BASC_201_-_Lecture_15_(Feb_21_-_Prof._Abouheif) - Thursday,...

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Thursday, February 21, 2008 (BASC 201: Lecture 15) Prof. Abouheif Ants & the Politics of War - Underlying question: Does war have a biological basis? - Humans and War o As long as modern humans have existed, they have engaged in some sort of warfare o Standford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy: War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities Meaning of ‘actual’ is referring to the act of war Have the intention of war, and the idea that it is widespread o The onset of war requires a conscious commitment, and a significant mobilization, on the part of the belligerents in question o Philosopher of war, Carl von Clausewitz famously suggested that war is the continuation of policy by other means i.e. war is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will (our will, meaning our governance) o He claimed that war is the intentional use of mass force to resolve disputes over governance o Ultimately, war is profoundly anthropological : it is about which group of people gets to say what goes on a given territory - Is war really anthropological? Is it really something confined to just humans – or does it have a biological basis; a social phenomenon - Ants in particular are arguably the most aggressive and war like of all animals. They far exceed human beings in organized nastiness; our species is by comparison gentle and sweet-tempered. The foreign policy aim of ants can be summed up as follows: restless aggression, territorial conquest, and genocide annihilation of neighbouring colonies whenever possible. If ants have nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week ” – Holldobbler & Wilson, Journey to the Ants - Ants have human properties – they have the act of war, tactics, surveillance, propaganda, foreign policy, and slavery
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Thursday, February 21, 2008 (BASC 201: Lecture 15) Prof. Abouheif - Why ants? o Ants belong to a single family called Formicda , and are essentially derived forms of wasps o originated about 115-135 MYA o about 15 thousands known ants species o They are the most socially complex animals after humans Compared to honey bees, where social order is also observed: ants have evolved many different kinds of social behaviours Ants work for the good of the colony – not just for self survival o They are ecological dominant o Ants compose one-third of insect biomass globally o Ant biomass in Brazilian Amazon is 4X greater than all vertebras put together - Photographs of (1) a winged ant, (2) leaf cutter ants in Arizona, (3) queen ant surrounded by a bunch of males: o Ants have to fly to disperse – all their mating takes place in the air o Queen mates with multiple males, and after she has mated, she
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course BASC 201 taught by Professor Lefebvre during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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BASC_201_-_Lecture_15_(Feb_21_-_Prof._Abouheif) - Thursday,...

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