Thank you very much to Luke J. Matthews, Full Behavioral and Social Scientist at RAND Corporation, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Boston, for his gratifying review of our book, Understanding Cultural Traits: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity, Edited by Fabrizio Panebianco and Emanuele Serrelli. Luke, a careful reader, thinks that our volume:
provides a valuable set of chapters that I think could be a modelMatthews, L. J. (2018). Fabrizio Panebianco and Emanuele Serrelli, eds, Understanding Cultural Traits: A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Cultural Diversity. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 4(1), 114–117. http://doi.org/10.1558/jch.36240
for renewed interaction among cultural anthropologists steeped in critical theory and positivist anthropologists who use evolutionary or other approaches to test hypotheses with structured data. Put in slightly more grandiose terms, this book is the kind of work that offers at least a vision for a more robust anthropology that might fulfill the dream that motivated the discipline’s creation: that it might provide a wholistic understanding of human variation.
I particularly like Matthews’s following reflection:
I will admit that too often in the evolutionary approach to culture, we have spent a great deal of effort on mathematical models for cultural processes, but then applied those models somewhat casually to whatever data happened to be available. This tendency may be because the step of properly conceptualizing and measuring cultural traits is difficult and time consuming, but its difficulty is irrelevant to its necessityIvi.