Re: [OPE-L] Inter-species slavery

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Fri Nov 24 2006 - 06:39:56 EST

I am not sceptical about the proposition that contemporary humans are
from other currently surviving species. But I dispute the reasons given
other contributors.
I would put the key in their ability to transmit and store more complex
information than other species have been able to do.
The ability to improve tools over time does not seem to have been
limited to homosapiens - it seems to have been a common trait
of hominid species. The rate of progress in tool improvement has
certainly accelerated over time
but whether this is down to changes in genetic makeup, or down to
the evolution of culture and social relations is another matter.
Other animals can devise tools, some birds for example, and 
certainly chimpanzees, and gorillas. The chimpanzees pass the tool use
on from generation to generation, but, lacking language, the degree
of sophistication of communication we have, the complexity of
the rules for tool making that can be passed on are much less.
This is why I emphasise the central role of the communication
and persistence of information.


From: OPE-L [mailto:OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU] On Behalf Of Dogan Goecmen
Sent: 24 November 2006 08:51
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Inter-species slavery

"The more we know about other species, the more there is cause for
scepticism about claims of human uniqueness.   Whatever Marx  did
or did not believe about this, he was a product of the 19th Century.
We have to look at these questions from the standpoint of
21st Century knowledge."
are you saying that we have to read Marx only for historical reasons and
that he has nothing or not much to say about our world? I think whatever
progress science made since the 19th century it gives us reason to
refine and improve our understanding but it does not give us reasons to
put Marx aside. You and other contributers who try to challenge the idea
that there is something unique about human beings should above all,
instead escaping into the future and speculating about whether other
species could or would develop capitalism, look back to the history.
Other animals, how sophisticated their language and social relations
might be, dont have history of their own, that is, apart from natural
history. They are subject to history but they do not make history.  I am
repeting my ealier question. Do other animals produce tools and improve
it as the production process proceeds? If any one can show us from
hsitorical records that they do, then, we have reason to be sceptical
about human uniqueness.

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