Primatology is Politics by Other Means
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 February 2022
Adam and Eve, Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday, Tarzan and Jane: these are the figures who tell white western people about the origins and foundations of sociality. The stories make claims about “human” nature, “human” society. Western stories take the high ground from which man — impregnable, potent, and endowed with a keen vision of the whole — can survey the field. The sightings generate the aesthetic-political dialectic of contemplation/exploitation, the distorting mirror twins so deeply embedded in the history of science. But the moment of origins in these western stories is solitary. Adam was alone, Robinson was alone, Tarzan was alone; they lacked human company. But each couple, each solution to the illogical insufficiency of a rational autonomous self, was fraught with the contradictions of domination that have provided the narrative materials of “the West's” accounts of its devastating collective history.
- Part XI. New Directions in the Philosophy of Mathematics
- PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association , Volume 1984 , Issue 2: Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers 1984 , 1984 , pp. 488 - 524
- Copyright © 1985 by the Philosophy of Science Association
Support for this paper was provided by an Academic Senate Faculty Research Grant from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Thanks especially to the primatologists who have allowed me to interview them. In this paper I am indebted to Jeanne Altmann, Stuart Altmann, Naomi Bishop, Dorothy Cheney, Suzanne Chevalier-Skolnikoff, Irven DeVore, Phyllis Dolhinow, Robert Hinde, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Alison Jolly, Peter Marler, Nancy Nicolson, Suzanne Ripley, Thelma Rowell, Robert Seyfarth, Joan Silk, Barbara Smuts, Thomas Struhsaker, Shirley Strum, Jane Teas, Sherwood Washburn, Patricia Whitten, Richard Wrangham, and Adrienne Zihlman.