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Post-justifying Anthropocentrism

  1. Oct 10, 2003 #1
    Have you ever heard someone make a claim, and then when asked to justify it, the person takes a second to make up with something?

    If the person doesn't already know the justification, then what logical basis does the person having for believing the claim?

    Have you ever heard someone ask something like "What is it that makes us human?"? Often, the person asking isn't quite sure, and the other people around all agree that there is something that separates humans from all else, yet often can't put their finger on what that difference is.

    Now, if they aren't sure, what logical basis do they have for believing that there is such a difference, such a defining characterstic?

    I think that such thinking leads to many half-assed ideas (especially, but not only, in the case of anthropocentrism) that fall apart in the face of logical analysis. This is that rationalization defense mechanism that we all learn about in Psychology 101. It's a sad thing that leads to many injustices.

    If you don't have already have a justification for your belief before having it, you should question whether the belief itself is valid, instead of scrambling to come up with a justification...right?

    If you have such a belief about humans and a justification for it, you should ask yourself which came first. If the belief came first, then you should question the belief. If you have the belief and no justification, then you should question the belief.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2003 #2
    I believe humans are distinct from all other animals because it makes me feel good about myself to think of myself on some much grander level than an ape, and this is logical becuase it makes me feel good and feeling good is more important than anything else.
    Emotions are more important than the rational intellect, if this were not the case then people would all do what is perfectly rational or logical or selfless instead of what is emotional and of a selfcentered nature, what the majority of people believe is usually what counts and what is right so if I follow all the majority beliefs I can save myself a lot of time and effort and avoid the need to spend it on questions- Antilogic
     
  4. Oct 10, 2003 #3
    But what about others that may make feel bad in the process?

    Who said that logical is necessarily selfless?

    Actually, it is very frequent that what the majority believes is wrong. Following the majority beliefs can cause you a lot of hassle when you have to follow all the rules and traditions that are a part of those beliefs.


    If you spend your whole life relying on others to give you your answers, then people will definitely point you in a direction that is detrimental to you sooner or later. If you spend your whole life relying on others to give you your answers, then you will probably not be very good as a business commodity, unless you plan to work on an assembly line or something.

    Obviously, there has to be some amount of independent, logical thinking that you've done to get this far...so where do you draw the line?
     
  5. Oct 11, 2003 #4
    Dissident Dan,
    You make a good point, about having the ability to "back up what you dish out", so to speak. However, applying this policy all the time precludes any used of Devil's Advocate approach (or any approach that requires you to "bounce your ideas" off somebody else, to see how they hold up).

    In most cases this is fine, but no human being knows everything, and thus no human can look at something from every angle. Sometimes they need to "bounce the idea" off somebody else to get an insight on it that they would not have come up with on their own.
     
  6. Oct 11, 2003 #5
    Strickly speaking there are three basic differences in humans and the rest of the Animals, We (humans) can talk, We can use our thumb, and forefinger, to grasp better then any other critter, and we can rotate our wrists, without rotating our elbow...no other critter can do any of those three things.

    The most definitive of those three, that makes us what we are, (IMHO) is speech, and the complexity of our speech, inasmuch as it enables 'Idealisms' that, to the best of anyones knowledge, the rest of the animals do/can NOT indulge in.....we can, we do, we spend LOTS of time argueing about them, it (speech) was recognized by the 'First Nations' peoples, of North America, as a Power inasmuch as they recognized that NO other animal could talk, like us, hence they decided to NOT speak Needlessly (as to NOT abuse the Power that they had been given) which is somehting that has long gone from our present societies, and is probably the least recognised yet most obvious of the differences.

    It affords us access to our Collective History, and the Knowledge and learning thereof....apparently some animals have some very little access like that, but nothing in comparison to US!
     
  7. Oct 11, 2003 #6
    MRP, did you come up with that explanation first, or did you have a belief in human superiority or uniqueness first?

