RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Tue Jun 12 2001 - 13:58:58 BST

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    Subject: RE: USA Today - interview with Gugatkin and de Waal on animal cul ture
    Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 13:58:58 +0100
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            <I'm lukewarm to cold onthe collapsing of social sciences to biology
    or the
    > cal to arms of the Darwinizers against the so-called "standard social
    > science model" bogeyperson. Fields of thought should enjoy some autonomy,
    > though bridging should be explore, but not at the expense of one field.
    > Would you want a bunch of sociobiologists telling you how you should be
    > doing things or trivializing your field?>
            I do share concerns about the trivializing of some disciplines by
    others, and media studies has been knocked by pretty much everyone else at
    one time or another. I'm not opposed to natural sciences informing what
    social sciences do, though. I have bigger problems with disciplines, or
    individuals within them, stampeding far beyond what is plausible, and
    Wilson's stuff, for example, doesn't really consider the professional status
    of other disciplines. At the end of the day, what does an entomologist
    really know about social science, know matter how good an entomologist he

            <I've been reading Steven Mithen's _The Prehistory of the Mind_
    (1999. Thames
    > and Hudson, Ltd. London) for something complementary to de Waal's book.
    > I've
    > just turned the corner early in the book where he introduces Haeckel's
    > concept of recapitulation and the honeymoon may be over already ;-) More
    > on
    > this as it develops.>
            I think Joe posted a critique of the notion of animal tool use.
    I've seen this book, and only stopped buying it (instead reading chunks in
    the bookshop) because of the church analogy in his story of the development
    of mind (not because it's a religious metaphor, simply because I thought it
    was a bit cheesy). some nice stuff about culture though.


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