From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Nov 25 2006 - 10:51:56 EST
>Quoting Rakesh Bhandari <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>: >> By the way, do you agree with the implication of Paul C's argument that >> since the passing on of written arguments is the key to human uniqueness, >> preliterate cultures must therefore be not yet fully human. >> >> > >I did not say that, firstly since I am not working in a humanist >framework, I thus do not use the category human in the way you do. > >I am not saying that the pre-literate cultures were not human cultures, >as they were obviously populated by people. What I am saying is that >the pre-literate cultures had not reached the stage of development >in the technology of handling information that allowed them to >achieve universality in labouring capacity. Which the transmission of written information you say is the differentia specifica of human labor (of course this makes the professor computer science the most human of all). Pre-literate cultures cannot thus be differentiated from other so called animal cultures; and it follows from your argument that they could not achieve dominance as a species on this planet. The latter claim is empirically false; the former claim is to equate pre-literacy with non human animality as Jerry has equated primitive communism with non human animality. I am insisting that such an argument would not fly with the vast majority of cultural anthropologists. Indeed such an argument would be seen to be based on the invidious distinctions forged in the heyday of Euro American colonial racism. I am as disturbed this claim as the claim that what women and men experience as rape can be found in dolphins--that is, rape can be observed in dolphins. This seems to me do violence to what people (including many men) suffer. It's for me sexist to lump together several different kinds of animal behaviors as rape and not take the the time to differentiate what violated people experience from what non human animals experience. Oh you could say that I am being sensitive here...I hope that no one is that cruel. It's also biologically questionable whether we are observing the same phenomenon (in terms of causes and function) in non human animals. There is a huge debate about this, though the critical side with which I identify clearly prevailed. The Thornhill and Palmer book was routed in the American academy. It's clear to me (and not only me) that racist and sexist assumptions continue to inform lay philosophical anthropology. As they do popular American humor. Rakesh > >Unless individual workers have access to materialised records containing >information produced by others, then the level of development that >is possible in the productive forces when these become available. >My argument is that our rise to dominant species on the planet has >rested upon these developments in the productive forces that >required as a precondition a technology of record, including for >example, the ability to do calculations. > >I dont think that there is a unique human essence, we are just a >species whose information handling capacity has allowed us >to accrete extra-individual information, thereby vastly enhancing our >ability to change reality. > > > >---------------------------------------------------------------- >This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.
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