Re: Culture & symbols

Robert Snower (rs222@WORLDNET.ATT.NET)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 22:10:02 +0000

At 04:31 PM 8/5/96 +0000, thomas w kavanagh wrote:
>> >> Redistribution creates a common identity in the same way tattoos do, or
>> >> kinship terminologies do.
>> >tk:
>> >I did not follow the BMODs thread so I don't know if this was discussed
>> >there. Tattoos do not *create* identity. They might express a pre-existing
>> >one or be used as the basis of later lumping and/or splittling, but the
>> >act of putting pigment under the skin does not create/establish anything.
>> Must disagree. The process of tattooing, with the appropriate accompanying
>> mentality, can create identity, without pre-existing link, mental or
>> otherwise. (Where did your "pre-existing one" come from?)
>'pre-existing [identity]' = "appropriate accompanying mentality"
The tattooing process (the tatooing plus the mentality) is a pretending that
the tattooing establishes real biological kinship between those tattooed.
'Pretending the real link" is the construction of an imaginary link. So the
"mentality" I speak of is the mental process of constructing an imaginary
link out of a real biological link.
Therefore the pre-existing link, from my perpective, is not the mentality.
There is no preexisting link except the real biological link from which
indeed the hypothesis was a "play" on. Thus the tatooing process is a
hypothesis making, a mental creation, about the tattooing, without any
previous foundation other than the real biological link, whose reality is
not incorporated into the hypothesis, but rejected, denied, in favor of an
imaginary creation, which is what makes it a hypothesis. Yet we cannot say
the imaginary creation came from nowhere. It came from biology, which it
expressly rejects.

>> >As far as sociobiology is
>> >> concerned: sociobiology, via Hamilton's inclusive fitness, accounts
>> >> for societies in mammals (including humans) certainly past nuclear
>> >> to social bands and groups of varying complexity.
>> >tk:
>> >just plain non sequitor: it does not follow. If I remember from a looong
>> >time ago, "inclusive fitness" describes the evolutionary relations between
>> >biological relatives. But human societies "past nuclear families" include
>> >a good many people who are not biological relatives and for whom
>> >"inclusive fitness" does not apply.
>> Not necessarily.
>Specify. And please take into account that human societies 'above/past' the
>nuclear family, i.e. 'social bands and groups of varying complexity' --
>('hordes,' 'tribes', 'clans,' 'ethnic groups', etc.), include people who are
>not biologically related.
> And nothing was contained in your original statement about
>> non-relatives when you flat-out maintained sociobiology could not account
>> for society "above the nuclear family." Nothing about relatives, nor in
>> fact, anything about humans.
>I would have thought it was self evident. If sociobiology can only
>account for societies of relatives, then the only human societies it can
>account for are nuclear families.
When my original statement was made that sociobiology could account for
societies, animal or human, above the nuclear level, we had come to no
agreement that human societies have never ever included groups which exceed
the nuclear families yet contain only relations. We still haven't. It is
quite possible such societies existed. If they did, then sociobiology can
explain it with inclusive fitness. If they didn't, then it can't.

My original statement still goes that it is sociobiology's premise that all
societies are based on kinship. At least ante-Snower. We both agree with this.

Best wishes. R. Snower