[lit-ideas] "Canis lupus familaris" (Am. Soc. Mamm., 1993)

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 22:44:10 EDT

"The domestic dog was originally classified as Canis familiaris and Canis  
familiarus domesticus by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758,[19][20] and was 
reclassified  in 1993 as Canis lupus familiaris, a subspecies of the gray wolf 
lupus, by  the Smithsonian Institution and the American Society of 
Mammalogists" -- Fail to  know exactly WHO. 
Perhaps we can explain, alla Grice -- as Horn does -- the 'narrow'  
implicature at play here:
from online source:

"hound (n.) 
O.E. hund "dog," from P.Gmc. *hundas (cf. O.S., O.Fris.  hund, O.H.G. hunt, 
Ger. Hund, O.N. hundr, Goth. hunds), from PIE *kuntos, dental  enlargement 
of base *kwon- "dog" (see canine). Meaning narrowed 12c. to "dog  used for 
"meaning narrowed 12c. to "dog used for hunting".
Same time, I would suspect when "deer" was narrowed down to 'cervus cervus' 
 rather than a general meaning of 'animal'.
---- Next I would need to get a good quote about dog but I keep failing.  
Hence the rather boring header to this...

My last post today.

In a message dated 7/12/2011 9:26:08 P.M.,  lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
writes in "Dogma", etc.
"The Twa Corbies," you  can
see Ginger and Sage staring down from a dirt road into the brush.   There 
rabbits down there as they recall from the times we hiked through  that
brush, but up on the road they just look.  They love to chase  rabbits, but
it is too hard for them to hop down there on those rocks else  they would.
The decision whether to take the road or enter the brush was made  further
back; although Ginger tried to talk me into going into the  brush.



I paste below some further comments by  Fox. From the link provided my 
McEvoy. Of course I would be interested to browse  that book. "Table of 
contents", as it were, or affiliation of Bradshaw. Oddly,  it's a surname I 
("Bradshaw Railway Guide").


Fox  write:

"This is the thesis of John Bradshaw's scholarly yet passionate  book In 
Defence of Dogs, which is nothing less than a manifesto for a new  
understanding of our canine friends."
Aristotle was even unsure about the alter ego as 'amicus'. "Plato may have  
been my friend; but Truth is a much more faithful one."
"It is an attempt to "stand up for dogdom" -- that is, dogs as they truly  
are, not as we assume they are."

Helm is right in pointing to the (my phrase) 'trouser word' character of  
'true' here. It is particularly irritating in that 'true' can mean 
'trustworthy'  as I use it. I would use, "real", at worst, for what Fox slyly 
"As a canine expert and dog-lover, Bradshaw is dismayed that our treatment  
of dogs is based on so many mistaken beliefs and assumptions. He wants to 
set  the record straight now because canine science has made huge advances in 
recent  decades."
canine science requires an -logy suffixation. Grice was sometimes sceptical 
 about specific sciences. Notably ichthyology. (He famously claimed that 
there is  no _ichthyological_ truth, only _scientific_ truth, at most).
"He starts by demolishing the notion that dogs are essentially aggressive  
creatures seeking dominance, which is based on discredited research into 
wolf  packs."
Yet -- the point about the wolf is a good one. The point about the "fox"  
(to use the reviewer's surname -- and family name) is also good. Note that  
"Chris Fox"
is a veritable British name,
"Chris Dog"
is not.
"Chris Hound" either. "Chris Bitch" either. "Virginia Woolf" is Jewish, I  
understand. (nee Stephen).
(I am told that German names that _mean_ stuff are of Jewish origin  --).
"It is now known that wolves  the direct ancestors of dogs  actually live 
 in harmonious family groups. Packs are not dominated by "alpha wolves", 
but are  fundamentally cooperative."
This sounds like _Griceian_. Of course 'cooperative' is a trick of a word.  
This relates to intra-specific communication of the type Grice was 
interested  in. Are the _packs_ inter-cooperative, or are the members within a 
which  are cooperative? ---.
Grice speaks of a "cooperative principle". Does it apply to wolves?
--- Oddly, "Woolf! Woolf!" is my favourite anti-Gricean study. He has the  
cooperative maxim,
"Say the truth". The little shepherd deviated from the norm and the result  
was his death.
"Bradshaw is determined that the "dominance theory" be banished. But while  
enlightened trainers and owners have got[ten -- in this case, the 
Americanism is  clearer. Speranza] the message, many more still subscribe to 
techniques  aimed at ingraining fear and subservience into dogs. For Bradshaw, 
are not  only misguided and cruel, but joyless."
Fox has a way with 'conjunctions':
"erudite yet fun"
"cruel but joyless".

