The term 'folkbiology' refers to people's everyday
understanding of the biological world--how they perceive,
categorize, and reason about living kinds. The study of folkbiology
not only sheds light on human nature, it may ultimately help us
make the transition to a global economy without irreparably
damaging the environment or destroying local cultures.
This book takes an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together
the work of researchers in anthropology, cognitive and
developmental psychology, biology, and philosophy of science. The
issues covered include: Are folk taxonomies a first-order
approximation to classical scientific taxonomies, or are they
driven more directly by utilitarian concerns? How are these
category schemes linked to reasoning about natural kinds? Is there
any nontrivial sense in which folk-taxonomic structures are
universal? What impact does science have on folk taxonomy?
Together, the chapters present the current foundations of
folkbiology and indicate new directions in research.
Contributors: Scott Atran, Terry Kit-fong Au, Brent Berlin, K.
David Bishop, John D. Coley, Jared Diamond, John Dupreacute;, Roy
Ellen, Susan A. Gelman, Michael T. Ghiselin, Grant Gutheil, Giyoo
Hatano, Lawrence A. Hirschfeld, David L. Hull, Eugene Hunn, Kayoko
Inagaki, Frank C. Keil, Daniel T. Levin, Elizabeth Lynch, Douglas
L. Medin, Julia Beth Proffitt, Bethany A. Richman, Laura F. Romo,
Sandra R. Waxman.
" Folk Biology is an excellent collection of original articlesthat will be a great aid to scholars and students interested inanthropological and psychological aspects of ethnobiology." Ronald W. Casson , Department of Anthropology, Oberlin College
Douglas Medin is Professor in the Psychology Department atNorthwestern University. He is the coeditor, with Scott Atran, of Folkbiology (MIT Press, 1999). Scott Atran is Research Director in Anthropology at France's National Center for Scientific Research and Visiting Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. He is the coeditor, with Douglas Medin, of Folkbiology (MIT Press, 1999).