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Free anthropology Essays and Papers

Over one hundred years on from Einstein’s theory of relativity time-space is still considered to be a relational and pluralist universe. There is no absolute meaning to time, only relative positioning, time as a measuring of relationships of events (Smolin 2005). But, the relativity revolution has not ended, nor time, something we have come to fully understand. Lee Smolin has proposed the problem with time in quantum cosmology theories is not with time, but with assumptions that led to the conclusion there is a problem. Smolin argues that the state of accessible space that is constructed as the universe evolves, is expanding out from an initial state where time and causality are built in at the fundamental level (Smolin and Kauffman 1997: 5). Please refer to Figure 3 for a visual interpretation. Traditionally, in the quantum theory of cosmology it is required to have a “non-constructable procedure to define its formal setting” (Smolin and Kauffman 1997: 2), meaning a function that sets up the universe outside of the universe – outside of the physicist. In simplified terms: by imaging the non-constructive procedure as a meta-space outside the physicist’s reach that sets the stage with what scientifically/mathematically we are working with. Time is employed as one of these functions, resulting in the disappearance of time in quantum theories of cosmology (ibid 3). Classically, these configurations of space – a system assumed to be a subsystem of the universe – start to sound like an echo of the Aristotelian revolution. But, try to imagine if as if there is clock outside the system (space), carried by an observer. Now imagine if we did not have this observer and the external clock, time would not exist or would disappear.

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With the introduction of Newtonian physics a more liberal universe was built on the supposition of an absolute, infinite, eternal time. Historically, the Newtonian revolution is measured as starting with Copernicus in 1542 until Newton in 1687 (Smolin 2005). Newtonian physics recognized and put primary time’s functional properties. However, different to Aristotelian cosmology, these laws had less religious implications. A universal time was named and the earth was no longer centrally and symmetrically located in celestial heavens. Newtonian physics was opened up by a burgeoning globalized world that was becoming self-aware and developing a locus for the earth in relation to the universe. Time was an absolute progression against which all change was measured, a background that defined where things are and how they move, a perpetual motion of bodies in a mechanical system subject to Newtonian laws (Smolin 2005). Reversible and Irreversible time were laws of two corresponding categories that dictated motion and time. Realized in a time continuum that theoretically is a process that can (or could) proceed equally well either in the forward or the reverse temporal directions. To an anthropologist, this might start to resemble two binary oppositions; from which the theory of time is grounded. Structural anthropology was a theory led by Claude Lévi-Strauss, who introduced binary codes as a fundamental structure of the human mind. Structural anthropology was committed to the idea every subject could be understood universally in terms of binary oppositions. Departing from structural functionalism that was seeking out structures in the social systems themselves, structural anthropology sought to examine the cognitive effect on social structure, resulting in a bottom up approach. These binaries were a system of differences that create a code, the code allowing for different possibilities of expression. Allowing one to look at the underlying structure that provided the coordinates. The connection I wish to draw between Newtonian physics and structural anthropology is the actor’s position universally (Figure 2). Scientifically, we have Newton’s liberal universe of equal atoms and actors functioning against an absolute backdrop of time. Anthropologically speaking, structural thought classifies subjects in universal codes of binary opposition.

Free cultural anthropology Essays and Papers

Free cultural anthropology papers, essays, and research papers.

He came at a time when anthropology was not considered a true science or even a meaningful discipline and brought an air of respectability to the profession, giving those who followed a passion and an example of how to approach anthropology.

The Spiral of Life and Consciousness

Demography and culture have had a long but ambivalent relationship

Lacan, Jacques | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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