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What Differentiates Humans From Other Animals

jat93
Posts: 1,440
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10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Here's the way I see it.

Insects concern themselves, throughout their existences, with the most basic essentials. Survival and reproduction.

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals? Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing? Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?
baggins
Posts: 855
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10/15/2012 12:50:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM, jat93 wrote:
Here's the way I see it.

Insects concern themselves, throughout their existences, with the most basic essentials. Survival and reproduction.

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals? Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing? Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?

IMO, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.
The Holy Quran 29:19-20

See they not how Allah originates creation, then repeats it: truly that is easy for Allah.

Say: "Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things.
Zaradi
Posts: 14,125
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10/15/2012 12:56:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Sentience for one. Moral culpability for two. Ability to distinguish between right and wrong for three.
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CrazyPerson
Posts: 1,114
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10/15/2012 1:29:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM, jat93 wrote:
Here's the way I see it.

Insects concern themselves, throughout their existences, with the most basic essentials. Survival and reproduction.

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.


No, just because they react to stimuli doesn't mean that they understand any of it. I can poke an insect and it will scurry off but that doesn't mean it understands what's happening.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

This is really just an assumption that both technology and communication is more advanced or sophisticated than the way animals live their lives. It's easy to differentiate the differences between animals and humans, when humans make all the definitions by which to describe such observations by...

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals? Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing? Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?

We don't know.
But we try to pretend, you see, that the external world exists altogether independently of us.
- - - Watts
The moralist is the person who tells people that they ought to be unselfish, when they still feel like egos, and his efforts are always and invariably futile.
- - - Watts
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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10/15/2012 1:58:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM, jat93 wrote:
Here's the way I see it.

Insects concern themselves, throughout their existences, with the most basic essentials. Survival and reproduction.

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals? Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing? Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?

Human's are just a species of apes. All species have attributes that differentiate one from another. Some of the attributes humans have that differentiate us from other animals, such as language and complex cognition, are unsurprisingly of great value to us but are (for the most part) just the result of more neurons.

It seems that we are wired to see ourselves as distict from every other animal, or it could be that culture and civilisation exaggerates this intuition. However, there is no reason to believe that humans have some mysterious essence that no other animal has.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
revdox
Posts: 11
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10/16/2012 4:42:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM, jat93 wrote:

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.

We do not know if they are only reacting to stimuli or if hey truly understand the concepts you are attributing to them. They do seem to be able to learn right from wrong as well as other games with in their physical capability.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

True humans and some primates have developed tools based on need and wants. However we can not honestly say that our language is more sophisticated than other animals. We are learning more every day about what other animals are capable of. We at this time have very little understanding of how other animals communicate.

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals?

At this time there does not seem to be.

Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing?

Other than through our form of communication and our physical make up we have taken tool creation to farther heights than other animals, no.

Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?

In short yes. What I mean by that is that some people have faith that there is more than what science can and or will ever see. Personally I think the only thing that makes us different from other animals is that we waist time on thinking about the absurdity of existence and so on. It is a matter of priorities. If the animals had the capability to develop this amount of free time they may waist their time in a similar fashion. However we do not know.
MrBrooks
Posts: 831
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10/16/2012 6:40:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Humans have an ability to form rational thoughts, and they also have the free will to act against their animal instinct. Animals cannot do either.
revdox
Posts: 11
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10/16/2012 6:59:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/16/2012 6:40:12 PM, MrBrooks wrote:
Humans have an ability to form rational thoughts, and they also have the free will to act against their animal instinct. Animals cannot do either.

What do you consider rational thought. What if I could show you evidence that animals can think in cause and affect. That they can also demonstrate abstract thought such as humor. Animals can be taught to go against their instinct just as we are. We do not go against it naturally. We are taught not to hit, to share, to tell the truth, ect.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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10/16/2012 7:51:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/15/2012 12:50:26 PM, baggins wrote:
At 10/15/2012 9:50:40 AM, jat93 wrote:
Here's the way I see it.

Insects concern themselves, throughout their existences, with the most basic essentials. Survival and reproduction.

For more developed animals, with bigger and more developed brains - examples would be dogs, cats, cows, dolphins - they concern themselves with survival and reproduction but they can also have certain interests, they understand the concepts of feeling pleasure and pain and that pleasure is good and pain is bad. They are more capable of having loving relationships with other animals, in which they give and receive love and as a result they benefit from the relationship in that they feel happier.

Humans and perhaps some of our primate cousins as well are even more advanced, in that they encompass all the abilities previously mentioned which apply to all other animals, but they can also 1) make tools based on needs and wants (technology) 2) devise, learn, and speak sophisticated language to even better express our thoughts and feelings. That, I think, is basically what differentiate us from other animals.

However, here's my question. Is there something more to the human spirit that differentiates us from other animals? Is there something unique to humanity that I'm missing? Throughout history, people have referred to that unexplainable unique something as the soul, or the spirit. In the modern scientific age some people refer to it as the mind. Is there anything to it beyond the mere ability to fashion tools and engage in linguistic communication? Something science has yet to discover, or something science will never be able to discover? In short, what is the essence of mankind, that gives us the ability to reflect, to truly empathize, to consider the absurdity of existence, and so on? Or is there simply nothing to it, and we're just primates who happen to be able to fashion tools and speak languages and thus formulate our thoughts, and if other animals could somehow do the same thing, this is more or less what it would look like?

IMO, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

The Fool: And so what is the distinction about Right and wrong are you referring too.?
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL