Humans are special because…

15 May

As I’m overly fond of saying, humans are special. Just not for the reasons we traditionally thought we were: created separately from “animals,” center of the universe, all that anthropocentric stuff. I read the following passage in Michael Pollan’s book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and found it funny. Maybe you will too:

 

“‘Homo sapiens is the only animal that…’

How many flattering clauses have philosophers tacked on to that cherished construction, only to watch them eventually crumble? One by one, the faculties on which we thought we could stake the flag of our specialness science has shown belong to other animals as well. Suffering? Reason? Language? Counting? Laughter? Self-consciousness? All have been proposed as human monopolies, and all have fallen before science’s deepening understanding of the animal brain and behavior…perhaps an even sturdier candidate would be this: ‘Humans are the only species that feels compelled to identify faculties that it alone possesses'” (Pollan 2013:55-56).

 

Anthropology: The scientific study of “the only species that feels compelled to identify faculties that it alone possesses.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: