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Karl von den Steinen’s Analysis of the Brazilian Indian’s Mind and Worldview Reconstructed

Georg W. Oesterdiekhoff

Abstract

Karl von den Steinen once delivered a famous description of the mind and worldview of the Indians living in the jungles of Brazil, including magic, metamorphosis, dream practices, and creation of the cosmos. This article uses the tools of the cognitive-developmental approach in order to explain causes and structures of the Indians´ mind and beliefs. The reconstruction of von den Steinen´s analysis sheds light on the necessity for ethnology or social anthropology to resort to the discoveries that this branch of psychology has accumulated in the study of mind and worldview across different cultures.

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