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The obvious paradox which makes the thesis of man’s animal origin thus understood actually serve idealism has already been pointed out by A. Leroi-Gourhan. Haunted by the idea of the ape-man, the paleontology and prehistory of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century have persisted in the mistake for a long time.

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    What exactly don't you understand about this sentence? It is grammatically quite involved, but those two words mean exactly what you would expect. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/thus - in this way dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/understand to know the meaning of something
    – JavaLatte
    Jul 11 '20 at 13:30
  • @JavaLatte Of course I get the meaning of the two words, but I don't know their function in this particular sentence. Jul 11 '20 at 13:41
  • @HassanBashiri Look at a simplified sentence. Do you understand the following? Milk spoilage thus understood leads to better storage planning. If you understand that, then you understand the function of thus understood, and your confusion over the paragraph isn't due to the phrase itself. Jul 11 '20 at 15:38
  • @HassanBashiri Note that, in that paragraph, I have an issue with the grammar of the sentence within which thus understood is used. The sentence itself doesn't make sense to me—although the phrase does. Jul 11 '20 at 15:41
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The obvious paradox which makes the thesis of man’s animal origin thus understood actually serve idealism

thus understood = understood in this manner or in this way.

If you use understood in this manner or way, the sentence should be clearer for you.

It's adverbial

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This is a rather convoluted sentence (you can read the entire article here), but I think it breaks down like this:

  • The obvious paradox which makes [the thesis] ... actually serve idealism ...
  • the thesis of man’s animal origin
  • the thesis thus understood
  • [the paradox] has already been pointed out by A. Leroi-Gourhan.

So the part you've picked out is qualifying the thesis - it is not just any thesis of man's animal origins, it is the particular thesis that is understood because of something in a preceding sentence.

A more direct phrasing might be something like this:

An obvious paradox in this thesis of man's animal origins makes it actually serve idealism, as already pointed out by A. Leroi-Gourhan.

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    You can edit your answer by making any change; for instance, by making "So the part you've picked out is qualifying the thesis - it is not just any thesis... etc." into two separate sentences. Once you make any change, my credit for editing your answer will disappear, which I prefer. Jul 11 '20 at 17:52

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