Whether history or anthropology is the most fundamental social science remains still a controversial and undecided issue. For a proper understanding of this instructive controversy, the presuppositions of these two disciplines need to be critically and philosophically reviewed. Otherwise the true perspective of the controversy remains undisclosed and therefore unintelligible. The author has pointedly examined in this connection the conflicting views of Sartre and Levi-Strauss and has concluded that they can be construed as complementary if one thinks in terms of human universals. Also, he has selectively drawn upon, critically assessed, and brought the theories of Husserl, Heidegger, Popper, Quine, and Kuhn to bear upon the problem. the author`s conclusion centers around his own concepts of human universals. The positive thesis of the book rejects the trichotomy of three cultures: scientific, humanistic and technological. The main trend of Chattopadhyaya`s reasoning shows that the gulf between analytical philosophers and phenomenologists is either imaginary or highly exaggerated. In this specific case, he argues that if theorization is primarily problem-oriented rather than `school-based`, one can see one`s way to rational solution in the convergent light of different but similar human or cultural origins. His presentation is highly original and likely to prove controversial.
D.P.CHATTOPADHYAYA until recently research scientist of the University Grants Commission is Professor of Philosophy at Jadavpur University. Among his numerous publications are Individual and Societies A Methodological Inquiry 1967 & 1975 Individual and Worlds: Essays in anthropological Rationalism 1976; Environment evolution and values 1982; Humans Meanings and existence 1983 Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx: