Franz Boas, “The Universality of Cultural Traits” 

Category : Anthropology, Race

There remains one question to be discussed; namely, whether some tribes represent a lower cultural stage when looked at from an evolutionary point of view.

Our previous discussion has shown that almost all attempts to characterize the mind of primitive man do not take into account racial affiliations, but only stages of culture, and the results of our efforts to determine characteristic racial differences have been of doubtful value. It appears, therefore, that modern anthropologists not only proceed on the assumption of the generic unity of the mind of man, but tacitly disregard quantitative differences which may very well occur. We may therefore base our further considerations on the theory of the similarity of mental functions in all races.

Source: The Mind of Primitive Man (NY: Macmillan, 1911)

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