Planet of the Apes and Philosophy: Great Apes Think Alike (Popular Culture and Philosophy)
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What makes humans different from other animals, what humans are entitled to do to other species, whether time travel is possible, what limits should be placed on science and technology, the morality and practicality of genetic engineering?these are just some of the philosophical problems raised by Planet of the Apes.
Planet of the Apes and Philosophy looks at all the deeper issues involved in the Planet of the Apes stories. It covers the entire franchise, from Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel Monkey Planet to the successful 2012 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The chapters reflect diverse points of view, philosophical, religious, and scientific.
The ethical relations of humans with animals are explored in several chapters, with entertaining and incisive observations on animal intelligence, animal rights, and human-animal interaction. Genetic engineering is changing humans, animals, and plants, raising new questions about the morality of such interventions. The scientific recognition that humans and chimps share 99 percent of their genes makes a future in which non-human animals acquire greater importance a distinct possibility.
Planet of the Apes is the most resonant of all scientific apocalypse myths.
do the task altogether until the grape is given rightfully and equally to both working parties. DeWaal’s recent TED talk entitled “Moral Behavior in Animals” reveals some delightful moments of these experiments and can be found on YouTube. Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens with “Bright Eyes” completing “the Lucas Tower,” which is modeled on a well-known and often-employed real psychological task called the Tower of Hanoi. Composed of three small poles and a series of discs of decreasing
research, most scientists either totally ignored the issue, or countered criticisms with emotional appeals to the health of children. For example, in one film entitled “Will I Be All Right, Doctor?” (the question asked by a frightened child), made by defenders of unrestricted research, the response was “Yes, if they leave us alone to do what we want with animals.” So unabashedly mawkish was the film, that when it was aired at a national meeting of laboratory animal veterinarians, whom you’d
treat an animal today, and his fellow astronaut Landon has his brain cut up by chimps just to see what makes him tick. Dr. Zaius even says of humanity that “the sooner he is exterminated, the better.” The apes generally limit their moral concerns to members of their own society. In this, they are like Plato, who designed his ideal city to benefit the city’s citizens with little thought about anyone else. Dr. Zaius’s views on the need to exterminate humans even echo Plato’s view that while fellow
desire for a unified theory of justice that described both what it is for a society to be just and what it is for a person to be just. Plato claimed that a person’s soul has three parts: reason, which supplies our rational abilities; spirit, which craves honor and victory; and appetite, which supplies our non-intellectual desires—our cravings for things like food, alcohol, sex, and material possessions. A person is just when these parts of the soul stand in the right relationship to one another.
here is N.N., whom I have known for years? Here a doubt would seem to drag everything with it and plunge it into chaos.” We can dismiss a man who says he slept last night on Pluto. Simian society on the Planet of the Apes cannot dismiss a stinking human who acts as though he is a simian—and can back it up with language and authority. He creates doubt that “would seem to drag everything with it and plunge it into chaos.” As for Moore, whose “capture” we will momentarily investigate, he was