The Human Animal

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Several things make humans different from animals. These include burying of the dead by humans out of respect, humans evolving to stop relying primarily on instinct, humans being aware of themselves, the feeling of wrong and right sense, as well as evil and moral, complex languages and methods of communication by humans, human use of the brain in exceedingly complex ways compared to animals, and human ability to advance technology. The premise of this paper is to delve into the consequences of these differences. The paper will study moral behaviour, human uniqueness, and consciousness or lack of consciousness.

The first consequence of the difference between humans and animals is human uniqueness (Levinas, 2004 p48). Any attempt to answer the question of what humanness is should involve a study of the results of seeing people as lacking or having humanness. Consequences of this question include the dehumanization of groups that are despised and the excuse making to explain ones failings as being only human. This question reveals that there exist two direct consequences of humanness: human nature and human uniqueness (Jeeves, 2011 p32). Human nature refers to the attributes seen as typically, essentially, and fundamentally human. Human uniqueness, on the other hand, refers to those attributes that distinguish an animal from a human being.

Differences that lead to human uniqueness are a large brain and an erect posture (Levinas, 2004 p49). Human is the only species of vertebrates that possess an erect posture and a gait that is bipedal. While birds are also bipedal, their backbone stands horizontally rather than vertically with the exception of the penguin. Despite kangaroos being bipedal, they do not possess an erect posture, a...

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...uences are freely observable, and are what make a human be referred to as so.

References

Cavalieri, Paola. The Animal Debate: A Reexamination” in In Defense of Animals: The Second . London: Blackwell Publishers,, 2006.

Descartes, Rene. From the Letters of 1646 and 1649” in Linda Kalof and Amy Fitzgerald Eds. . Oxford: Berg, 2007.

Jeeves, Malcolm A. Rethinking human nature : a multidisciplinary approach. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2011.

Johnson, Clarence Sholé. Cornel West and Philosophy. London: Routledge,, 2003.

Kant, Immanuel. Duties Towards Animals and Spirits” in Lectures on Ethics, trans Louis . New York: The Century Co, 1963.

Levinas, Emmanuel. The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights” in Peter Atterton and Matthew. London: Continuum, 2004.

Nitecki, Matthew H. Evolutionary ethics. New York: State Univ. of New York Press, 2003.

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