[lit-ideas] Re: Every dogma has its day

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 18:25:58 -0700


Taking up your " . . .  He indeed claims that evolution in homo sapiens
sapiens (he sometimes drops the necessary second 'sapiens') . . .":  There
is indeed the theory that homo Neanderthalis should be designated Homo
Sapiens Neanderthalis because he preceded Homo Sapiens Sapiens in the
evolutionary tree.  This theory demands the interbreeding of Homo Sapiens
Sapiens and Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis with the former eventually surviving
through natural selection.  

The second theory; which is the one I hold (for want of a convincing
argument to the contrary) is that Homo Sapiens in conflict with Homo
Neanderthalis defeated him and drove him along with the many species he
hunted into oblivion (extinction).   

Here are two discussions of the two theories:
http://www.pnas.org/content/96/13/7117.long and

The theory you present as "necessary" may eventually turn out to be the true
one, but unless you are privy to later research than that represented by my
two references, it isn't at this point "necessary."   Since both theories
are being held by reputable anthropologists it would seem that both
expressions, "homo sapiens" and "homo sapiens sapiens" ought to be
permitted, and, until some proof can be produced indicating an evolutionary
transition from Homo Neanderthalis to Homo Sapiens, I shall stick to the
more venerable "homo sapiens."

As to Bradshaw's book & Fox's review, why, I wonder, do they separate the
dog's "true" nature from "man's" true nature?  The latter is at least as
difficult to define.  Are these natures the ones Homo Sapiens and Canis
Familiaris shared throughout the longest period of their association, i.e.,
in a hunter-gatherer society?  I am inclined to think this is the safest
guess.  We are both malleable enough to leave our hunter-gatherer
arrangement and enter villages, towns and cities.  Maybe we humans have made
a healthy adjustment but I am inclined to think that we haven't, and we
should at least recognize that these bodies we were born with were designed
(through evolution) to hunt and gather and we did that for about 188,000
years (plus or minus a large number).  We have forced them to farm and live
in cities for a tiny period of time, less than 12,000 years.  Have our
hunter-gatherer bodies adjusted?  I doubt it.

Also, according to mitochondrial research, Canis Familiaris has existed for
about the same length of time (plus or minus a large number) as Homo
Sapiens; which means that by definition he has existed in association with
homo sapiens contributing his skills to the hunting and gathering

Is there a psychological benefit to taking our dogs out hunting and
gathering?  I am inclined to think (or at least feel good about thinking)
that there is.  In one of the photos I posted in "The Twa Corbies," you can
see Ginger and Sage staring down from a dirt road into the brush.  There are
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.  

How did she do that?  By walking along toward the brush and looking up at
me, urging me to go down there with her, but I said, "No, don't give me a
bad time.  Come up here with us."  And after a few moments she did.  I don't
use any obedience methods I've ever heard of.  We just hike along, quite
sure that putting one foot in front of the other is exactly what our
forebears did for about 188,000 years.



-----Original Message-----
From:  Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 4:33 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Every dogma has its day

With pleasure

In a message dated 7/12/2011 6:43:48  P.M. , donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx

It's odd that McEvoy fails to add that the name of the reviewer, from the
"Guardian", of all papers, is "Fox".
Continuing with his pun on 'dog', 'dogma' -- cfr. title of the book under
review, "In defense of a dog", and Grice, "In defense of a dogma". "Count to
me  rally to the defense of the underdogma", Grice would say.
McEvoy adds without mentioning that
"Every dog has its day; and mine has been a fine one -- so far" is by
Borrow, "Lavengro".

"And the day of the dogma that dogs seek alpha or dominant status, or  the
dogma that they have complex emotions like guilt, may be slowly  passing:-
_http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/_ (http://www.guardianbookshop.co.uk/)

"A  Guardian review there begins."
My comments on Fox's sly way with words:
"If you were a dog just over 100 years ago,"
This is possibly otiose. Journalists should NOT be allowed (red: forbidden)
to use words like 'you'. Scott is learning the game. His latest review for
"Horrible bosses" with Jennifer Aniston goes, "Language: Rude enough to get
you  (at least me) into trouble".
I am not a dog. Perhaps Fox thinks he can be.
"life would have been simple."
Oddly, 'simple' is cognate with "implicature".
"implicature" -- from Latin, 'in--', emphatic. "plicature". 
"sim-ple" -- from Latin, sim-plicature.
cfr. Simplicity and implicity.
or complexature and implicature, if you mustn't.
As Geary notes, 
"Happy?" ("cfr. simple life"). "Pigs are happy."
"You would likely have been gainfully employed perhaps hunting, herding or
guarding and provided you did your job, your owners would have accepted that
you  were sometimes messy, loud or unpredictable."

