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Title: Some aspects of anthropomorphism in the terminology and philosophy underlying Western and Japanese studies of the social behaviour of non-human primates
Author: Asquith, Pamela J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 0347
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1981
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This study investigates how anthropomorphism arises in Western and Japanese reports of non-human primate behaviour. Chapter 1 introduces the study and notes that differences in recording styles and incidence of anthropomorphism in Western and Japanese reports led to the thesis that the basis for anthropomorphism differed between the two groups. In Western studies it was found necessary to inquire into philosophical aspects of language use. In Japanese studies the inquiry centred on evidence for the retention of traditional attitudes to nature. Part One focuses on the basis for anthropomorphism in Western studies. Chapter 2 discusses the intellectual basis for the deeply ingrained belief in the West in the separateness of man and animals. The more immediate intellectual background to Western primate studies is traced in chapter 3 through the development of comparative psychology and ethology and then of primatology itself. A more precise formulation of the Western inquiry is developed in chapter h through discussion of ordinary language, distinction between categories of anthropomorphism and between the notions of a subjective approach to study and the ascription of human subjective experiences to animals. Cognitive ethology is briefly described. Chapter 5> identifies the characteristic of language use that gives rise to anthropomorphism as metaphor. Part Two focuses on Japanese studies. Japan had no tradition of objective science and Western science was imported to Japan. This section develops the argument that Western science was adapted to existing Japanese thought and that a traditional intuitive approach to nature and feeling of unity with animals was retained. The development of Japanese primate studies and evidence for the acceptability of anthropomorphism to Japanese primatologists are presented in chapter 6. Certain basic ideas of traditional Japanese views are outlined in chapter 7. The effects of the first small-scale importation of Western science on the Neo-Confucian precepts of Tokugawa Japan are traced in chapter 8. The way in which especially biology was understood in the subsequent major importation of science to Meiji Japan is examined in chapter 9. The methodology of the Japanese primatologists is examined in chapter 10 and newly translated material showing the application of traditional Japanese thought to primatology is presented. Other new material on the origins of the focus on personality and culture in monkey groups is given. The application of traditional Japanese ideas of nature to their methodology and the use of a socioanthropological framework for explanation of observed behaviour is seen to be compatible with anthropomorphism in the Japanese studies. Chapter 11 summarizes the course of the study and discusses what conclusions may be drawn.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropomorphism ; Primates ; Behavior ; Terminology ; Social behavior in animals