Re: Re[2]: Definition of Culture

Sun, 8 Oct 1995 00:33:00 PDT

Yee comments:

"For a good argument that human culture is fundamentally different from
primate "culture" ..."

All of this hinges on what is meant by "culture." Some use "culture" to
mean, roughly, "learned behavior passed on from one generation to the next."
Such a definition would certainly include many primates in list of "cultur
bearing" species. But, for example, kinshp terminologies are definitely part
of culture and kinship terminologies are not "learned behavior." It is not
just that we have language, but what it is that we do with language that is
crucial. The notion of a "constructed reality" for example is hard to
support outside of the context of a language and is central to what culture
is about. Or, as another example, which chimpahzees may be able to recognize
quantity, hence are able to do something close to counting, the differenece
between quantity (and even counting) and, say, arithmetic, is a qualitatie
differnce, not one of degree. You don't get to arithematic by small steps
based on counting, but by a single, major, conceptual jump.

D. Read