Free Paper Example on Anthropology

Published: 2023-11-26
Free Paper Example on Anthropology
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Discrimination Anthropology Mathematics
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1471 words
13 min read


Bias is a state of prejudice towards someone or something. Knowledge is the possession of facts that can be justified having been obtained through the various ways of knowing, such as perception, emotion, language, intuition, imagination, reasoning, etc. in pursuit of knowledge, it is crucial to be open-minded. Avoiding bias seems a commendable goal, but this fails to recognize the positive role that bias can play in the pursuit of knowledge. In the latter statement's first clause, it is encouraged to avoid Bias when in pursuit of knowledge. In contrast, to its second clause, it argues that Bias can be useful in informing. This statement is contradictory but perhaps valid. Is being biased towards a piece of information help one to be knowledgeable? This question can be well answered by dwelling on two areas of knowledge: Anthropology, which is a human science, and mathematics, which is a natural science.

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Anthropology looks into humanity both in the past and present across the globe. Anthropology is important in order to understand different aspects of human experiences ranging from language, culture, and coexistence in different environments. Since the past information about the humans' past experiences may not be first-hand, and we are dependent on other sources, Bias in interpreting this information may arise. We choose to perceive these secondary sources of information can affect knowing the truth about the past or may lead to being knowledge. Anthropologists, any Bias whatsoever is the answer, which is knowledge. For example, in archeology, an anthropology branch that studies human culture Bias cannot be escaped. In archeology, archeologists can be ethnocentric, which means they can judge cultures, interpret them based on their own cultures, which they perceive to be right; this is called ethnocentrism.

Culture's Customs

In the study of various cultures, anthropologist tries to objectively and factually describe, define, and understand culture's customs and concepts in practice called cultural relativism, but not judging them (ScheperHughes 109-116). So it can be seen that ethnocentrism may affect knowing the truth about the culture. However, in an instance where an anthropologist is biased against already exiting information about specific cultures, he or she may call for a revision of existing theories or question the entire information. This will lead to restudy, for example, in Jane Goodale's restudy of the Tiwi people of North Australia (Felt 144). Earlier Tiwi people had been studied, but Jane Goodale was not satisfied with the first anthropologist’s view of Tiwi people culture, which led to her beginning to re-research the facts, which led to the uncovering of other facts which had not been recorded earlier by the first anthropologists. In this case, we can deduce that Goodale's Bias was a key to knowledge as confirmed facts about the real facts about the culture of Tiwi people could not have known if it was not for her to bias. Her Bias was played an essential role in the focus of collecting accurate information. Another example where bias help to uncover new knowledge is in Annette Weiner’s restudies of the Trobriand Islands of the southwest Pacific (Lepani 1-3).


How do we know if bias can play a vital role in uncovering more credible anthropology information? It is hard to do so since no anthropologist is unbiased. In this regard, postmodernism, which denies the right knowledge, becomes a great tool of knowing. Postmodernism states that knowledge is a human construct and must be deconstructed so that understanding is achieved. In postmodernism, everything is viewed as a whole rather than a sum of parts. In anthropology, postmodernism is important because it emphasizes seeing the world in multiple ways rather than in a single final correct way. However, anthropology's constant Bias in anthropology can lead to not getting the informed, but it is not necessarily right to avoid being biased while seeking past knowledge and past experiences.

In mathematics, however, Bias can lead to misinformation since mathematics is based on certainties, which is unmatched with other areas of knowledge like anthropology. In mathematics, an answer is two-way; it is either wrong or right and does not give room for alternative answers or personal clarification. This is because it depends on only one way of knowing, reasoning, which requires logical evidence for any deductions to be true or false. So in pursuit of mathematical knowledge, there is no room for bias as everything in mathematics can be logically proven. It is necessary to avoid being biased if you are aiming to be knowledgeable mathematically. Any bit of bias in mathematics will give you wrong information; for example, suppose you believe that the largest number exists in mathematics. You will be wrong because the number you claim to be the largest is X, that what would be the answer to the following arithmetic: X + 1 equals to? It would obviously be X+1 according to algebra, which is larger than the previous number you claimed to be the largest.

Here we can see that bias has led to misinformation as we can conclude that there is no largest number. Another example is between negative numbers, and positive numbers, which is the highest assuming the numbers have different values, such as -10 and +2, which are the highest among the two numbers is the highest? One may be prejudicial that -10 is higher than +2 because it has a high value of 10, but he or she is wrong because according to the concept of the number line, which has been accepted globally and can be mathematically proven in this manner; let's say you owe someone 10 dollars and have nothing at all you are at (-$10) while your friend is has 2 dollars in his bank account but does not owe anyone anything is at (+$2). In this scenario, we can say your friend is more prosperous than you, and that is it; you can explain how richer you are than your friend since he or she can afford something you cannot if the value of that thing is two dollars. Here again, we can conclude that Bias can lead to misinformation.

Mathematics Knowledge

Another scenario where Bias can be detrimental to mathematics knowledge is in the statistics and data analysis, a field of mathematics. In statistics, when you deal with biased data, you get biased results, which, in a way, affect knowing the truth, which is knowledge. These biases result during data collection. Ways in which data can be biased are: asking leading questions during survey, taking random sample while sampling, being biased on whom to respond to yours questions while interviewing people, reporting misleading data, and systemic errors while taking measurements (Dee 3323-3343). All those ways will lead to wrong information once data has been analyzed. All these scenarios in mathematics where biases have arisen it has not led to new knowledge.

Generally, it has been seen from the two areas of knowledge that being biased while pursuing knowledge can have either both positive and negative. All these depend on the area of knowledge you are dwelling on. As shown in anthropology, being biased while pursuing knowledge may result in revision or restudy, which in the end may lead to the acquisition of new knowledge. In this scenario, bias has played a positive role in the acquisition of knowledge. While in mathematics, being bias has not led to any new knowledge, but even in other instances has led to misinformation like in statistics. Although bias has proven to be key to new information in some instances, it is not only limited to areas of knowledge but also a few scenarios within the area of knowledge and has shown to be detrimental in most scenarios.


Thus, to avoid the harm resulting from being bias, it is important to avoid being biased while seeking knowledge. Since it is hard to tell when to be biased so that more information can be obtained, it is good to consider the area of knowledge first before being prejudicial since bias can play a positive role in some situations but not always. I can conclude that it is terrible to be biased and should be avoided while pursuing knowledge. Still, in a scenario when bias can be right, it is important to be consciously aware that you are biased so that the decisions being made may not cause any harm and, in the long run, may play an important role.

Works Cited

Dee, Dick P. "Bias and data assimilation." Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: A journal of the atmospheric sciences, applied meteorology and physical oceanography 131.613 (2005): 3323-3343.

Felt, Paula. "Women and Anthropology." Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice 2.2 (1977): 144-144.

ScheperHughes, Nancy. "Introduction: The problem of bias in androcentric and feminist anthropology." (1983): 109-116.

Lepani, Katherine. "W einer, A nnette (1933–97)." The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology (2018): 1-3.

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