He started with an interest in philosophy and later became a student of Claude Lévi-Strauss. His ethnographic studies in the Amazon region began in 1976 and was funded by CNRS. He lived with the Achuar from 1976 to 1978. His reputation largely arises from these studies. He is currently chair of anthropology at the Collège de France. His wife, Anne-Christine Taylor, is an ethnologist.
Descola, Philippe (1994). In the society of nature: a native ecology in Amazonia. Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology 93. Nora Scott (trans.). Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press. OCLC27974392.
Descola, Philippe (1996). The spears of twilight: life and death in the Amazon jungle. Janet Lloyd (trans.). New York: New Press. OCLC34471521.
Descola, Philippe (2013). Beyond Nature and Culture. Janet Lloyd (trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. OCLC809911095.