Re: Animal culture?

Danny Yee (danny@STAFF.CS.USYD.EDU.AU)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 17:45:01 +1000

> Danny, I'm afraid your "philosophical thought experiments" are way beyond me.
> And I don't see how my "definition gives *far* too much importance to biology"
> or how "building explicit reference to a biological species into the definition
> will obscure this." What does "this" refer to? And don't tell me the
> preceding sentence, because it is just plain gobbledegook to me.

By "building explicit reference to a biological species into
the definition" I mean the appearance of "human" in your (and other
peoples') suggested definition of culture.

[ I realise many would define "human" non-biologically, but most such
defintions do so *in terms* of culture, which would be rather circular
in this context! ]

Or is it my statement that some phenomena (e.g. social structures,
communication systems, memetic models, whatever) may be "independent of
particular biological systems" which is confusing? I mean that in just
the same sense that (say) gravitation is independent of what the masses
involved are composed of, or that information theory is independent of
the physics of the communication channel involved.