By Geoffrey Ernest Richard Lloyd
If far off peoples have diversified rules from our personal, is that this simply because they've got various mentalities? Did our distant ancestors lack good judgment? The suggestion of specific mentalities has been used greatly by means of historians to explain and clarify cultural range. Professor Lloyd rejects this psychologising speak of mentalities and proposes another method, which takes as its place to begin the social contexts of verbal exchange. Discussing it seems that irrational ideals and behavior (such as magic), he exhibits how diversified sorts of notion coexist in one tradition yet inside of conventionally outlined contexts.
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Additional info for Demystifying Mentalities (Themes in the Social Sciences)
As we shall see (pp. 45ff) Herodotus distances himself from earlier storytellers such as Hecataeus in that way, for being mere story-tellers, while Thucydides in turn distances himself from his predecessors (including both Hecataeus and Herodotus) in similar terms. In the process, where 'myth' (muthos) had originally meant simply 'narrative account', 'mythological' is given the pejorative undertones of fiction. 12 This is not just to distance his own philosophising, of course, but also to claim superiority for it.
In terms of the influence Aristotle's ideas have had on centuries of subsequent discussion, that has been nothing short of amazing. He presented his opponents with a double-bind to escape from which it was essential (I 34 Mentalities, metaphors and the foundations of science argued) to have an alternative analysis of the literal-metaphorical relationship to offer. 22 But it is not just in relation to the literal-metaphorical dichotomy that the forging of explicit categories appears to be of fundamental importance.
Let me try to indicate, in the briefest possible compass, what a sufficiently dense account might look like, taking for the moment just the single example of Greek medicine where the evidence is particularly rich. This is not the place to attempt to carry through such a project, but outlining the materials that exist for it will serve my present purpose of drawing attention to the circumstances in which what we identify as certain scientific developments took place. If we leave aside self-help, and the help available from within the immediate household or community, healing the sick was, in one or other of its aspects, the work of no less than five more or less clearly demarcated groups, even before we include Hippocratic medicine, itself, as already remarked, no homogeneous tradition.