Hunter-Gatherers: Problems in Theory

  • Robert L. Bettinger
Part of the Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series (IDCA)


Hunter-gatherers are problems in theory. Because that is so, the future of hunter-gatherer research will rest in large part on the extent to which it is grounded in a clear and concise body of theory. Not just any body of theory will do: To qualify it must contain, at minimum, both a general theory and a number of limited theories that illustrate the operation of the general theory in the presence of special circumstances. Such a framework is basic to all productive scientific investigation because facts never speak for themselves. For every “obvious” fact (e.g., the definition of “hunter-gatherer”), there is a theory that defines where that fact starts and stops, what its variation consists of, and what causes that variation. Until the theory exists, the fact as a scientific phenomenon (i.e., as useful data) does not.


Evolutionary Ecologist Limited Theory Darwinian Theory Adaptive Logic Marxist Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert L. Bettinger
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, DavisDavisUSA

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