One has to be VERY very careful with those rhetorical tricks.  Especially 
since they SAY NOTHING. Only implicate. Why should training be  _joyful_? 
What would _joy_ add to cruelty?

When the Duchess of Devonshire saw her own televised life on television  
("Life in a cold climate") which -- now available in BBC DVD -- tv series  
originally) -- which starts with a fox-hunting session where the duchess's  
father uses _her_ as the 'fox' after which his dogs run -- there was a 
criticism  to the effect that the duchess's father was very wicked in doing 
cruel  things _for joy_. The duchess was irritated as to why joy should have to 
be  brought into the picture in such an artificial way. "He wasn't 
"fox-hunting" for  earnest", I think her reply was. It's in her book, "Counting 
chicken." --  very funny.

"His account of the evolution of dogs is fascinating. Surveying  the latest 
research, he concludes that the dog's epic journey towards  domestication 
probably started around 20,000 years ago. Dogs have become almost  a separate 
species from wolves,"
--- the use of 'domesticus' is perhaps AMBIGUOUS. Never polysemous. I'm  
into bird. What makes the 'passer domesticus' (home sparrow) a domestic thing? 
 It's not! Try to get one in a cage. It's a total joyless thing -- to see a 
 'passer domesticus' in a house. Then 'domus', out of which 'domesticus' 
comes,  is also pretty empty, in that, in old Roman times, a hut possibly 
counted as a  'domus' (as opposed to Rinascimento italiano, "il duomo" di 
Brunelleschi,  say).
So, it would be interesting to check the names for 'canis familiaris'.  
"NOT" domesticus. Note that 'familiaris', like 'common' is a rather empty name. 
 "Familiar" in the sense of "most seen" -- no real point in the 'family'  
"and their evolution continues to confound biologists. What Bradshaw is  
keen to stress, though, is the unique evolutionary pact between humans and  
Pact is a good Lockean word of Renaissance vintage. In the old days, people 
 explained EVERYTHING by means of a pact (or compact, as Locke preferred).  
Freedom, for example, was explained by Hobbes a pact. Mediaeval jurists 
spoke of  a pact between man and God, even. 
The point about being serious with Grice here is that while there may be a  
'pact', one has to reconsider things like, say, 'the cooperative 
principle'. At  one point, Grice does note that human interaction along 
rational lines 
MAY have  a quasi-contractual basis. But then, what if it does? A pact does 
not really  EXPLAIN anything. A pact may exist. But as legal positivists 
are well aware, the  fact that a pact exists does not make the pact a 
_legally_ correct (less so a  morally fulfilling) pact, or something.
"we have programmed into them a deep need for relationships with humans,  
which we must treat with respect. This material underpins Bradshaw's most  
compelling chapters, which explore the emotional lives of dogs."
Emotions are difficult to cope with by philosophers, theoretically and  
practical; so I'm hoping Bradshaw knows what he is talking about. I connect  
'emotion' with perception, and as McEvoy notes, there may be 'different' games 
 at play here. What counts as a dog-emotion?
Emotions in humans are 'intentional' and possibly reflective -- and perhaps 
 stimulus-free. So, the comparison of 'emotion' as in the confusing title 
by  Darwin: "The expression of 'emotion' in [homo sapiens sapiens] and 
[passer  domesticus]" should come handy.
"The revelation here for many dog owners might perhaps be that dogs'  
emotional repertoires are much more limited than we generally think. Research  
confirms that most dog owners are convinced their dogs can feel and display  
complex emotions -- particularly guilt. In fact, there is almost no evidence 
for  this; dogs simply do not have the self-awareness for such emotions."
The point about 'self-awareness' is Griceian. British scholars (is Bradshaw 
 a Brit?) were obsessed with this in the pages of "Mind". Grice, "Personal  
identity", for example. To _be_ (a self) one needs self-awareness. This is  
sometimes called antisphexishness, if you mustn't.

