The Metaphysics of Apes: Negotiating the Animal-Human Boundary

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November 2011



The Metaphysics of Apes traces the discovery and interpretation of the human-like great apes and the ape-like earliest ancestors of present-day humans. It shows how, from the days of Linnaeus to recent research, the sacred and taboo-ridden animal-human boundary was time and again challenged and adjusted. The unique dignity of humans is centrally on the minds of taxonomists, ethnologists, primatologists, and archaeologists, guiding their research considerably.This book thus is the first to offer an anthropological analysis of these anthropological disciplines in terms of their own cultural taboos and philosophical preconceptions.


Preface; Introduction; Part I. Ambiguous Apes: 1. Traditional views of apes; 2. The discovery of apes and early hominids; 3. Citizens and animals; Part II. Crafting the Primate Order: 4. Homo sylvestris; 5. The primate order; 6. Separate again; 7. Speaking apes; Part III. Up From the Ape: 8. 'A grim and grotesque procession'; 9. The monstrous other within; 10. Narrative and paradox; Part IV. Homo's Humanness: 11. The earliest homo; 12. 'Ancients' and 'Moderns'; Part V. 'Symbolic Man' in Ethnology: 13. A discipline's identity; 14. Biological approaches rejected; Part VI. Pan Sapiens?: 15. Fierce or gentle; 16. Tools, mirrors, symbols; 17. Ape and human rights; Part VII. Beyond Dualism: 18. An epistemological reminder; 19. Rethinking dichotomies; Bibliography.


Raymond Corbey is Professor of Epistemology and Anthropology at Leiden University and Lecturer in philosophy at Tilburg University, both in the Netherlands. He has published extensively on the history of philosophical, scientific, and colloquial views of humans, animals, evolution, culture and cultural others, as well as on the history and epistemology of anthropology and the formation of ethnographic museums and collections. He is co-director of the research program Thoughtful Hunters? Neanderthal Behavioural and Cognitive Socioecology. He is the co-editor with Wil Roebroeks of Studying Human Animals: Disciplinary History and Epistemology (2001).


'The book is interesting for anthropologists in general as well as primatologists who want to know more about the history of views of great apes.' Gorilla Journal 'This book can be highly recommended to primatologists, palaeontologists, archaeologists and anthropologists interested in how usually theoretical presuppositions influence their interpretations of empirical data. It is well well written and informative ...' Antiquity 'The Metaphysics of Apes, contains a wealth of information and ideas, reflecting Raymond Corbey's extensive knowledge of anthropology, archaeology and philosophy. The connections he draws between on-going debates regarding human identity and those of the seventeenth century are fascinating. ... very well written ... extremely rewarding. It should be essential reading for anyone working in the field of human evolution, especially for those bold enough to declare a view on the relationship between human and other animals.' Cambridge Archaeological Journal 'Raymond Corbey, a philosopher of primatology (for lack of a better term), ventures into these treacherous waters with a book that is thoughtful and approachable.' International Journal of Primatology 'The text is clearly written, ... and has useful summaries at the end of each chapter. ... a fascinating, informative and intriguing must for all those interested in the arguments humans have found to place themselves, their alike and their ancestors in nature or, alternatively, above or beside it.' Sabine Eggers, Department of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
EAN: 9780521545334
ISBN: 0521545331
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 2011
Seitenanzahl: 238 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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