Re: Culture as learned behavior

A. Scott Catey (data@SELWAY.UMT.EDU)
Tue, 1 Feb 1994 09:05:46 -0700

> Why shouldn't J. Wilson's dog be
> > considered as sharing in J. Wilson's culture?.
> >
> > One problem with many definitions of culture recently advanced on this
> > list is that they are committed to an implicit definition of the "human" that
> > distinguishes humans absolutely from all other species.
> The dog may participate in human culture, but does it have culture. I am
> sorry if I am going to come across sounding like some sort of
> "traditionalist" but I believe that there is a difference between the
> human species and other living species and that is the capacity to
> symbolize. It is in this sense that human's have culture and other species
> do not! Learning culture is different from stimulus-response learning.

It is much simpler if we think of Homo sapiens as the only animal that
has been able to change its niche. That is what separates us from the
other members of the animal kingdom. If we remember this, it is very
simple to distinguish between humans and other critters, and it
eliminates the rather boring conundrum of whether Janette's dog is

Data out

"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night time."
"The dog did nothing in the night time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.