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

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 15:31:29 EDT

At 2:58 PM -0400 4/7/05, glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:
>  > 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!

Are we to deny unique human capacities in order to ensure that there
is no basis for the claim of human superiority?

>  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

Perhaps we should look at Tim Ingold's book on What is an Animal? Of
course the very universal animal may itself be a historical creation.
I think Luria tried to show this?

>>  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.

yes the question of animal language is as Jerry underlines a very
real one. Sue Rumbaugh and Stuart Shanker seem to be two of important
people we'll need to read.

Yours, Rakesh

>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

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