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Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture

Lawrence Krader, Interdisciplinarity, and the Concept of the Human Being

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Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander

The essays contained in Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture represent an attempt by scholars from Canada, Germany, and Mexico to come to grips with the innovative work of the American philosopher and anthropologist Lawrence Krader who has proposed nothing less than a new theory of nature, according to which there are at least three different orders—the material-biotic, the quantum, and the human—which differ from one another according to their different configurations of space-time, and which cannot be reduced the one to the others. Each author takes up Krader’s theory in relation to its impact on their own discipline: sociology, anthropology, the study of myth, the theory of labor and value, economics, linguistics, and aesthetics. The question of how nature and culture can be integrated within a theoretical framework which links them in difference and nexus and allows each their non-reductive space leads each of the contributors to move in their thinking beyond the old dualisms of materialism and idealism, fact and value, nature and culture.

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Projecting a New Anthropology? Some Reflections on Lawrence Krader’s Contribution to the Discipline of Anthropology and His Significance Today (Antje Linkenbach)

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Projecting a New Anthropology? Some Reflections on Lawrence Krader’s Contribution to the Discipline of Anthropology and His Significance Today

ANTJE LINKENBACH

Introduction

Anyone who engages with Lawrence Krader and his remarkable work will probably agree that it is nearly impossible to do complete justice to him as an intellectual, as well as to his contributions to scholarship. Lawrence Krader was a philosopher, logician, historian, theoretical anthropologist, and regional specialist regarding Mongolia, Asia, and Eastern Europe. His great and impressive work covered various disciplines on a broad range of topics, culminating in the posthumously published book Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing, in which he presents a comprehensive perspective on humanity as constituted by material and mental processes (Krader 2010, 5). A single researcher can therefore only try to explore some of his ideas and objectives, by focusing on just one part of his large body of writings.

In the following, I want to draw attention to Krader as a representative of the discipline of social and cultural anthropology. However, it is not my intention to discuss him as a regional expert—Krader did seminal work on nomads and other peoples of Central Asia1—but rather as a scholar with a theoretical focus and an interest in Marx’s relationship to anthropology. Krader, during his time at the Free University in Berlin, Germany, succeeded in developing and establishing a critical approach to anthropology in a still rather...

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