Anthropological premises and assumptions generally involve intellectual-historical, philosophical, or “paradigmatic” choices and commitments. More specifically, in cases of theoretical and practical differences between rival paradigms of social anthropology, these choices and commitments must be empathetically understood and systematically explicated before an intelligent or fruitful debate is possible. This paper briefly and tentatively outlines the major premises and assumptions of structuralism and empiricism in French-continental and Anglo-American cultural anthropology. It also suggests possible means for the improvement of debate between these rival schools and points out that in exchanges of differing opinions, the social anthropologist must be aware of both the explicit socio-anthropological and the implicit historicophilosophical issues involved.