Jacob Lee's Blog (14)

Full Text of AAA Long-Range Plan Adopted by the AAA Executive Board on 11/20/2010

Russell Bernard sent me the full text of the AAA Long-Range Plan adopted by the AAA Executive Board on 11/20/2010. He obtained the document from Virginia Dominguez, president of the AAA. Here is the text in…


Added by Jacob Lee on December 3, 2010 at 11:12pm — 3 Comments

AAA new Long-Range Plan drops reference to science

AAA new proposed Long Range Plan drops reference to science. I find this a little troubling.

This is the mission statement:

Section 1. The purposes of the Association shall be to advance anthropology as the science that

studies… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on November 24, 2010 at 5:00am — 11 Comments

Around the Infonosphere

Originally posted on my blog at jacoblee.net Around the Infonosphere is my regular report on the stuff I've found or have been reading out there in the infonosphere.

Philosopher Mandel Cabrera over at Lexilalia discusses the… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on October 26, 2010 at 7:39am — No Comments

Situation Theory and Situation Semantics

In August OAC's Oscar González wrote in the Theory for Anthropology group that:

If somebody wants to arrange information for comparing situations looking for cultural signs into them, I think that Situation theory offers a language with capabilities for writing ethnographic information down and make formally well written comparisons.…


Added by Jacob Lee on October 4, 2010 at 6:30am — No Comments

Flex, Slop, Play! a metaphysics for coyote

In an earlier blog post here at the OAC and republished on my personal blog I contemplated how creative adaptive intelligent behavior crucially involves the ability to move in and out of what might be called game-spaces, defined by particular rule-sets or assumptions.… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on September 18, 2010 at 7:30am — 2 Comments

Ritual and Information Architectures

In a series recent blog posts, here, here and here, I have explored John Perry and David Israel's notion of an information architecture given in… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on September 3, 2010 at 10:30am — 3 Comments


Anthropologist Gene Anderson has a thoroughly fascinating blog post on water management, environmental justice, religion, technology, and the impending global water crisis. The post is based on a talk given at Sharlot Hall Museum, Prescott, AZ, in 2008. Definitely worth reading.

Added by Jacob Lee on July 8, 2010 at 12:23am — No Comments

Reflective analysis on cultural practice in Africa

Recently I posted a link to a very interesting essay by Alan Fiske "Learning a culture the way informants do: observing, imitating, and participating" (2000). The paper generated a fair amount of back and forth on whether or not members of any culture reflect on their own cultural practices in equal degree, so much so that Alan Fiske was asked by Neil Turner to to justify some of Fiske's observations and arguments… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on May 16, 2010 at 10:00pm — 3 Comments

Dynamics of the News Cycle

Recently I read a paper co-authored by a number of social network social scientists on the dynamics of the news cycle as evidenced by a medium-grained examination of the diffusion and transformation of phrase variants across the web. The authors, Leskovec, Backstrom, and Kleinberg, have a supporting web site, http://memetracker.org. Its worth a look.

Leskovec, Backstrom, and Kleinberg note that the two principal approaches to the… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on December 16, 2009 at 10:39am — 3 Comments


It is hardly news that the world is a flow of matter, energy, and information. It is a foundational notion of most of the sciences, and especially of ecology, which has exerted particularly significant influence on anthropological thinking. I mention this because I would like to call attention to what a theoretically sophisticated understanding of the relatively neglected third of these might offer anthropology.

I say neglected, but it really hasn't been. Those things falling under… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on December 7, 2009 at 5:00am — 3 Comments

Patrick Maher on Belief, Action, and Acceptance

Rational Belief: Rational Acceptance or Rational Action?

Patrick Maher in his book Betting on Theories (1993, chapter 6) notes two common assumptions about belief:

(1) An agent A believes in H just in case A is willing to act as if H were true.

(2) Sincere intentional assertion… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on December 5, 2009 at 8:30pm — 12 Comments

Systems: an extended glance at the obvious. Part I

Which among these three human artifacts is best described as a system: a hunting net, a shoe, or a gasoline powered motor? I think many of us are inclined to answer the third as being the most system-like. Why?

When one is asked to give prototypical examples of some concept, it is natural enough that we choose those examples with which we are familiar. When we think about a concept we often do so with these prototypical examples in mind. This entails a kind of ethnocentric coloring… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on November 19, 2009 at 12:00am — 2 Comments

Engineered Objects, Systems, and State Spaces

Some anthropologists are uncomfortable with describing human-environment interactions in the language of systems. The concern seems to be that human-environment interactions don't work, in some fundamental way, like computers, engines, or other proto-typically designed things. These interactions are held to be too complex, too non-linear, too open for the systems metaphor to be appropriate, or at least useful. For my part, I think that the concept of a system is entailed by any… Continue

Added by Jacob Lee on November 13, 2009 at 8:30pm — 6 Comments

Some thoughts on intelligence and culture as constraint and resource

Maybe a year or more ago, in another context, John McCreery wrote:

As an anthropologist I both feel attracted to describing culture as “the panoply of resources that show that a place is unique and distinctive” and also aware that attaching culture to place may be too limiting. Consider diasporas, for example, or pop culture worlds like those of gamers or musicians that spill across the boundaries and distances that separate geographical spaces.

What strikes me most,…

Added by Jacob Lee on November 5, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments


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