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View Diary: Feminisms: One Is Too Many (Updated) (308 comments)

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  •  When? (1+ / 0-)
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    jessical

    When we stood up and put shoes on our feet.

    •  heh... (8+ / 0-)

      I have a feeling this is one of those exchanges that I should never have started...but I will say as a philosophical matter I could not disagree with you more.  Strictly for the sake of something to consider, I'd suggest the idea that we are in fact animals, and there isn't some magical divide which makes our form of conciousness priviledged or superior to any other creature; and further, that much of what is most terrible in the world begins with the assumption that we're something other than chimpanzees.  If we acknowledge our chimphood, whether in social dominance games or murdering women who engage in reproductive behavior outside our ingroup, we can act to change it.  If we pretend we're "better" than that, all we do is stuff it away until it comes back again to say hello, in a new social context...because we can't talk about it.  We've banished it to a nature we've disowned.  Mileage varies, of course...

      •  Nail, meet hammer. That's what I wanted to say. (3+ / 0-)
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        Elise, jessical, LynneK

        Thanks for putting it so clearly.

        If it's our freedom they hate, they must love Bush's response to the WTC attacks.

        by geomoo on Wed May 23, 2007 at 09:29:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK then, (0+ / 0-)

        If we acknowledge our chimphood, whether in social dominance games or murdering women who engage in reproductive behavior outside our ingroup, we can act to change it.

        This is what I would call a circular argument.  If we're anaimals, then we haven't evolved into the rational beings we're supposed to be. Chimps do all those things, but then don't rationalize why they did it and act to change it.  It's why they're still chimps, and we've moved on.

        I recognize that we come from chimps, but we've moved beyond that.

        What you and geomoo are doing is reducing us back to the level from which we came.  And I couldn't disagree more with that.

        •  er...um... (2+ / 0-)
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          tryptamine, LynneK

          It's only a tautology if you accept that somehow the power of rational thought makes us other than animal, which to me is prima facie absurd.  I'm probably not as severe a sociobiologist as geomoo, but I don't see anything in the animal kingdom as "beyond" anything else -- there is no natura scala, only a vast and complex tree, whose branches rise and fall and twist over aeons (and "rise" or "fall" are value judgements in any event).  Our rationality may in the end be profoundly maladaptive -- speaking of one niche as being "beyond" another makes no sense.

          It's following the birdwalk, but I'm also not entirely sure that chimps don't have better angels of their nature, as well, at war with the selfish and unkind -- have you ever watched chimps?  

          Anyway, thank you for the exchange.  Off to bed...

        •  I have made no effort to clarify the degree (3+ / 0-)
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          DebtorsPrison, tryptamine, jessical

          to which I think instincts, which is to say behaviors mediated by evolution.  It is always frustrating that to bring up these factors is to have to argue that they aren't the only factors I am willing to discuss.  Nothing I have said so far would keep me free adding that I only think this explains about 1% of human behavior.  Of course one can deduce, correctly, that I think it's more than that, or why would I bring it up.  But certainly it's worth discussing if forms only 10% of the explanation.  This is the very argument I try to address in my original comment.  Why is it so hard to admit the effects of our animal nature?  What causes people to flee immediately to a polarized posture of no animal nature.  It is surely obvious to all of us that we are in many ways different from other animals.  Is it not equally obvious that we behave in decidedly non-rational, animal ways?  These are both part of who we are.  The interesting question is to what degree, and how do we mediate the two internal forces.

          As I said elsewhere, one obvious trait unique to humans is a written language, which affords us the luxury of building on knowledge gained by prior generations.  This effect alone is enough to explain how we might be animal in nature, yet behave in a fashion distinct from any other animal.  Does this not answer your accusation of circularity?

          If it's our freedom they hate, they must love Bush's response to the WTC attacks.

          by geomoo on Wed May 23, 2007 at 11:18:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  nicely put... (3+ / 0-)
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            DebtorsPrison, tryptamine, Elise

            though I think the problem for most folks starts with the word "animal".  It's a hard one to think about and I wish I'd been nicer on this thread :(  I do wish more folks would think about it, as much from a perspective of ethical exceptionalism as anything else.  Even the instinct/rationality divide, worthy a topic as it is, pales before the idea that we are other than the nature in which we live.

            •  nicely put back atcha (3+ / 0-)
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              DebtorsPrison, tryptamine, jessical

              I have been largely in agreement with you, but nonetheless it is my impression that you have been respectful and on topic in your responses.  I hope xyz and others feel that way as well, but I wouldn't claim to speak for anyone else.  I hope all involved have felt engaged and respectfully heard.  I know I have.  If you say anything else, no matter how intelligent or well-informed (or challenging of me), I'm just not going to respond.

              And I mean it this time.

              Really.

              If it's our freedom they hate, they must love Bush's response to the WTC attacks.

              by geomoo on Wed May 23, 2007 at 11:43:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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