Re: [OPE-L] on observing rape in dolphins

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.


>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.
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