By Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff
In Amazonian Cosmos, a different and engaging contribution to South American ethnography, Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff investigates the realm view of an remoted Indian tribe, the Desana, of the Northwest Amazon. the writer labored with a unmarried informant over a protracted interval, and later checked his findings broadly within the box. The acculturated local informant expressed his principles of guy and the Universe in phrases that transcend the slender limits of a really expert ethnological paintings and that show an interrelated procedure of symptoms and emblems of a lot wider curiosity. by utilizing mythology and local languages as keys to an figuring out of social habit, the writer has reached a degree of inquiry and a intensity of belief not often completed in a research of primitive rain woodland Indians, these remnants of as soon as strong tribes that now are swiftly disappearing.
Claude Lévi-Strauss writes of Amazonian Cosmos: “I have tested your publication with passionate curiosity and i'm surprised on the riches of that universe that you divulge to us in it. South American ethnography is not an identical back, for you might have introduced it right into a new period ... it's most unlikely to specific sufficient appreciation for the intense demonstration you've gotten given us of hitherto unsuspected chances for research in depth.”
Amazonian Cosmos is the author’s personal translation of Desana, released in Spanish in 1969.
GERARDO REICHEL-DOLMATOFF is learn fellow on the Universidad de los Andes, and member of the Instituto Colombiano de Antropología in Bogotá. he's the writer of 8 books, together with “Colombia”: historical Peoples and areas and the folk of Aritama, and has additionally released quite a few articles on Colombian ethnology and archaeology.
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Extra info for Amazonian Cosmos: The Sexual and Religious Symbolism of the Tukano Indians
The issue of euthanasia is further complicated by the injection of the act/omission distinction. Most people think there is a significant moral difference between things we do, and things we permit: it is worse to kill Robert than (merely) to let him die. Some people employ that distinction to explain why passive euthanasia (removing medical measures sustaining a person's life) is morally acceptable, while active euthanasia (an individual's ~ or some person acting for the individual ~ taking active steps to hasten her death) is morally objectionable.
This belief is sometimes expressed in public debate, although it is rarely developed in any detail. Here, for example, is Yale Kamisar's argument against "Euthanasia Legislation": Is this the kind of choice ... that we want to offer a gravely ill person? Will we not sweep up, in the process, some who are not really tired of life, but think others are tired of them; some who do not really want to die, but who feel they should not live on, because to do so when there looms the legal alternative of euthanasia is to do a selfish or a cowardly act?
This is not to say that all utilitarians have been atheists. In fact, many have been religious believers (perhaps most notably, Bishop Berkeley, 1712). Nor would any utilitarians - theistic or agnostic or atheistic - hold that a person's religious beliefs are completely irrelevant to the morality of how he or she is treated. For any utilitarian would recognize that people's religious beliefs can have an effect on what brings them pleasure and on what preferences they form. So utilitarianism will favor, for example, freedom of religion and even the neutrality of the state with respect to religion.!