The Metaphysics of Apes, first published in 2005, 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, a central idea and value in the West, was, and to some extent still is, centrally on the minds of taxonomists, ethnologists, primatologists, and archaeologists. It has guided their research to a considerable extent. The basic presupposition was that humans are not entirely part of nature but, as symbolizing minds and as moral persons, transcend nature. This book was the first to offer an anthropological analysis of the burgeoning anthropological disciplines in terms of their own cultural taboos and philosophical preconceptions.
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(228mm x 152mm x 14mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Raymond H.A. Corbey
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).