By CLAUDE ALVAREZ
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Additional resources for DECOLONIZING HISTORY: TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE IN INDIA, CHINA AND THE WEST, 1492 TO THE PRESENT DAY
Have made far more radical innovations in the fabrication of containers, with their intricate nests and bowers, their geometric beehives, their urbanoid anthills, and termitaries, their beaver lodges, than man’s ancestors had achieved in the making of tools until the emergence of homo sapiens. In short, if technical proficiency alone were sufficient to identify and foster intelligence, man was for long a dullard, compared with many other species. (3) The point that Mumford is making here (and one which Johan Huizinga also made) is that the narrow description of homo faber does not immediately serve to distinguish man from animal, from animal faber.
The second element of Kwee’s homo faber model concerns technology, and as with the first, Kwee discusses this issue by distinguishing animal technical capacity from human technological possibility. He writes, for example: This important difference between the internal, genetically and instinctually programmed blueprint available to animals and the external, blueprint programmed by men through social communication and consensus connects with another fundamental difference, namely, that between the organic, bodily specialization of animals and the organizational and technical instrumentality available to man.
On the other hand, homo equalis for example, may be considered a perfect sample of a particularized philosophical anthropology (in this case, Western), simply because in another philosophical anthropology, that of India, precisely the opposite characterization of man obtains, based on reverse assumptions, and which Louis Dumont bas termed homo hierarchus. Anyone who sets out to apply the qualities of homo equalis to his understanding of Indian man is then automatically betraying his ethnocentrism.