    1) Other animals have their own versions of vocal communication.
    2) We are not the only species with an opposable thumb.
    3) That is just falls. Other primates can rotate the wrist without rotating the elbow. Do you think that they'd be very good treeclimbers if they couldn't?

    Given that your justifications are false, you'd better re-think your belief.

    Firstly, other animals have vocal communication. Some animals' communicatin is obviously less advanced than our own, but that is only a difference of degree, not type. Also, there are animals whose vocal communication capacities we do not fully understand, so we can't exactly rule them out. Many limitations on the vocal capacities of animals are because of vocal chords, not mental processes. It is well-known that dogs recognize certain oral commands. It is well-documented that some primates can use sign language.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2003
  8. Oct 12, 2003 #7
    My answer is as simple as i once quoted to my friend who studies psychology.

    "The only things that separates humans from animals is humans."
     
  9. Oct 12, 2003 #8
     
  10. Oct 12, 2003 #9
    It is very easy to make a case out of the 0.1% that can be found planetarily, that are animals that are the "exceptions to the rule" of human speech/abilities. But that case is an arguementative study in linguistics, which is exactly what proves the case inasmuch as it is simple enough to prove me wrong, and you need use no words with me, simply tell it to any animal, and prove that it cognizently understands that your 'set of ideals' lines up more accurately with "The Truth" as presented by reality, then mine.

    On a program, on TV, I watched game wardens, in a park in Northern Canada, documenting the recovery rate, on a Northern River Bank that runs through that park, that had had Permitted campers, (No roads into this park, you need special permission to access it, and proof that you already Know how to behave therein) and they spotted a Moose, and the Moose spotted them. In the Filming of the Moose, you could tell that the Moose had 'Probably' never seen Humans Before, Looked at them with what seemed Curiousity (A subjective anthropomorphicism (sp?)) as it had absolutely NO idea that there are 5,999,999,999 more of them just South of there, it is as innocent of the knowledge of humanity as a new born babe, but it is older then that.

    That Park was a Gift to the People of Canada from the First Nations Peoples of Canada, that Moose is a National treasure, and he doesn't even know it..........a treasure of His innocence.

    Ivvavik
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2003
  11. Oct 12, 2003 #10
    It reminds me of something my mother said the other day, about how we celebrate Christopher Columbus Day for his discovery of America but really the Indians discoverd it long ago and South America and all Columbus did was discover it for European society so that they could float over and exploit another piece of land and people, but we aren't taught history that way and we aren't supposed to say those things in school even though it is a truer version because then we might have an unfavourable view of things.
    Once in awhile I catch myself doing just that, to find that most everything I know wasn't mine to begin with but only passively assimilated, but then usually one has to grow up a bit before they are capable of challenging authority, except very young children they haven't been told it's wrong yet. Most things over the years I find I only believed because everyone else did, not that everyone is wrong but that nobody is ever entirely right.
     
  12. Oct 13, 2003 #11
    Which is not first? The belief or the justification?


    So all that says is that we have the highest intelligence of animals with the physical ability to write and make hand signals, just as Nikola Tesla was more intelligent than William Jennings Bryan.

    There are primates than can apply much more force with their thumbs. All species have characteristics that differentiate them from other species. No other animal has the tusks that elephants have. etc.

    I just watched a video in which other primates were rotating their wrists..where do you get that from? Also, read response to #2.

    So, you are just accepting what everyone else tells you, rather than coming to your own conclusions? What do you mean by "do ideals"? Have you been inside the mind of another animal so that you have the authority to make such an assertion?

    I did not denigrate anything. I did not say anything that suggests that our capabilities are any lower than you think they are. I only demonstrated through examples that other animals have comparable, although not as advanced, capabilities. If you cannot handle that truth, don't blame me.

    Once again, all our superiority, but not monopoly, in language shows is that we are more intelligent than other animals, just as a 25-year-old human is more intelligent than a 5-year-old human...does that mean that there is some mystical difference between a 5-year-old human and a 25-year-old human?
     
