Edward Burnett Tylor

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Tylor, Edward Burnett


Born Oct. 2, 1832, in London; died Jan. 2, 1917, in Wellington, Somersetshire. British ethnographic specialist in primitive cultures.

Tylor became keeper of the University Museum at Oxford in 1883. In 1896 he became the first professor of anthropology at Oxford University. His main works were Primitive Culture (vols. 1–2,1871; Russian translation, 1939) and Anthropology (1881; in Russian translation, Introduction to the Study of Man and Civilization, 4th ed., 1924).

Along with H. Spencer, Tylor was one of the founders of the evolutionary school of cultural history and ethnography. In his treatment of the history of culture, Tylor was an idealist. He held that the ideas underlying technology and man’s economic and intellectual activities—ideas that have a life of their own—are embodied in the development of various kinds of tools, forms of art, rites, and beliefs. Tylor’s main field of interest was the history of spiritual culture, and particularly the development of religion. Through his wide-ranging studies of vestigial phenomena, Tylor revealed the historical roots of many customs and rituals that had been incomprehensible or that had acquired new meanings. His theory on the evolution of religion from animism was long dominant in science. Subsequently, however, the limitation of this theory became obvious, inasmuch as Tylor considered religion as merely a phenomenon of individual psychology and not as a fact of socially conscious existence.

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Some scientists such as Edward Tylor used the term \'culture\' to refer to a universal human capacity.
The author goes on to examine the theory of fertilization and of the social significance of date palms developed by Edward Tylor, as well as the role of the cherubims and winged genies and the utensils held by the latter such as cones and buckets, which were thought to have apotropaic virtues.
Stocking has indicated that although Codrington was in touch with "evolutionary anthropology" through his contacts with Edward Tylor, whose lectures he attended in Oxford in 1883, Codrington "never really became a convert to evolutionism.
Referring to a book by Edward Tylor, Codrington noted that he "gives credit most deservedly as most people don't, to savages for having plenty of brains.
Edward Tylor in 1871 established the basic pattern or "uniform plot" that all heroes are exposed at birth, they are saved by other humans or animals and then grow up to become national heroes.