Re: Animal culture?

J Cook (0002019573@MCIMAIL.COM)
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 07:29:00 EST

-- [ From: Jesse S. Cook III * EMC.Ver #2.3 ] --

-------- REPLY, Original message follows --------

Date: Tuesday, 06-Aug-96 02:45 AM

From: Danny Yee \ Internet: (
From: Danny Yee \ Internet: (
To: Multiple recipients of list ANTHRO-L \ Internet:

Subject: Re: Animal culture?

Jesse S. Cook III writes:

> In my view, culture is everything humans invent.

This seems like a needlessly (and possibly dangerously) restrictive definition.
Whether known non-human species have "culture" is debatable, but I don't
believe ruling it out by definitional fiat is a good idea at all. It is by no
means unlikely that we will find a completely new species somewhere in the
universe that builds cities, has written language, and argues about definitions
of culture... to deny that such a species possessed "culture" because they
weren't H. sapiens would be to do serious damage to the term (and would demand
the creation of a new one).

Danny Yee, indulging his fondness for philosophical thought experiments.

-------- REPLY, End of original message --------

Excuse me, Danny, but I think, on the contrary, that it is needful, and how
could it possibly be dangerous? Furthermore, until we "find a completely new
species somewhere in the universe", my definition will do nicely, I think.

BTW, what's wrong with creating new terms to cover new concepts? We do it all
the time.