Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Atran: Folk biology

Domain-specificity in folk biology and color categorization: Modularity versus global process

Robert E. MacLaury a1
a1 Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104


Universal ranks in folk biological taxonomy probably apply to taxonomies of cultural artifacts. We cannot call folk biological cognition domain-specific and modular. Color categorization may manifest unique organization, which would result from known neurology and the nature of color as an attribute. But folk biology does not adduce equivalent evidence. A global process of increasing differentiation similarly affects folk taxonomy, color categorization, and other practices germane to Atran's anthropology of science; this is beclouded by claims of specificity and modularity.