Lucien Lévy-Bruhl (10 April 1857 – 13 March 1939) was a French scholar trained in philosophy who furthered anthropology with his contributions to the budding fields of sociology and ethnology.
His primary field of study involved primitive mentality.
Born in Paris, Lévy-Bruhl wrote about the 'primitive mind' in his work How Natives Think (1910), where he posited, as the two basic mindsets of mankind, the "primitive" and the "modern." The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality but uses "mystical participation" to manipulate the world.
According to Lévy-Bruhl, the primitive mind does not address contradictions.
The modern mind, by contrast, uses reflection and logic.
Lévy-Bruhl believed in a historical and evolutionary teleology leading from the primitive mind to the modern mind.
Sociologist Stanislav Andreski argued that despite its flaws, Lévy-Bruhl's How Natives Think was an accurate and valuable contribution to anthropology, perhaps even more so than better-known work by Claude Lévi-Strauss.
Lévy-Bruhl's work, especially the concepts of collective representation and participation mystique, influenced the psychological theory of C.