Human Beings vs Animals

The mind-body item in philosophy researches the connections between mind and matter, and especially the connections between consciousness and the brain. The item was investigated by pre-Aristotelian philosophers, and later, it was notably researched by René Descartes in the 17th century, leading to the formation of Cartesian dualism. Rene Descartes believed that the bodies of animals have the analogous feelings, as human beings have, but they lack mind. It practically means that Descartes considered that there is a physical shell (home), but there is literally no one at home, meaning no self, and no person present in animals to observe the feelings, experience them, and become conscious of them. It is like in a situation with a movie demonstrated in an empty theater.

Are We All Different from Animals?

According to Rene Descartes, the conduct, which seems to be an antipathy and volition, affliction and consolation, apathy and curiosity, is practically a hard-leading planned replication and reaction, similarly to a machine. Descartes considered that human beings only and no other animals have this non-physical mind. Personally I disagree with Descartes, as I believe that animals and humans are not of different kind, but of different degree.

Rene Descartes believed that human beings have two constituents: the body and the mind (soul). The majority of processes that human beings perform can be accounted for thoughtless reactions, or passions to the environment. Descartes believed that animals, due to the lack of the mind, operate and interact through passions only. Thus, Descartes believed that animals are, briefly, “organic automata” (meaning machines), being “much more splendid than artificial ones,” but remaining machines nonetheless (Descartes 11).

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Therefore, a number of Descartes’ claims can be defined. The first claim states that animals cannot “use speech or signs as we do when placing our thoughts on record for the benefit of others,” (Descartes 14) or alternatively stated that they are unable to utilize language in order to make known the considerations and speculations in a distinct manner. Moreover, Descartes particularly notes that the sphere, where all animals “fall short” is language and explicit intercourse, which Descartes support by the phrase that animals “have less reason than men, but that they have none at all, since it is clear that very little is required in order to be able to talk” (Descartes, 15). On the basis of the above-mentioned assumptions, Descartes grounds his over-vaulting approval concerning animals and their assumed machine-similar nature. Rene Descartes defined a number of discrepancies between animals and humans. He believed that if there was a machine with the analogous organs as in an animal, it would be actually indistinguishable from the animal itself. However, if there was a machine with analogous organs as in human beings, people would easily recognize the discrepancies. The human machine, practically, would be able to respond to standard motivators, including a hot rabble being pressed to the side.

Nevertheless, in the case when the human machine has to perform more complicated actions, including the process of expressing the feelings and emotions, they will not be able to perform it. Moreover, human machine lacks the soul. Thus, even despite the fact that they may be able to perform particular actions on the same level or even better than human beings, the machine is just able to perform those tasks. It is due to the fact that human machines have shortage of knowledge. It means that they are able to perform only the functions that they have been programmed to perform. Animals are similar to their machines, due to the fact that they operate with the help of their organs disposition. They do not speculate that animals eat when their stomach tells them to eat, and they go to sleep when their brain tells them to do it, etc. Therefore, an animal machine, which will have analogous organs as animals, would actually operate identically to an animal. At the same time, a rational human would be able to observe the situation and perform depending on the way the human beings feel. In fact, all people will perform in a number of ways, but on the other hand, all machines will perform in an analogous way (Descartes 14). Thus, Descartes has concluded that animals are machines; moreover, they are automata as they do not speculate, possess a language, and have no self-awareness. Furthermore, they have no apperception, and they are totally without emotions and feelings. Descartes investigated two principles causing motions: one of them is merely automatical and material and depends absolutely on the influence of the spirits and the structure of our organs. Therefore, it can be named corporal soul. The other one is the incorporated mind, the soul, which is differentiated as a speculating substance.

