be human?” The Bororo people of South America create meaning for their individuality as humans by associating each clan with a specific totem, one being a red-breasted parrot. A Bororo male’s declaration that “I am a red-breasted parrot” is essentially different than a Western individual saying “My professor is a strange bird” because calling themselves “red-breasted parrots” is something more than just a name given to the Bororo. Instead, it is a spiritual totem that a Bororo clan associates itself with. These spirits are thought to be immortal and immaterial. They are the ideal type, the essence, the more real than real name of a Bororo’s social identity. The significance of the Bororo resides in the fact that they seem to express a completely different notion of identity than a western thinker. What the Bororo are trying to express is actual identity; that they can be both human beings and birds at the same time. Primitive mentality in
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2008 for the course ANTH 146 taught by Professor Evens during the Spring '07 term at UNC.

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Philosophy First Paper - Eric Sheerin 711973574 David Lowe...

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