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Is our thinking ability and consciousness the main factor that separate man from animals?

Our ability to think and perceive in whole the cosmos, earth, and reality, or at least try our best through our sentience, is it truly what separates humans from other species?


  1. I think so. Animals only have the awareness to function, and to survive. Their goals are only eat, sleep, reproduce.
    Humans have a more complex mind and are more curious to discover more about their surroundings.

  2. Yes you are correct. Self awareness is the term usually used. We are aware of our existence. We have a worldview you could say. Our superior brain power is what separates us from animals which in some case have far better vision, hearing, or strength.

  3. The main difference between humans and animals is the ability to harm one another for no good reason.
    When animals do harm one another, it is usually for a fairly defendable reason. For example: in defense, for food, to protect themselves, etc.
    When humans harm one another it is usually for no good reason whatsoever. For example:
    “I punched him because he flirted with my girlfriend.”
    “I slapped my wife because my breakfast was cold.”
    “We bombed the innocent people of that country because we like controlling oil.”
    “She pulled my hair because I called her a name.”
    “We flew a plane into the building because we don’t like the way they operate.”
    See? The primary difference between humans and animals is this: animals have inherently good morals. Humans, as a whole, obviously do not.

  4. Cognitive capability, yes, consciousness, probably not. For a start, there are many other animal species that demonstrate high levels of intelligence – dolphins, elephants, chimpanzees, crows etc. These creatures also exhibit key signs of self awareness. For example, bottle nosed dolphins understand that an image on a tv is representation of reality beyond their immediate range of perception. If they are shown a live feed image of fish being thrown into an adjoining pool, they will immediately rush over to the other pool.
    I think the desire to find ways that separate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom is an anachronism from the Victorian era, when people were obsessed with the idea of “man” as the pinnacle of creation. Modern science has almost completely eroded this distinction. Obviously there are traits that are uniquely human, but almost every day we are finding that we are not so different from other animals as we once wanted to believe.

  5. you are getting too complicated actually.
    The simple definition of what separates man from animals is the ability to create and use tools for a need. And this goes way back, when men had no understanding of space and physics, when there was no government or civilization. When men uses a stone axe to hunt for food.

  6. Well, there’s art. As far as I know, no animals in the wild do any type of artistic decoration just for the sake of art. I suppose music and theatre would fall in that category.
    There aren’t any animals (in the wild) that wear clothes or have anything resembling them.
    We also seem to have a moral compass. We know the difference between right and wrong. An Animal might kill for food or for a mate, and wouldn’t think twice about it. If we were desperate, most of us would still know it’s wrong to kill each other for food, and if we did, most of us would know that it was wrong, and have remorse.
    If we didn’t have a moral compass, we wouldn’t have jails or prisons. No animals have anything resembling that.

  7. Anything you can think of that humans do, there are at least some animals that can do it.
    Think abstractly and solve problems?
    Have a monogamous relationship (i.e. ‘love’)?
    Be self aware?
    Understand the difference between reality and a virtual representation?
    Morality (which can be argued is just social conditioning)?
    Create and use tools?
    Do drugs just for the same of getting high?
    Animals do all those things naturally.
    The reality is you can’t come up with an objective way to separate man from animals because man IS an animal.

  8. xyzpdqfoo, please tell us which animal can create a stone axe that they use to hunt for food. lets just stay at the lower level tools, don’t tell me they don’t need it, because men can just survive by eating fruits and plants. and no, holding a tool and moving at direction its trainer tells it to do is not using a tool nor creating it.
    suitti you are right, technology does build on itself, and it all started when men created basic tool for their living needs. the most basic tool. no animal to date can create any duplications of the most basic tools we created. even apes may just know to throw a rock at each other when fighting.
    and again, you can train elephant to lift heavy loads, but it will not know why and how to do it on its own, you can train monkeys to ride a bicycle, but it is not a tool to a monkey as it will not use it to get from one place to another if the trainer does not force it to.

  9. Our tool use isn’t unique. What’s unique is our explosive tool use – that is, technology. That’s been fueled by our higher capacity brains. But our technology also builds on itself. Being able to write things down allows us to give others our toys, but also allows projects to last more than the lifetime of individuals. And now, computers allow yet another increase.
    I’d say that the big thing is that we were first.


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