5) This explains the ability of the Islanders to explicate words for their numbers when pressed, but appearing difficult for them to CAETS.
What emerges from this section is the sense that enumeration, as a categorical imperative or as an aspect of quality expressed in pattern, played an important role in what both CAETS and its subjects actually saw in these tests.
As such this has been an attempt to triangulate CAETS enumerative system, the results of the psychometric tests, and Melanesian ethnography.
CAETS AND A NINETEENTH CENTURY ANTHROPOLOGICAL ENUMERATIVE COSMOLOGY
At the time CAETS took to the Pacific, there was a perceived need to mathematicise the understanding of man among the social sciences, and thus propagate a more scientific anthropology, avoiding 'the not unkindly hesitancy on the part of men engaged in the precise operations of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, to admit that the problems of anthropology are amenable to scientific treatment' (Tylor 1889:245).
Sidney Ray, CAETS language specialist, adopts this system in Volume III of the Reports, where counting practices are divided into four categories: 1) quinary, or base number 5; 2) imperfect decimal, where base 10 is used following the use of quinary; 3) Decimal, with a straight base number 10 and; 4) Vigesimal, where quinary is used up to 20, upon which a primary base 20 takes over (Reports III [Ray] 1907:464).
Such was CAETS understanding of their own and Melanesian number systems; their presupposed ideas of the natural progression of mathematical knowledge resulting from their cosmological acceptance of abstract number, led them simply to document the insufficiencies of the Islanders in terms of bodily attribution, base system, and recording numbers.
We must therefore be extremely careful not to subject Melanesia to sweeping categorisation which would be tantamount to a similar classification to that used by CAETS and its contemporaries in the years of diffusionism.
Alfred Cort Haddon, anthropological specialist in 'primitive' material culture, asked this question on the first page of his final book before setting off to Torres Straits as leader of CAETS.
By attempting to draw out certain common elements of Melanesian enumeration, this material is brought to bear on CAETS own interpretation of Torres Straits counting systems.
As discussed above, Codrington and CAETS note the practice of counting downwards on the body parts, effectively eliminating parts of the body as one counts upwards until the person is 'finished' or 'dead'.
The British anthropological scene at the time of CAETS was looking for differences between races at what they assumed to be a very deep level.