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Thinking about kinship and thinking

  • Doug Jones (a1)

The target article proposes a theory uniting the anthropological study of kin terminology with recent developments in linguistics and cognitive science. The response to comments reaches two broad conclusions. First, the theory may be relevant to several current areas of research, including (a) the nature and scope of the regular, “grammatical” side of language, (b) the organization of different domains of conceptual structure, including parallels across domains, their taxonomic distribution and implications for evolution, and (c) the influence of conceptual structure on social structure. Second, the theory compares favorably with alternatives, including (a) the theory that kin terminology is not really that complicated, (b) the theory that kin terms mirror social categories, (c) componential analysis, and (d) kinship algebra. If further research in anthropology, linguistics, and other fields supports the theory, and confirms the psychological reality of proposed mechanisms, then kinship may emerge as a model system for the study of important issues in cognition and social organization.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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