Common Knowledge 17 (1):146-150 (2011)
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This comment on Eduardo Viveiros de Castro's article, “Zeno and the Art of Anthropology,” considers his definition of what it means to “take seriously” the world of the other, which he regards as the quintessential anthropological move. It means leaving the other's world in a state of suspended possibility, avoiding either belief or disbelief, assent or dissent. Candea's piece draws out the logic of the complementary and inverse move that grounds Viveiros de Castro's stance: “not taking seriously” the world of the “same,” in this case, that of Western intellectuals such as Richard Rorty or Gilles Deleuze. Here “not taking seriously” involves (somewhat counterintuitively) argument, agreement and disagreement, rejection or adoption, of different visions. Candea identifies this controlled asymmetry between treatments of “us” and “them” as the major distinction between Viveiros de Castro's position and an older relativism, a difference that shields the former from the classic “self-refutation charge.” But this controlled asymmetry in turn raises the question of how we are to identify which visions we as anthropologists ought to take seriously and which we ought not to: where, in other words, do we draw the line, procedurally, between “us” and “them”? Candea argues that keeping this problematic and perhaps irresolvable question in view is the specific role of an “endo-anthropology” (the impossible figure of an “anthropology at home”), which is the necessary counterpart of Viveiros de Castro's “exo-anthropology.”



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Matei Candea
Cambridge University

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Unloading the Self-Refutation Charge.Barbara Herrnstein Smith - 2019 - Common Knowledge 25 (1-3):76-91.

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