Ontologie animique, ethnosciences et universalisme cognitif: Le regard ashéninka

Translated title of the contribution: Animistic ontology, ethnoscience and cognitive universalism: Asheninka perceptions

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2 Scopus citations


Far from being a universal of the human mind, classical botanical and zoological folk taxonomies, which are based on general morphology and organized in a tree diagram, might be nothing more than a simple contextual choice in lowland South America. In words and deeds, the Ucayali Asheninka (Arawak) do not give priority to such taxonomies over other groupings, which the traditional ethnosciences usually over-look or see as being of secondary importance. When analyzed, this attitude turns out to be fully coherent with their animistic ontology, which is a more fundamental value than a mere cosmological discourse. It not only permeates all of the everyday organization of living beings, but it also seems to shape habits of perception, which cannot be reduced to our own. This is so true that, under the hypothesis of the universality of a modular human mind, we must inquire into the possibility of culture reorienting certain cognitive modules.

Translated title of the contributionAnimistic ontology, ethnoscience and cognitive universalism: Asheninka perceptions
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)113-140
Number of pages28
Issue number179
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Animistic ontology
  • Cognitive modules
  • Cognitive sciences
  • Ethnoscience
  • Universalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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