SUN Lecture: Maurice Bloch: `Do people in different types of societies talk about themselves and others in the same way?`
Anthropologists have stressed how in many cultures one does not find the obsession with the self and its value which characterises Euro-America. They stress how people in such places do not often talk about their internal states. They stress how what one “really feels deep down” can never be a legitimation of action. What matters there are the relations one has with others not what one is as an individual. In the lecture I shall illustrate what they are talking about. I shall then consider the common criticisms made by anthropologists of psycho analysis, psychology and even neurology because of these disciplines ethnocentric attitudes which, they claim, undermine their work. Finally, I shall argue that it is necessary both to take on board the findings of anthropologists and their complaints but that these are much less damaging to the cognitive sciences than is made out. A combination of disciplines such as cognitive psychology and anthropology is possible, fruitful and quite fun.