Current thinking about human beings is dominated by the assumption that, at bottom, humans are 'just' animals and that we can look to the animal kingdom to explain much of human behaviour. These views need to be challenged because they are not only profoundly wrong about humanity but also potentially dangerous, justifying cynicism and pessimism about the future. Helene Guldberg's proposal for her book Just Another Ape seems to me precisely what is needed to issue this challenge. The scope of the proposed book suggests that it will amount to a serious assault on received ideas that have token hold in both academe and popular thought. --Professor Raymond Tallis
For several decades a 'chimps are us' movement has been gathering steam in science and the media. It is part of a wider tendency that 'bambifies' wild animal species and denigrates human nature out of collective guilt for the perception that we are ruining our planet. In this timely, no-nonsense riposte, Helene Guldberg firmly disposes of the notion that humans are scarcely more than chimps with a genetic and cognitive tweak, torpedoes the argument that chimpanzees qualify for human rights, and provides a ringing endorsement for the idea much vilified of late of human cultural and cognitive uniqueness. An essential antidote to our narcissistic over-identification with our fellow apes. --Jeremy Taylor, author of Not a Chimp
Helene Guldberg has done us all a favour in this lucid account of the many failings and false premises of the protracted research programme to demonstrate the intellectual continuity between ourselves and our primate cousins --James Le Fanu, author of Why Us?: How Science Rediscovered the Mystery of Ourselves
About the Author
Dr Helene Guldberg is co-founder and director of spiked, the first custom-built online current affairs publication in the UK. She is author of Reclaiming Childhood and teaches developmental psychology with the Open University and the US study abroad centre, CAPA.