Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 14:58:05 EDT

> I am not saying animals are unintelligent, just that they are not as
> intelligent as humans, they have not reached the level where they can
> make their needs and wants an object, developing themselves and the
> object.

Hi again Andy (and welcome back to the discussion Nicky!),

The oft-repeated claim that humans are the most intelligent species
is an expression of what I mentioned previouly -- human chauvinism.
There is no such certainty on the part of the scientific community --
indeed, an examination of imprecise, indirect 'objective' indicators
of intelligence such as brain size might lead one to conclude that
most species of whales are _more_ intelligent than human beings! It
is not the scientific community which posits with an air of certainty
the dogma that humans are the most intelligent (and therefore allegedly
'superior') species -- it is (most) religious communities!  It is
also a very 'Western' cultural conception which is alien to the way
in which most other cultures viewed the relation of humans to other

> However, I suspect the
> development of language arises with the development of productive
> activity of labour, hence of tools so non tool-makers are likely to have
> limited (*not* non-existent) language.

There seems to be agreement by rersearchers in the field that belugas
have a language.  There is no reason to suppose that it necessarily
arose as a consequence of whale productive activity.  I doubt if your
claim about the origins of language for humans can be supported either,
but that is another matter.

Elsewhere (in another post) you referred to the need to show "mastery
over our natural environment."

This also is a human chauvinistic conception since we are deemed
to be the "masters" who have mastery "over" nature.  It clearly
expresses an adversarial relationship between humans and nature.
Such a conception was understandable in terms of 19th Century
thought.  It is hopelessly outdated for our century!  In addition
to being outdated, it also is a cultural conception associated
with modern European civilizations.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Apr 08 2005 - 00:00:02 EDT