The Primitive Mind and Modern Civilization

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    Abstract

    EARLY excursions of the psycho-analysts into the realms of anthropology did not produce any, results which inspired confidence. Prof. Malinowski had no difficulty in showing in his well-known examination of the hypothesis of the father-son antagonism, in the light of the customs of a matrilineal society such as the Trobrianders, that they had failed to take actual conditions into account. Mr. Aldrich, a follower of the Zurich school, however, maintaining that anthropology is unable to handle its data unaided, now examines the beliefs and rituals of primitive and savage society in the light of the two principles of the ‘racial unconscious’ and the gregarious instinct. He attacks the school of Léy-Bruhl and shows that, so far from the savage standing at a prelogical stage, between which and the thought processes of the civilised mind a gulf is fixed, there is in fact a regular progression from the unconscious, as manifested in an instinct for co-operation, through the conventional morality of the savage and civilised, to the consciously directed social co-operation which is now making itself manifest in certain individual members of society as the place of conventional morality is taken by what he calls ‘bio-morality’.

    The Primitive Mind and Modern Civilization.

    By C. R. Aldrich. (International Library of Psychology, Philosophy and Scientific Method.) Pp. xvii + 249. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd.; New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1931.) 12s. 6d. net.

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    The Primitive Mind and Modern Civilization . Nature 129, 79 (1932) doi:10.1038/129079b0

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