Donald Brown (anthropologist)

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Donald E. Brown
Born (1934-08-12) August 12, 1934 (age 89)
Known forHuman Universals
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of California

Donald Edward Brown (born 1934) is an American professor of anthropology (emeritus).


He worked at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is best known for his theoretical work regarding the existence, characteristics and relevance of universals of human nature. In his best-known work, Human Universals (1991), he says these universals, "comprise those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exceptions." He is quoted at length by Steven Pinker in an appendix to The Blank Slate (2002), where Pinker cites some of the hundreds of universals listed by Brown. In area studies his doctoral research on the structure and history of Brunei was foundational.


Encyclopedia entries
  • 'Human Universals'. In Robert A. Wilson and Frank C. Keil (eds). The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1999.
  • 'Human Universals'. Encyclopedia of Cultural Anthropology. New York: Henry Holt. Vol. 2, pp. 607–12.
  • 'Human Universals'. Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia. Eds. Jon McGee and Richard L. Warms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. pp. 410–13.



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