  13. Oct 13, 2003 #12
    Most of the things pointed out are mere differences in degree, which is no justification for saying that humans are anything more than just another animal. We humans are better at the things that make us human, but those qualities do not make us different or better than other animals. I am a better guitarist than I am a football player, but it doesn't make me superior to or qualitatively different from an NFL player. Other animals are uniquely suited for their niche, as are humans...but that doesn't make us any less of a member of the animal kingdom.
     
  14. Oct 13, 2003 #13
    That's the pivotal point. MRP and others can bring up many characteristics about humans that no other animal shares, but that doesn't mean that we are any less animal for it (since, as Dissident Dan pointed out, there are many animals with completely unique qualities).
     
  15. Oct 13, 2003 #14
    Ahem, I have not used the words 'more' or 'less' I used "different", and YUP the language thing is the biggie, because, as a part of that, you can understand pictures as representations of realities, that you haven't experianced, animals?? Nope!
     
  16. Oct 13, 2003 #15
    But, again, 1) it is a matter of degree, and 2) it doesn't make us qualitatively different from other animals. What you are saying is that if a quality in a human is higher than in other animals, it somehow means that humans are elevated. What I am saying is that other animals have us beat in other areas that are just as important to their success as language is to ours.
     
  17. Oct 14, 2003 #16
    First, as I pointd out, they do. Sign language.

    Secondly, it doesn't matter, as Zero did a rather good job of pointing out.
     
  18. Oct 14, 2003 #17
    O.K. So look around you, all of the evidence I have is all of the things that humanity, in it's ability to use language, and interpret pictures, has/can/does do, is all of what we have applied from our ability to know collective knowledge, over time, (AKA History) which is planes, trains, automobiles, skyscrappers, nuclear power plants/submarines, rockets to the moon and robotic missions beyond that, the plate in my arm fixing my radius bone, the cat/Magneticresonanceimaging/Positiveemissiontomography scanners talked about in "Medical Physics" thread, ALL of the things that we humans can create, as adaptation to environment, or otherwise, is as a direct result of our abilities diffentiated from the rest of the Animals.

    Those being my ability to oppose, also, my pinky finger, not just my thumb, but ALL of my hands fingers.

    My ability to, with elbows flat at my sides, rotate the palm of my hand 180°, NO other Primate can do that, but I can turn screws/nuts/bolts/TVTuners/andscrewmyfingerintothewall!!

    And the ability to speak, communicate, effectively share knowledge of things, not nessecarily having been experianced by the person I share it with, but none the less can carry a sense of the experiance itself, hence skill trading by communicated knowledge rather then demonstration alone (That is all the animals have to teach and learn demonstrational abilities.......no words!)

    You are missing the greatest civilisation ever existing because you don't even realize the power that you have in the ability to speak, you take it such for granted as to attempt to equate us all on the same level as the rest of all of the animals.

    Sadly, a very blind to yourself point of view.
     
  19. Oct 14, 2003 #18
    Are you going to keep elaborating on your only point, until we just give in? You are still wrong, man.

    Ok, here's a useful way to look at things:
    Imagine Pong, the first arcade game. Now, imagine a line forming to the right of it, with each advance in video games taking its place in the lane, with today's 3-D rendered games on the other end of the line. Would you agree that even though todays games are far beyond the ones of 30 years ago, that they are all still video games?

    If I haven't lost you, we'll move forward...
     
  20. Oct 14, 2003 #19
    WOW, did you miss the point? WE, Humans ARE DIFFERENT, VERY different, because we can talk, YIKES, how difficult is that?
     
  21. Oct 14, 2003 #20
    And birds are different because they can fly...they are still animals, and so are we.

    Now, are you going to accept that everything from Pong up to the latest arcade game all falls under the category of 'video game', or are you not interested in further discussion?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2003
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