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1.8: Key Terms

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    Belief: A firmly held opinion or conviction typically based on spiritual apprehension rather than empirical proof.

    Cultural relativism: The anthropological practice of suspending judgment and seeking to understand another culture on its own terms sympathetically enough so that the culture appears to be a coherent and meaningful design for living.

    Empirical: Evidence that is verifiable by observation or experience instead of relying primarily on logic or theory.

    Faith: Complete trust or confidence in the doctrines of a religion, typically based on spiritual apprehension rather than empirical proof.

    Holism: The idea that the parts of a system interconnect and interact to make up the whole.

    Hominins: Species that are regarded as human, directly ancestral to humans, or very closely related to humans.

    Human adaptation: The ways in which human bodies, people, or cultures change, often in ways better suited to the environment or social context.

    Human variation: The range of forms of any human characteristic, such as body shape or skin color.

    Hypothesis: Explanation of observed facts; details how and why observed phenomena are the way they are. Scientific hypotheses rely on empirical evidence, are testable, and are able to be refuted.

    Indigenous: Refers to people who are the original settlers of a given region and have deep ties to that place. Also known as First Peoples, Aboriginal Peoples, or Native Peoples, these populations are in contrast to other groups who have settled, occupied, or colonized the area more recently.

    Knowledge system: A unified way of knowing that is shared by a group of people and used to explain and predict phenomena.

    Law: A prediction about what will happen given certain conditions; typically mathematical.

    Participant observation: A research method common in cultural anthropology that involves living with, observing, and participating in the same activities as the people one studies.

    Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: The principle that the language you speak allows you to think about some things and not other things. This is also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis.

    Scholarly peer review: The process whereby an author’s work must pass the scrutiny of other experts in the field before being published in a journal or book.

    Scientific understanding: Knowledge accumulated by systematic scientific study, supported by rigorous testing and organized by general principles.

    Subdisciplines: The four major areas that make up the discipline of anthropology: biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, and linguistic anthropology. Applied anthropology is sometimes considered to be a fifth subdiscipline.

    Subfield: In this textbook, subfield refers to the different specializations within biological anthropology, including primatology, paleoanthropology, molecular anthropology, bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, and human biology.

    Theory: An explanation of observations that typically addresses a wide range of phenomena.

    This page titled 1.8: Key Terms is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Beth Shook, Lara Braff, Katie Nelson, Kelsie Aguilera, & Kelsie Aguilera (Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.