chapter  11
8 Pages

The Nature of Paleoanthropology

It is not easy not to be impressed by the progress made in the quest to establish humankind’s place in nature since 1860. I would surmise that paleoanthropology might be among the most progressive scientific disciplines of this entire time period. Why should this be the case? After all, philosophers of science have insisted that disciplines are often characterized either by several competing viewpoints about the proper theoretical matrix upon which a discipline rests, or by a succession in time of such divergent and incommensurable (mutually exclusive) theoretical viewpoints. Are there any good reasons not to view the field of paleoanthropology in light of these epistemological frameworks or models? There are several reasons.