Helm knows about this. He indeed claims that evolution in homo sapiens
sapiens (he sometimes drops the necessary second 'sapiens') is co-variant
with 'canis familiaris'. But surely before canis familiaris was, if not the
fox (whose place in evolution is rather otiose) -- the wolf. Note that a
common  element in European (if not Japanese) mythology is the werewolf. A
dog trained  outside captivity becomes a wolf.
If people say, "the cats", the wild cats, etc. to refer to such disparate
things as tiger, lion, panther, we should allow people to say 'the wild
dogs' to  refer to hyaenas, and wolfes, and foxes, of course (_pace_ Fox).
Fox continues:
"Most dogs today are never expected to work, even though they are often
still tuned into functions their breed has fulfilled for thousands of
This is plenoastic. What function is the Yorkie supposed to perform. Catch
mice? What when mice are ALL eaten? Some breeds are more functional than
others.  Fox terriers, for example, have a connection to _terra_; setters
set, and the  Italian grey hound catches hares (only, in Italian) -- hence
his blue colour.  Grice's example, in "Conception of value" is
The old English sheepdog.
He gives this example as 'relative value'. The very name, 'sheepdog'  
supposes (or implicates) a submission of the breed to a _task_ that a human
values, only. He pets his dog for his sheepherding ability. Fox's sly
"Instead, they are expected to behave like small children, yet be as
independent as adults."
------ I should rewrite that.
"To make things worse, our culture is awash with myths that prevent dogs
being properly understood,"
McEvoy is right in making a point about the use of 'understand' in this
context. Oddly, in slang, 'understanding' is LEG. "She has beautiful
understandings". So one has to be careful. "Limb", for "leg" is a
Victorianism  that does not translate to Finnish.
"in particular, the enduring idea that they harbour a powerful desire to
dominate their family pack. Put simply: dogs are on the brink of a crisis. 
And  as we have put them there, it is our responsibility to help them.""
Fox should consider animal right. I agree there is a co-responsibility. But
I'm sure the issue is so complicated that it does not belong in "Guardian".
Now, for McEvoy's commentary:

"What the various research means for a 'doggie World 3', or even canine
grasp of human World 3 products [like human language], is arguably"
---- I'm not sure what McEvoy means by 'research'. He is of course a
Popperian (while I'm a Gricean, so I can't care less (or more) for
I can't see what research has to do with _stuff_.
"that there is no canine equivalent of World 3"
By the same token, dogs are not important because there is no canine
equivalent of 'conversational implicature'. The zoology should not be
refuted as it fails to match the conception of a philosopher, I say.
"and they do not grasp the abstract content of human language higher than
its expressive and signalling functions [of which they have a sometimes
acute if  partial grasp]."
By the same token, many small children and independent adults don't either. 
 Grice claims that there is NOTHING *over* and *above* what McEvoy
ironically  refers to this 'acute partial grasp' of such excellent thing as
the 'signalling'  function is.
There is nothing to language (or lingo, as I prefer) but signalling.
Grice discovered this when he philosophised on verbs like
'segnare' (or Latin, 'signare')
or Latin, 'significare'.

Those spots signify measles
was his example. But spots, while they signal, only signal in front of a
human being. Hence, language trades on this signalling function of iconicity
and  transplants it to higher reaches -- e.g. implicature.
"dogs do not grasp the power of human language to describe or to argue, and
their own 'language' lacks these functions. And if they do, they should
describe  what they were feeling when they made mess and argue the case for
it, and not  just skulk crypto-guilty. Discuss."
Indeed, the point of BUYING (let alone owning) a book, "In defense of my
dog" is otiose.
Oddly, 'dog' is not QUITE English. It should be 'hound' (as in German,
'hund') which describes what the dog does best. Note that female hund (Old
English bicc) has acquired such circumstantial implicatures to make of the
epithet one of the most otiose ones in American speech.

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