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The Decision to Move: Being Mobile and Being Rational in Comparative Anthropological Perspective

Abstract

The relationship between rationality and action in the domain of space is closely related to the prototypical human action in space, namely, walking. This contribution from social anthropology looks at the prime cognitive challenge in this context: human practical reasoning about movement, the decision to go or to stay. Based on ethnographic work with various groups of mobile hunters and gatherers in southern Africa and Australia, the chapter presents an investigation of rationality and action in terms of human mobility in space. It begins with a critical assessment of probabilistic rational choice models of mobility and decision-making and suggests that more promising approaches are informed by work on the pragmatics of dialogues and on abductive reasoning. Rationality in that view is no longer a purely mental phenomenon, for it is distributed across social practice and is partially contained in features of the environment that western philosophy has long dismissed as irrelevant for understanding human rationality.

Resources

url http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-44588-5_14 Accessed 255 times | Last updated 08.03.2017

Bibliography

Widlok, T. (2012): The Decision to Move: Being Mobile and Being Rational in Comparative Anthropological Perspective. Springer – In: Knowledge and Space, Vol. 9, p: 253-265, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-44588-5_14

Authors Widlok, Thomas
Type article
Title The Decision to Move: Being Mobile and Being Rational in Comparative Anthropological Perspective
URL http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-44588-5_14
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-44588-5_14
Journal Knowledge and Space
Year 2012
Volume 9
Pages 253-265
Publisher Springer
Month January
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