SOC401 Cultural Anthropology Assignment 1 Solution Spring 2013

In 1897 a boy was seen running, naked and on all fours, alone through the Guiana forest in France. In 1899 he was captured and brought to Paris. Here he was under observation and training. The boy, eventually named Robert, he did not walk steadily and graduall y but rather astounded from one side to the other and that he never looked to exhaust, no matter how long he ran. His senses were more like an animal than a man. The most developed senses were smell and taste, because Robert would sniff food before deciding what to eat or not. He seemed indifferent to cold. He had no language at all, making only “cries and mumbling sounds.” He was attached to no one, he loves no one; and if he shows some inclination for his custodian, that was an  expression of need and not the sentiment of gratitude.
Keep in mind the case of Robert and answer the following:
1. Do you think humans acquire culture; is it not related to human biology or inborn  quality? 5

We have group social instincts which form the basis of our morality, which biologically is needed to maintain order within the group so that it can function together. A complete amoral or sociopathic type of person would typically be exiled from his or her group because this individual poses a danger to the entire group.

This inborn quality forms a template or foundation, but what your specific or subjective group morality actually is, is what is taught to you in childhood. If you’re a Christian, then you are imbued with a Christian sense of morality. Same goes for the other major religions. Those who don’t subscribe to a religion derive their morality from society as as a whole rather than religious teachings. This is the most subjective of all morality because society can be thought of as a herd of bison or cattle which will run in no particular direction at all at a whim. Religious morality tends to be somewhat static over time because this is an essential part of their dogma.

2. What would happen if a human did not learn culture like Robert? 5

3. On which basis do you consider yourself “fully human”? Explain. 5