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Descartes investigated whether the motions of animals originated from both of these principles or the one only and concluded that they “all originate from the corporeal and mechanical principle” (Descartes 12). According to Descartes, an immaterial mind is manifested by the usage of creative language, and the process of creatively utilizing language, which is exclusively peculiar to humans. Descartes asserted that, instead of being originally rational, the minds of animals are mainly governed by various kinds of predilections, instincts, and impulses, meaning the things, which human beings also have together with the concept of “thought.” Descartes demonstrated such theory with the help of analyzing human beings’ capacity to intercourse and communicate explicitly through language. Nevertheless, Descartes does elude “the simple repetition of words and/or sentences” by the concept of language (13).

It is done purposely due to the fact that animals possess a biological capacity to “utter words just like ourselves” including “magpies and parrots,” Descartes explained that by the fact that animals “cannot speak as we do, that is, so as to give evidence that they think of what they say” (Descartes, 15). Moreover, Rene Descartes even more dilates his theory with the help of stressing the capability of people who are both “deaf and dumb” to be able to intercourse in a meaningful way, even despite the fact that they do not have the physical organs of speech, which according to Descartes, the majority of animals have (Descartes 15). In fact, animals have intercourses, despite the fact that they are simply retranslating instinctively wished things, including food and water, or showing backward responses, including pain or excitement. Alternatively stated, animals are conscious, but they are not self-conscious. Moreover, Descartes believes that animals cannot presume and afterwards express emotions and ideas. Therefore, animal pain, due to the fact that it is not a genuine pain, is unimportant in a moral way. It practically means that it does not matter. Thus, Rene Descartes provided humanity with the sanction to perform actions with subterfuge.

It is very pressing in some quarters to believe that human beings are significantly distinctive from animals. This would actually allude that there exists some particular ownership, which is possessed by human beings only. In fact, it is obvious that a number of years ago, mind was believed to play this role, but researches on animal brain have demonstrated that animals have the same kind of mental abilities as human beings do, but only in a more restricted form. Due to the fact that mind and intelligence appear to be the abilities, which can be possessed to higher or lowers degrees, it actually does not make sense to mark off on the basis of the scale and assert. Charles Darwin was sure that “the difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind” (Darwin, Prodger, and Ekman 266). He considered that human beings are analogous to animals and solely gradually more intelligent resulting from the higher evolution.

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Darwin possessed a general view that natural selection is the result of the aloft evolvement of the living creature with the time. Darwin explained this with the help of nine claims. Firstly, humanity has the same senses as lower animals. Secondly, humanity has some of the same instincts that lower animals possess (e.g., self-protection, consternations, kindness and passion to other friendly beings, love of mother to the child, etc.) (Darwin, Prodger, and Ekman 290). Thirdly, humanity feels pleasure and hurt, the same as lower animals do. Fourthly, humanity enjoys play as lower animals do. Fifthly, humanity imitates other beings as lower animals do. Sixthly, humanity has dreams as lower animals do. Seventhly, humanity has mental individuality as lower animals do. Eighthly, humanity uses language as lower animals do (Darwin, Prodger, and Ekman 290). Finally, humanity appreciates beauty as lower animals do. Thus, human being is considered to have originated straightly from the animal kingdom with the help of the analogous processes being involved and the same evolutionary factors, which actually caused animals to evolve (Darwin, Prodger, and Ekman 291). Therefore, the discrepancies between human being and animal are not considered to be essential and fundamental as they are only the difference in degree. In fact, human being has only evolved to a greater ratio.

The studies in comparative psychology demonstrate that conduct features, which have been once considered exceptional to human beings, are actually shared with other animals, incorporating even cognitively sophisticated ones, such as fraud and self-management. A low-degree male baboon will, for example, menace a top-degree male for a single objective of sidetracking him in order to provide another low-degree male the ability to have a sexual relationship with one of the top degree’s mates (Cadsby). Chimps will even divert themselves in order to impose their volition. Therefore, during the research, in which they were repaid with more sweets in case they agglomerate them rather than eat them at once, they will play with toys in order to withstand temptation (Colley). Moreover, chimps will also accumulate and throw out stones for the future utilization as armament, demonstrating the capability to speculate beyond the current instant to a tentative futurity. As a matter of fact, these are not only the great apes, which show cognitive proficiency. Incertitudely controlling researches demonstrate that dolphins and rhesus macaque monkeys are able to control their cognition at the time when they collide with variable results (Colley). Therefore, they will, for example, choose lighter assignment, which actually provide them with lower rewards, rather than complicated assignments, which offer higher rewards. Moreover, the burgeoning research, which demonstrates the unthinkable resourcefulness of other animals, does not actually diminish the fact how much more advanced human being cognition is, but it does propose that there are forerunners in other animals for human being cognitive skills (Cadsby). This practically creates a strong argument supporting the case of degree, rather than kind.

