Study/Discussion Questions on "Mother Cow"

1. Is Harris attempting to explain why Indians have a taboo on killing cows, or is he attempting to explain why they in fact do not kill apparently useless cows, or both?

2. Are Harris' explanations the same sort of explanations that Marx would give?

3. Are Harris' explanations causal? Exactly how do they work? How would you appraise them?

4. During the medieval period India was invaded by Muslims and large areas of India became Islamic and gave up the taboo on eating cows. Does this fact create a problem for Harris' account?

5. How can one determine whether Harris' explanations are good explanations? What evidence would lead one to judge that his explanations are good or that they are poor?