Archive for the ‘MONKEY BUSINESS’ Category

We Are All Platonists Now

We are all Platonists about human behaviour, in the sense that we assume that reality cannot be what we see in front of our noses. Consider a person who behaves decently 90% of the time, and badly the remaining 10%; everyone says, pointing to one of the bad things, “Ah, that shows what he is […]

Posted on March 24, 2009 at 22:38 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Introduction

Our Brothers The Animals

Those of us who are still thinking along Cartesian lines, that we are uniquely sentient while animals are automata, and also those of us who hold the Christian belief that we are ensouled while animals are not, in short everybody who denies that we ourselves are animals, need to ask themselves whether they would save […]

Posted on March 30, 2009 at 09:39 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

An Essential Reduction

Philosophers have thought up ways to object to the idea that the concept of “mind” can be reduced to the activity and output of the brain, but to the best of my knowledge, they have never been slapped down on the grounds that they are holding the door open to a dangerous elitism. Mind-brain reductionism […]

Posted on March 30, 2009 at 22:29 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

Cats And Neanderthals

Palaeontological classification is more important than it looks. If the Neanderthals were human, whatever that means, then we and they are different subspecies of human; but if not, then the “slot” of subspecies is available to be filled by the various human “races”, and we all know where that leads. Were a community of live […]

Posted on March 31, 2009 at 14:15 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · 2 Comments
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

Colour Me Gunga Din, Laurel

I have been busy beautifying the dirty strip of coarse grasses along the north wall of this African compound, by planting flowers and bushes. I have three kinds of plant there now, one flowering, one the local equivalent of the privet and a big one that looks somewhat like a variegated laurel; I have no […]

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 14:01 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

Personality In The Great Chain of Being

We tend to talk as if what we are pleased to call “personality” is something that sets us aside from the animals and – especially when considered in tandem with the very confused concept of “soul” – contrasts with the animal or bodily agenda. In fact animals have plenty of this thing called “personality” too; […]

Posted on April 2, 2009 at 10:47 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

The Animal Of The Dative Case

Homo sapiens has been given many labels as a kind of animal: “Man is a political animal”, “Man is the tool-making animal”, “Man is the only animal that feels shame, or has reason to”, and so forth. My own contribution has been “Man is the Enslaving Mammal”, the only one that can make others do […]

Posted on April 5, 2009 at 20:11 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

The Ascent Of Tedium

Geoffrey Miller’s “Dionysian Effect” theory, namely that the evolution of the big human brain was driven by runaway sexual selection for interesting mates, implies that, however boring many moderns may be, our remote ancestors must have been even more boring people. Or even more boring apes, depending on how far back we go. But this […]

Posted on April 6, 2009 at 11:13 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

Why the English Talk About the Weather, and Other Stories

It is said that, when meeting the British royals, one should never talk about politics, religion or sex. Considering that the English chopped off the head of one of them during a century abounding in all three activities, this is quite understandable. But I have heard the same said about friends, that friends should never […]

Posted on April 7, 2009 at 13:10 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings

Azi And Born-Men

The SF writer C.J. Cherryh hypothesised that any interstellar expansion would run up against an acute labour shortage. She therefore envisaged the grunt-work being done, not by robots, but by vat-grown humans, whom she whom she called “azi” (for Artificial Zygote Insemination). Where most authors would have left it at that, or tried to gross […]

Posted on April 8, 2009 at 09:50 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: MONKEY BUSINESS, Beings and Gentlebeings