"Toward an Anthropology of the Will" is the first book that systematically explores volition from an ethnographically informed anthropological point of view. While philosophers have for centuries puzzled over the degree to which individuals are "free" to choose how to act in the world, anthropologists have either assumed that the will is a stable, constant fact of the human condition or simply ignored it. Although they are usually quite comfortable discussing the relationship between culture and cognition or culture and emotion, anthropologists have not yet focused on how culture and volition are interconnected.
The contributors to this book draw upon their unique insights and research experience to address fundamental questions, including: What forms does the will take in culture? How is willing experienced? How does it relate to emotion and cognition? What does imagination have to do with willing? What is the connection between morality, virtue, and willing? Exploring such questions, the book moves beyond old debates about "freedom" and "determinacy" to demonstrate how a richly nuanced anthropological approach to the cultural experience of willing can help shape theories of social action in the human sciences.
Toward an Anthropology of the Will
Stanford University Press
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