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Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of social science In its most central sense, culture refers to the forms of life and the tools, symbols, customs, and beliefs that are characteristic of a distinct historical group of people. This sense of culture, associated with the notion of society, provides much of the subject-matter of sociology and anthropology. The variety of cultures has led some thinkers to endorse “ cultural relativism ,” the claim that the culture of any society must be judged in its own terms and not by standards provided by the culture of another society. Others have accepted the importance of culture while rejecting cultural relativism. Culture may also refer to the system of value and ways of thinking peculiar to a society. This amounts to “the consciousness of a society.” In its widest sense, culture refers to the totality of human thoughts, behaviors, and the products of human activities. Culture in this sense, which stands in contrast to biological nature and has been used to distinguish humans from animals, belongs to the subject of philosophical anthropology. More selectively, culture comprises art, sports, entertainment, and other leisure activities. High culture, containing the most significant and accomplished works of visual art, music, dance, and literature, has often been contrasted with popular culture, although the two in some circumstances influence one another. Culture ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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