Claude Lévi-Strauss: Breaking the Spell

Martin Paleček



When we consider which kind of theory we should apply to a given problem, one of the most important criteria is the effect of its application. In other words: we evaluate theories in terms of their abilities to solve problems. In this essay I would like to indicate which kinds of problems are crucial for social sciences and illustrate these problems by means of the structuralist criticism of functionalism. I argue that the Levi-Strauss’ proclamations about his method have never been fulfilled and that the structural anthropology is not satisfactory.


Lévi-Strauss; philosophy of social sciences; critique of structuralism; functionalism; naturalism; interpretativism

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: