Why call them tools?, was

J. Moore (j#d#.moore@canrem.com)
Sun, 18 Jun 95 12:42:00 -0500

[dino stuff deleted]

Ba> Why oh why do anthropologists continue to refer to all stone fossil
Ba> artifacts as "tools"? Would we refer to knives, guns, spears, &etc. as
Ba> "tools"?

Yes, we would. We would because they *are* tools. In fact, calling
them "weapons" would tend to be incorrect much of the time, since the
usual meaning of "weapon" is a device or tool used for fighting
against an opponent. This does not accurately describe the uses,
especially the early uses, of these tools in obtaining and processing
food. Not to mention the many other things you do with knives, such as
cutting skins and plants to make containers and clothing.

Ask someone in the Canadian Arctic if their knives, guns, and spears are
"tools"; the reply will be "yes".

However, we don't call "all stone artifacts" (stone artifacts are not
correectly referred to as "fossils") "tools". Some, for example, is
"art". This can also overlap since a decorated *tool* is also *art*.

Ba> IMHO it would appear as a more honest take on all this to (at
Ba> least) _occassionally_ say "tools and weapons."

Ba> After all, extinct hominids weren't only skinning prey or paneling the
Ba> basement ALL of the time.
Ba> Barry Mennnen

Since "weapons" is a subset of the category "tools", this would be like
insisting we should always diffentiate between "tools" and "hammers".

Jim Moore (j#d#.moore@canrem.com)

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