Friday, January 22, 2010

What makes us unique as humans?

I got this from Ezra Klein's blog:

You should watch it, it is funny and smart.

A couple of comments: He goes through several different things that we think make us human, but we realize other animals (usually primates) have them as well. Then he will always make something that other animals have and only humans have: being a chess grandmaster, killing other people with predator drones, S&M sex, etc. In each case he isn't really making an argument for what is unique about humans as a species, but rather what is unique about certain humans. In other words, he is not drawing lines of kinds, but of degrees.

Except for the last part, which while inspiring, is certainly scientifically implausible, and certainly impossible to prove. Still, worth watching, and very enjoyable.