Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity

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Who are the Great Apes? They are chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans, and, according to co-editors Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer, and a distinguished group of international contributors, they are persons. Yes, persons, capable of reflections, emotions, joy, as well as, all too often, pain. On the other hand, as one of this book's contributors, Richard Dawkins, has written, while we admit that we are like apes, "we seldom realize that we are apes." With such assertions throughout, it is no wonder that The Great ...
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Overview

Who are the Great Apes? They are chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans, and, according to co-editors Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer, and a distinguished group of international contributors, they are persons. Yes, persons, capable of reflections, emotions, joy, as well as, all too often, pain. On the other hand, as one of this book's contributors, Richard Dawkins, has written, while we admit that we are like apes, "we seldom realize that we are apes." With such assertions throughout, it is no wonder that The Great Ape Project has been embroiled in controversy even before its American publication. Beginning with the "Declaration on Great Apes," a scientific and moral call to arms modeled after the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, The Great Ape Project, both as a book and as a political manifesto, unequivocally states its primary goals: to ensure "The Right to Life," "The Protection of Individual Liberty," and "The Prohibition of Torture" to every nonhuman great ape. In fact, The Great Ape Project looks forward to a new stage in the development of the community of equals, whereby chimpanzees, gorillas, and orang-utans will actually receive many of the same protections and rights that are already accorded, although so often abrogated, to man. Thirty-four authors from nine different countries each write from the perspective of his or her own experience about the great apes. The authors include celebrated observers of free-living apes: Jane Goodall, Adriaan Kortlandt, and Toshisada Nishida (and a more unusual observer of our galaxy, Douglas Adams). Other scientists describe extraordinary conversations with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orang-utans, which have been carried out in sign language over dozens of years. Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, and Jared Diamond, author of The Third Chimpanzee, explain how closely related we are to the other apes, while anthropologists and a biologist question the divide we place between ourselves and the other g
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The publication of this volume kicks off the Great Ape Project, a worldwide effort to extend the rights commonly afforded humans to chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Proponents of the project would accord the rights to life, protection of individual liberty and prohibition of torture to all of these creatures. Singer ( Animal Liberation ) and freelance writer Cavalieri present 30 essays that make a persuasive case for equal rights. Contributors include field biologists, psychologists, lawyers, philosophers and anthropologists. Bernard Rollins, who teaches at Colorado State, where he developed the first college course in veterinary ethics and animal rights, suggests that the first step is to prohibit the importing of apes for zoos, entertainment or research. Other contributors are Jane Goodall, Roger and Deborah Fouts and Harlan Miller. As presented here, this revolutionary and controversial idea merits consideration. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Proclaiming ``the extension of the community of equals'' of human beings to include chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, this book presents ``A Declaration on Great Apes,'' demanding the right to life, the protection of individual liberty, and the prohibition of torture. Thirty scientists, philosophers, and others contribute essays supporting this position. The most interesting essays explore the behavioral, genetic, and evolutionary links among the great apes, including humans, even expressing a view of man as ``the third chimpanzee.'' The ethical articles are more abstract and redundant; this reviewer wanted less philosophy and more information on the practical ramifications of extending moral and legal equality to great apes. A heart-rending account of chimps in roadside zoos made me impatient with the overall theoretical tone. For academic and larger public library collections.-- Beth Clewis, Prince William P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312104733
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Preface 1
A Declaration on Great Apes 4
I Encounters with Free-living Apes
1 Chimpanzees - Bridging the Gap 10
2 Meeting a Gorilla 19
3 Chimpanzees Are Always New to Me 24
II Conversations with Apes
4 Chimpanzees' Use of Sign Language 28
5 Language and the Orang-utan: The Old 'Person' of the Forest 42
6 The Case for the Personhood of Gorillas 58
III Similarity and Difference
7 Gaps in the Mind 80
8 The Third Chimpanzee 88
9 Common Sense, Cognitive Ethology and Evolution 102
10 What's in a Classification? 109
11 Apes and the Idea of Kindred 113
12 Ambiguous Apes 126
13 Spirits Dressed in Furs? 137
IV Ethics
14 Apes, Humans, Aliens, Vampires and Robots 146
15 Why Darwinians Should Support Equal Treatment for Other Apes 152
16 Profoundly Intellectually Disabled Humans and the Great Apes: A Comparison 158
17 Who's Like Us? 173
18 A Basis for (Interspecies) Equality 183
19 Ill-gotten Gains 194
20 The Ascent of Apes - Broadening the Moral Community 206
21 Sentientism 220
22 Great Apes and the Human Resistance to Equality 223
V Apes as Persons
23 The Wahokies 230
24 Humans, Nonhumans and Personhood 237
25 Personhood, Property and Legal Competence 248
26 Great Apes as Anthropological Subjects - Deconstructing Anthropocentrism 258
27 Aping Persons - Pro and Con 269
VI Reality
28 Items of Property 280
29 The Chimp Farm 291
30 They Are Us 296
VII Epilogue
The Great Ape Project - and Beyond 304
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