The Lopsided Mode of Inquiry in Anthropology: An Identification of its Roots

Umaira hussain khan


Social science has been an attempt to understand man and society in a scientific spirit. It was initially an adaptation of scientific method of inquiry but as it developed, its scope became limited. The discipline such as Anthropology designed and developed to understand that man does not provide with an exhaustive understanding but rather compromises to remain descriptive. The paper examines the mode of inquiry practiced in Anthropology and argues that the method of inquiry practiced in Anthropology is lopsided and has its roots in the philosophical doctrines of Idealism and Empiricism. It maintains that Idealism and Empiricism preferred observable reality as relevant and hence limited the scope of inquiry. With recent scientific advances in human understanding, it is increasingly becoming possible to take into account those aspects of reality which were thought unthinkable due to intangibility. This emerging shift in our understanding particularly about the universe and the working of human mind has made scientists think afresh. The paper suggests a correction by endorsing the use of speculation and reasoning as tools that can go beyond sense perception and limits of observation and can add into the objectives of social sciences.


Anthropology; Empiricism; Idealism; Intangibility; Social Science

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