Re: Why Not a Planet Of The Apes?

Carl Feynman (
Tue, 10 Jun 1997 17:05:50 -0400

At 12:37 PM 6/10/97 -0700, Robin Hanson wrote:
>Eric Watt Forste replied:
>>If this is what you meant by domesticate, then your project sounds
>>extremely ambitious to me, considering how many undomesticated members
>>of the primate species H. sapiens sapiens we still have to worry about.
>To explain better, what I meant by "domestication" includes both what
>you don't like, essentially slavery, and what you do, free economic
>agents. Either condition would be better for them than extinction.

The 'them' in your last sentence refers to the species as a collective.
Consider what the extinction/employment choice looks like to an individual
ape: a risky life in the wild, leading perhaps to producing less than two
offspring, versus life in a factory assembling toilet brushes. Any
reasonable ape would prefer the former. Since I don't believe in oppresing
individuals for the good of the species, I don't think your argument has
moral force.

On the other hand, I don't extend the full spectrum of human rights to
nonhuman apes, so if you want to oppress apes, it's probably OK by me. Just
don't argue that it's for their own good.