"But in persisting with the notion that dogs have this advanced  
understanding of their actions  and our expectations -- we end up punishing  
them in 
ways they cannot understand."
It may be argued that perhaps understanding is not expected. It may be  
argued that, say, a woman may converse with her 'cat'. I certainly think that 
if  cats could reply (alla Grice, complete with implicatures) many a person 
would  STOP addressing rather otiose remarks to partners which are not really 
fair game  to the conversation game.

"Dogs are specialists in love, fear and joy. But we must stop  assuming 
their knowledge of emotions beyond their grasp. Elsewhere in these  sections, 
Bradshaw tackles the question: "Does your dog love you?""
This follows from the previous:
"Do you love yourself?"
"The answer is yes: probably even more than you think. Dogs are profoundly  
attached to their owners, and this love --  a term Bradshaw happily  uses 
-- is often at the root of their apparent misbehaviour."
What _is_ the 'behaviour' that defines 'love'. And what is the 'family  
resemblance' of 'love'. Love qua verb. Qua volitive verb, 'love' relates to  
'desiderative' verbs. "I love to go". "I love Mary" seems like a different  
_animal_. So here we would need a linguistic phenomenology of "love" as it  
applies first to Homo sapiens sapiens, and then provide some clues as to the 
use  of "...loves..." (in '...loves x', "...loves to...", etc.) as it applies 
to your  family and other animals.
"For example, dogs not properly trained to understand that when we leave we 
 will return can be plunged into the depths of anxiety when we are not  
This IS a good point. Of course, a country gentleman should not worry about 
 that. It's MODERN life in the city that can bring such stress to dogs. If 
there  is someone to take care of the dog while the gentleman is away, I 
would not  think he (the dog) will be plunged into the depths of anxiety.

"Bradshaw estimates that up to 20% of dogs suffer from  "separation 
distress" when left alone at home."
---- Again, not a problem for the Duchess of Devonshire, where her dogs run 
 all over the place, even when the country gentleman is giving away prizes 
to  pigs in the local market place (or attending the Flower Show at 
Chelsea). It's  that dogs GET bored when they are left at home that they get 
stress. Not  out of the 'separation', bit. I would expect. There may be a 
counterexample to  this, in that a dog may be just HAPPY when owner returns 
if not much fun is  hence generated.

"Most people can probably intuit that human progress has cut many dogs  off 
from the activities that previously gave their lives meaning."
We are treading Monty Python's territory here: 'the meaning of life'  (of a 
"Life" and "love" are, I think, incidentally, related. Not such thing in  
the Romance lingos! 

"Anyone who has spent time with a border collie will know that  their 
boundless desire to herd everything from pushchairs to small children  betokens 
something of a behavioural hangover."
--- this point about a relic or vestige or atavism is an interesting one,  
and it applies specially to DOGS since each breed was created for a 
particular  purpose in mind. Herding was perhaps the most common. But by the 
token, one  can detect 'fox terriers' atavic gestures in fox terriers, or -- 
the ability to  look at you as if you were a Pekinese emperor in the case of 
Pekinese -- who  were created to look at the Pekinese emperors.
"And Bradshaw's arguments against pedigree breeding play into an existing  
public debate (breeds heading for extinction due to the demand for 
perfection).  His sober argument finds an unlikely echo in Jan Bondeson's 
bewildering  volume Amazing Dogs (Amberley Publishing, £20). An eccentric romp 
through canine  history, it nevertheless shares the same thesis: dogs are 
poorly served by our  misunderstanding of them."
How can misunderstanding do otherwise? I should rewrite that.

"This is made clear in his chapters on the glum history of  "canine 
intellectuals", who wowed 19th-century crowds around Europe with their  
skills  from poetry to arithmetic to clairvoyance. Elsewhere he  celebrates 
the true over-achievers from canine history: Shakespearean actors,  
charity-collectors, and dogs whose loyalty resulted in years-long graveside  
for their dead masters."
Notably in Scotland, as we all know -- and one case of this dog whose owner 
 threw to the Thames but was able to survive and get home to the despair of 
his  wicked owner.
And so on.
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