ABSTRACT

Humans and baboons are both social primates who make a living by living together in complex, highly organized societies, societies in which individuals occupy, synchronically and diachronically, a variety of differentiated social roles. To say that these primate societies are ‘highly organized’ is to say that the various roles occupied by individuals within these societies form holistic functional systems that (when all the individuals occupying these roles perform the roles adequately) provide the individuals in the society with the means of their subsistence. In order to live this style of life both individual humans and individual baboons must be capable of acting in various ways in relation to others in the society, as a function of the roles of those others, because they ought to act in those ways, given the kind of role that they and the other occupy. To live in a human society a human must be capable of, for example, actually acting as a professor ought to act when she is in a position in which she ought to act as a professor, because she is a professor. Similarly, to live in a baboon society an individual baboon must be capable of, for example, actually acting as a subordinate ought to act when she is in a position in which she ought to act as a subordinate, because she is a subordinate. 1 In this way, both humans and baboons are responsive to the non-instrumental norms of social role occupancy.