This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Is It Possible To Identify Some Property Or A Set Of Properties That Necessarily, All And Only Humans Have? Is This What We Mean When We Speak Of

1258 words - 6 pages

There has been a lot of skepticism concerning human nature; regarding if there even is any sort of underlying essence to being human. Existentialists predominately argue against the idea of essential traits and any innate abilities. Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) says in his 1946 lecture “Existentialism is a Humanism”:
“… There is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. … Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism.”
In saying this, Sartre proposes the idea that existence precedes essence. Existentialism though, in John Locke’s (1632-1704) view allows for certain innate faculties of the mind ...view middle of the document...


Though an essential trait of being human is sharing in the common gene pool of Homo sapiens sapiens, this does not quite correlate with what we mean when we speak of ‘human nature’ in casual conversation. Human nature is often heard of in phrases such as “it is in human nature to be selfish” and “humans are curious by nature.” When phrases like these are used, the people who use them are most likely referring to a generalised view of modern society; where there is an established etiquette in each culture. In this case, the person would already be addressing people who would be able to understand and relate to that idea; such as being selfish, where the person who uses the phrase “it is in human nature to be selfish” would firstly already believe that, and secondly be addressing someone who they would think would too.
Additionally, one could consider selfishness to be a universal trait to all humans, which would be referring to the philosophical belief of Psychological Egoism – contrasting to psychological altruism. Though humans may or may not be selfishly motivated, it would not be a characteristic property in which we could label as our essence, as acts of both altruism and selfishness have been commonly observed throughout the animal kingdom. Extensive research on the cognition of elephants for instance has been taking place for a long time. With the availability of articles and studies with the new age, popular media can show us that a web search of “elephant intelligence” will reply with over eleven million articles linking the two keywords together. Widely regarded as one of the world’s most intelligent species and arguably one of the most altruistic, elephants have been observed to display many similarities to what was thought to be only human acts. Examples of this include the idea of death rituals (funerals), use of tools, and the ability to react to art and music at a higher and more involved extent. So, returning to psychological egoism; it is a claim that all human actions are selfishly motivated, and it may at first glance make sense due to its relatability. But along with psychological altruism, it does not align with the definition of an essence, as it is not characteristic of only humans.
As mentioned before, when someone speaks of human nature, they would most likely be referring to a generalisation of modern society, which would already have an established etiquette within each culture. This takes into account that there is a certain standard of being and behaviour, which is considered ‘average’ and ‘normal’. Regarding an ‘average human being’ or a ‘normal’ person, this would refer to the general tendencies of the society that they live in. But when regarding evolution, one cannot pinpoint what an average human is, as evolution follows that the human species is...

Find Another Essay On Is it possible to identify some property or a set of properties that necessarily, all and only humans have? Is this what we mean when we speak of

We All Seem To Know It When We Feel It

2037 words - 9 pages What is love? Not just the emotion and the feelings that a person feels, but what it is exactly. Is it just a feeling that is in a humans' heart? Does love even come from the heart or is it a chemical reaction in the brain that makes a lover think that? When it comes to love there are so many questions that can be asked, but why does love even matter? With a better understanding of love, a partaker of love is better equipped to handle everything

AOS- After experiencing a change; why is it that we fail to appreciate these repercussions of this change? It is too often that we see past the positive effects

1144 words - 5 pages . Lydia was no longer an influence on Kitty and because of this Kitty had experienced a change in herself which allowed her to be not as ill-tempered or bad- mannered. Kitty accepted this change, and because of it, she became more mature as seen by society. Proving that her change is not only good in that of self maturity, but also resulting in a better public perception. Showing once again that all change is good.Furthermore ‘Sky high’

This was a descriptive essay about a job we have. This essay is what it takes to be an EMT on the firedept

1079 words - 4 pages The Perfect EMTWho is it that you call when you have chest pain that feels like a truck is sitting on your chest or when a loved one has collapsed unexpectedly? When you witness or are involved in a major auto accident, what kind of people do you really want to respond? In most cases you would dial 911 and request help. You would want the best the Fire/EMS service has to offer in the area for you or your loved one. You would want the perfect EMT

"A Romance of Many Demensions' by Edwin A. Abbot. In this story by Edwin A. Abbot is Abbot telling us to strive for perfection or to be content with what we have?

715 words - 3 pages have been better to not suffer and not make others close to you suffer. Clearly, it would have been better to be content with what you already had and not have strived for a more perfect society.Being content with what we have, not striving for perfection, is the main message of this story. We can see that this is the theme that Abbot is attempting to display mainly in two sections; the place in the story where the color problem arises and when

Artificial Intelligence. This paper describes what the government hopes to accomplish with AI. It includes some of the inventions and what we hope to accomplish with this technology

511 words - 2 pages Artificial IntelligenceArtificial intelligence is a branch of computer science concerned with making computers think. It is the first project dedicated solely to artificial intelligence. It is also defined as the project of creating machines that can carry out tasks normally thought to require human intelligence. AI will enable humans to speak directly with computers, and is engineering inspired by biology. Through AI, we hope to invent machines

Do we perceive reality directly through our senses? is it possible the reality that we experience is different to the one in which we actually exist?

