Why Nerds are Unpopular - Paul Graham
The Relevance of Algorithms – Culture Digitally
For Tylor, Anthropology was a “science of culture,” a system for analyzing existing elements of human civilization that are socially created rather than biologically inherited. His work was critical to the recognition of anthropology as a distinct branch of science in 1884, when the British Association for the Advancement of Science admitted it as a major branch, or section, of the society, rather than a subset of biology, as had previously been the case. Tyler was the first president of the section, and in 1896 became Professor of Anthropology at Oxford, the first academic chair in the new discipline (Stocking, Victorian Anthropology 156-64).
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While a foundational figure in cultural anthropology, Tylor thought about culture in radically different terms than we do today. He accepted the premise that all societies develop in the same way and insisted on the universal progression of human civilization from savage to barbarian to civilized. Nowhere in his writing does the plural “cultures” appear. In his view, culture is synonymous with civilization, rather than something particular to unique societies, and, so, his definition refers to “Culture or civilization.” In part, his universalist view stemmed from his Quaker upbringing, which upheld the value of a universal humanity, and indeed Tylor’s refusal to accept the concept of race as scientifically significant in the study of culture was unusual in Victorian science.