Before the Post-human: social insects, superior mammals and the (re)construction of boundaries between humans and animals in modernity

Hugo Ferreira

Abstract


http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/2175-8026.2017v70n2p15

The present article discusses the (re)construction of the boundaries between humans and animals along the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. In the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, the human being was viewed as fundamentally distinct from nature due to politics, society and work, and then usually compared to social insects. Along the Darwinian revolution in the nineteenth century and the phylogenetic classification of live beings, the human being was “primatized”, and humanity would be a consequence of the intelligence due to the high development of the nervous system. Nowadays, when one wants to question the boundaries between humans and animals, the lights are turned to other beings, such as chimpanzees and dolphins. In this sense, as a bibliographic review, this article aims to explore this historical contrast of comparison standards – from insect societies to “superior mammals” – as well, its political and bioethical consequences. 


Keywords


Nature-culture; Human Nature; Modernity; Social Anthropology; History of Sciences

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5007/2175-8026.2017v70n2p15

Copyright (c) 2017 Hugo Ferreira

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