Lucien Lévy-Bruhl (April 10, 1857 – March 13, 1939) was a French scholar trained in philosophy, who made contributions to the budding fields of sociology and ethnology. His primary field of study involved primitive mentality.
Lévy-Bruhl was born in Paris. He was an anthropologist who wrote about the 'primitive mind'. In his work How Natives Think (1910), Lévy-Bruhl speculated about what he posited as the two basic mindsets of mankind, "primitive" and "Western." The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses "mystical participation" to manipulate the world. According to Lévy-Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn't address contradictions. The Western mind, by contrast, uses speculation and logic. Like many theorists of his time, Lévy-Bruhl believed in a historical and evolutionary teleology leading from the primitive mind to the Western 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.