Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Scholars are People Too: Attitudes, Assumptions, and Perspectives

“It is a vulgar superstition, now, fortunately being dispelled, that archaeology is an empirical discipline . . . archaeological interpretations are a function not only of the evidence at hand, but also of the ideas and assumptions . . . that the interpreter carries about with him.”

R. B. Trigger, “The Strategy of Iroquoian Prehistory,” Ontario Archaeologist 14 (1970): 30, cited in William N. Irving, “Context and Chronology of Early Man in the Americas,” Annual Review of Anthropology 14 (1985): 529.

“Until recently, archaeologists have largely adhered to the belief that their profession is objective and free of value judgment. This idea is associated with the philosophy of positivism, according to which the physical phenomena of the universe are characterized by inherent immutable features; since the meaning of these qualities should be self-evident to the observer, it can be discovered by the scientist, regardless of his or her personal perspective or inclinations. However . . . it is generally accepted today that science depends for its ultimate authority on the attitude of the scientific community, rather than on a rule-governed method of inquiry.”

Talia Shay, “Israeli Archaeology–Ideology and Practice,” Antiquity 63 (1989): 768.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.