1113 words - 4 pages is a token of the coarseness of the human faculties - that its feasibility should warn us of inherent limitations on the capacity of human beings to understand the physical world" (Deutsch, 1998, pp102). It's hard to imagine what some possible implications could be from this idea being accepted because it is hard to imagine outside the limits of our reality - all we could really know is that all we have experienced is now undependable for use in a

Why should we examine the technique of non-violent action? What is the possible relevance of this technique?

3356 words - 13 pages growing every day, it is clear that the only way peace will ever be attained in this region of the Middle East is if both the Palestinians and the Israelis commit themselves, and actually adhere to, a policy of non-violence.As the most extreme form of violence, warfare has never been pretty. It has been the primary means of dealing with political problems since humankind first discovered that violence could be used to get what we want. Traditionally

The Ozone hole,what causes the hole, what are some of the effects that it has on humans and animals,and what is being done to try in slow down the process

1126 words - 5 pages . Research was initiated that found CFCs to be largely responsible for the anomalously low levels during the polar springtime. This polar ozone depletion at lower stratospheric altitudes is what has been termed the "ozone hole" (Rycroft 1990).Since, we now know what causes this ozone depletion, what does this mean in terms of humans and plants? The potential impact on human health and ecosystems due to increased UV exposure is a primary concern

It has been suggested that “stress is in the eyes of the beholder?”. What does this mean? Do you agree?

2262 words - 10 pages stress or prevent stress from taking a massive toll on you, it should first be identified. Where did it come from? What is causing the stress to build up? What are the symptoms to look out for? Some of the symptoms that are indicators of too much pressure that can come from you, work, home, any combination of, or maybe even all three. The signs that show symptoms of stress come from the aspects of psychological science, emotion, physical and

Analysis of Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard To Find and Raymond Carver's "What We're Talking About When We Talk About Love

1317 words - 5 pages , that imbalance would never have occurred. On the other hand, some of the ideas explored in Raymond Carver's "What We're Talking About When We Talk About Love," might just be too big, too all-encompassing, too something, to every be truly understood. Here we have a quartet of characters, two married couples, sitting around a table, drinking (something Carver certainly knew too much about). They are all relatively intellectual people, some more

This essays is in regard to the comparitive psychology career (study/comparison of animal behavior to humans) Should we really study animal behavior to learn more on humans???

649 words - 3 pages and the cognitive powers of human and nonhuman animals. Psychologists seemed divided on the issue." (Dewsbury, p751, 2000) Equally as important, developmental issues have been a main area of comparative psychology. Ideas on instinctive response, behavioral development and the nature nurture theory can all relate to evolution. Some hold the views that particular species are born with many of the same capacities as humans. On the other hand, some

Similar Essays

Is It True That Justice Is A Good ? And If So, Does It Mean That We Have Good Reasons To Act Justly?

2228 words - 9 pages And if so, does it mean that we have good reasons to act justly? In formulating your answer, you should consider Thrasymachus's argument in Book I, and the story of Gyges's ring in Book II.BEING JUST OR UNJUSTJustice is one of the most important concept in people's life. It has been argued by many people and philosophers but however it is not exactly clear that what justice is and what the reality of injustice demand of us. Besides, In ''the

We Are All One People. This Is An Essay About How It Doesn't Matter Who You Are Or What You Think You Are, That When Tragedy Happens We Are All The Same

601 words - 2 pages hotel. I noticed the long lines of people waiting for a phone.A reporter then said that a plane had gone into the Pentagon and that one was on its way to the White House. This is when I noticed the difference in the room starting to shift. I noticed all these "professionals" that are usually so distant began to change. Oddly enough they began to merge closer and started to put one arm through another and slip arms around the next person to them

“When The Only Tool You Have Is A Hammer, All The Problems Begin To Resemble Nails” (Abraham Maslow). How Might This Apply To Ways Of Knowing, As

1299 words - 6 pages of pursuing knowledge. However, ideally we should utilize all of the ways of knowing to reach a justified belief based off of true information. Each of the ways of knowing contribute to the pursuit of knowledge and have separate implications of relying too heavily on a single tool. This approach to finding knowledge may be impractical under certain circumstances, such as when there is limited information or a situation requiring quick judgments

We Were Handed A Paper And This Is All It Said: Is Government Necessary?

672 words - 3 pages police power. Then it has a lot of carefully selected people decide what to do with this power they hold. Even with all these worthy, knowledgeable people that think everything through to ensure the best treatment of its people, a government may become unjust and corrupt, and a leader might embark on an insane quest for power, literarily or metaphorically speaking. They have the power to do so because they are the only ones with the power. This