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HUM4 Week 2 Notes

by: Elizabeth P.

HUM4 Week 2 Notes HUM4

Elizabeth P.
GPA 3.5

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These notes cover material from week 2 of Animals and Human Culture. They summarize the first two readings of We are All Completely Beside Ourselves (up to page 209) and they cover the lecture mate...
Animals and Human Culture
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth P. on Friday April 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HUM4 at University of California - Davis taught by Ziser in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Animals and Human Culture in Arts and Humanities at University of California - Davis.


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Date Created: 04/01/16
HUM4 Week 2 Notes Reading #1, up to page 103 Rose (Rosemary), our main characters, begins her story in the middle, during her time as a student at UC Davis. She is an upperclassman, living in an apartment with her roommate, Todd. Through a series of hectic events and a night in jail, she befriends another girl named Harlow, who remains one of her closet companions throughout the story. She gives us great insight into the dynamics of her family up to that point in time. Her father is a psychologist, her mother has spent time in an emotionally depressed state but is now working for Planned Parenthood and her brother Lowell, has been missing in action for quite a number of years just as her sister, Fern, has. Rose then returns to the very early years in her life during which we learn that Fern was a chimpanzee and that Rose’s family was conducting an experiment similar to Project Nim and to the Kellogg study. We hear several detailed memories of Rose’s time with Fern and learn that Rose truly regarded her as a sibling. In the last chapter of this section of reading we are left with several of Rose’s father’s conclusions about the experiment. 1. Don’t “confuse language with communication when they are two very different things. Language is more than just words, it is the order of words and the way one word inflects another.” 2. Umwelt is the specific way each particular organism experiences the world. 3. The stated purpose of the experiment was to compare and contrast developing abilities, linguistic and otherwise. 4. Eventually the purpose was to determine how well Fern could communicate with Rose, rather than how well Fern could communicate with humans. 5. Fern believed she was human. The neural system of a young brain develops partly by monitoring the brains around it. 6. Humans are much more imitative than the other apes which leads to superiority in being thoughtful and efficient. 7. Uncanny valley response: the human aversion to things that look almost but not quite like people. Reading #2, up to page 209 This section of reading shines light onto the journeys of both Lowell and Fern. Rose spends quite a deal of time discussing her brother’s mischief as a teenager as well as her intimate connection with Fern. She describes how Lowell was a star baseketball player and was accepted to Brown University, but disappeared one night. Although the family elicited help from the police and private investigators, no one could find Lowell and they eventually gave up. Rose also describes how Fern was suddenly removed from the home, how she woke up in a new and strange house and how the graduate students assisting with study were never a part of her life ever again. Part way through this section, Lowell mysteriously turns up in Davis and brother and sister spend a night at a café catching up. We learn that Lowell has spent the last several years both in search of Fern and fighting for animal rights. He describes the facility that he broke into, in which Fern was being kept. When he finally found her, Fern fiercely protected him from another alpha male chimp that was in her cage. Employees quickly found Lowell and threw him out and we are left with the fact that he never saw her again. Tuesday 4/5/16 Lecture Notes Of Men and Monkeys “We must contemplate the shared ground of our common biological being before emphasizing the differences” –Gary Snyder I.The Human-Animal Spectrum (Discontinuism vs. Continuism) A. Plato 1. Man is defined by reason, which is allied with his immaterial soul rather than his material body (the human is absolutely different from the animal), discontinuist thinking a. Led to religious thinking in the same way B. Aristotle 1. man is defined by reason but this is a function of his biological being and not by something otherworldly, continuist thinking a. Inspired scientists II. Charles Darwin: The Descent of Man A. Stated that humans share evolutionary history and are in fact descendents of animals ,“man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin”, was mocked by some III. Language and the Self A. Jacques Lacan: “the unconscious is structured like a language” a. Structure is very mathematical B. How do we talk about the animal when they don’t posses language? How do we compare? C. Self Through Image a. Humans posses self before animals do, can recognize their own image in a mirror before chimps can, Kohler argues this is essential in intelligence IV. Kohler Chimps (Sultan Making a Double Stick/Grande building a 4 story structure) a. chimps are capable of making intellectual leaps b. using water as a tool even though is has no definite shape c. Lacan’s Response to Kohler: distinction between internal experience and external reality d. Kohler discovered that chimps also recognize themselves e. Interesting that they had a permanent interest in the mirrors even though the reflections provided no tangible benefit to them V. Language a. honey bees have a rudimentary form of symbolic communication that fulfills many of the requirements for language b. parrots can learn over 100 different vocalizations c. starlings possess recursive grammar d. Washoe showed language inflection, ability to ask questions, signs to herself when others aren’t there e. are they unable to communicate or are we unable to understand Other distinctions between animals and humans Ability to life, use of fire, opposable thumbs/dexterous hands, pretentiousness By all of these standards, the child inevitably falls into the category of the animal (cannot speak and is uncoordinated) and therefore language acquisition and adolescence become about the passage from the animal child to the human adult


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