As a matter of fact, a video “A Conversation with Koko” visually demonstrates animals’ ability to communicate with people. Koko is a western lowland gorilla. Penny Peterson, the President and scientific director of the Gorilla Foundation and Koko are the examples of a whole new world of understanding. Their friendship actually shook the ancient stereotypes and changed the outlook on both gorillas and human beings. They are the first human and gorilla to share a common language. Penny taught Koko to speak sign language. There is an exchange of intellect and emotion that we get with another person. Koko is peering into somebody’s eyes, as if asking the person about something and getting the information from this person due to the fact that she can do it as she understands the sign language. It demonstrates that human beings share the world with other intelligent beings. It is hard to make any conclusions as the sign language between Penny and Koko is unknown to the viewers, however, it is obvious that gorilla does not simply repeat the actions after Penny. She really tries to tell something and explain something she has on her mind.

However, Koko is not the only one, who is able to communicate. Another example is Kanzi , who is a thirty-one years old male bonobo residing in a little societal community together with other representatives of his species at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa (Goldman). As a matter of fact, bonobos, as well as chimpanzees, are human beings nearest existing affinity. Due to the fact that Kanzi has been working with a primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, he is currently able to comprehend a number of thousand words. Furthermore, Kanzi is able to communicate, while utilizing a special type of keyboard, which incorporates approximately four hundred optical symbols, which are called lexigrams (Goldman).

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In addition, there exists a border collie named Rico, who is acquainted with the labels of approximately two hundred different items, and is able to regain them at a word of command. In comparison with Koko and Kanzi, this fact might not seem especially trimming or stirring. Nevertheless, Rico is able to study the docket of an item, which he has never observed before after only hearing the word once. In the case when there are twenty items in front of him, with the nineteen being already familiar to him and he is directed to regain an item utilizing a word he has never heard before, Rico is able to conclude that the unacquainted item coincides with the unacquainted word (Goldman). Moreover, Rico is able to remember the coupling even within the weeks. This procedure of word-studying, which is called quick-mapping, is analogous to the procedure, with the help of which young infants study new words. Moreover, there are the female Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, named Phoenix and Akeakamai. They existed at a special Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory in Honolulu (Goldman).

A well-known paper by the marine biologist Louis Herman and colleagues in 1984 demonstrated Akeakamai’s and Phoenix’s capabilities to comprehend clauses in optical or audio synthetic languages. The investigators provided the dolphins with instructions, which were fully formed with the help of familiar words, but in different schemes, which would only be comprehended by appreciating the grammar of the clauses, not only the lexicon. For instance, the phrase “Phoenix Akeakamai Over” was the direction given to Phoenix in order to swim to Akeakamai and hop over her, at the same time “Akeakamai Surfboard Fetch Speaker” directed Akeakamai to take the surfboard and bring it to the speaker. In all of these situations, both dolphins were supposed to estimate and translate the words in the connections to the noun utilized. For example, they had to understand whether the word “fetch” applied to the surfboard or the speaker (Goldman).
Therefore, it is important to repeat the major questions: what is the discrepancy between human beings and animals? Significantly, there is no difference due to the fact that the discrepancies are just a matter of degree. Nevertheless, human communities and animal communities are significantly distinctive, as human societies process the information in a way, which sets them far apart from animals’ communities, which are only slightly less intelligent than humans. Does this make humans special? Only if somebody considers, for instance, the H2O molecules of the liquid water to be significantly distinctive from the molecules in the ice.

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