Chinese comparisons and questionable acts

Common Knowledge 17 (1):42-47 (2011)
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In this response to comments on my article, “The Chimera of Relativism,” in the same issue of *Common Knowledge* , by cognitive neuroscientist Andreas Roepstorff, classicist G. E. R. Lloyd, and anthropologist Martin Holbraad, I illustrate and reinforce Lloyd's cautions regarding the hazards of intercultural—here, Chinese-Western—comparisons in studies of culture and cognition. Examination of a foundational study in East-West cultural/cognitive differences cited by Roepstorff indicates extensive conceptual and methodological problems in that tradition of research. Although Holbraad champions a more radical relativism than that offered in my work, the moves he urges have either been present in my work from the beginning or are both dubiously radical and otherwise undesirable.

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