Humans and Other Animals
by John A Dupre
John Dupre explores the ways in which we categorize animals, including humans, and comes to surprisingly radical conclusions. He opposes the idea ... Show synopsis John Dupre explores the ways in which we categorize animals, including humans, and comes to surprisingly radical conclusions. He opposes the idea that there is only one legitimate way of classifying things in the natural world, the 'scientific' way. The lesson we should learn from Darwin is to reject the idea that each organism has an essence that determines its necessary place in the unique hierarchy of things. Nature is not like that: it is not organized in a single system. There is no universal principle by which organisms can be sorted into species; still less is there any unique way of classifying kinds of humans. We are obliged to accept that different classificatory schemes are valid for different purposes, and therefore to take a pluralistic view of biology and the human sciences. These provocative and readable essays move on to discuss a set of contentious topics relating to human nature.