Donald Brown's List of Human Universals

A bit of information about the Human Universals:

Researchers in the human sciences have begun to flesh out the hypothesis that the mind evolved with a universal complex design. Some anthropologists have returned to an ethnographic record that used to trumpet differences among cultures and have found an astonishingly detailed set of aptitudes and tastes that all cultures have in common. This shared way of thinking, feeling, and living makes us look like a single tribe, which the anthropologist Donald Brown has called the Universal People, after Chomsky’s Universal Grammar. Hundreds of traits, from fear of snakes to logical operators, from romantic love to humorous insults, from poetry to food taboos, from exchange of goods to mourning the dead, can be found in every society ever documented. It’s not that every universal behavior directly reflects a universal component of human nature—many arise from an interplay between universal properties of the mind, universal properties of the body, and universal properties of the world. Nonetheless, the sheer richness and detail in the rendering of the Universal People comes as a shock to any intuition that the mind is a blank slate or that cultures can vary without limit, and there is something on the list to refute almost any theory growing out of those intuitions.

- Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

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21 April, 2016 - 21:41
Joined: 1 year 10 months ago

Interesting list... :)

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