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Why are we human 'beings'?


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#1 D'Nalor

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 07:20 AM

Why do we call ourselves human beings? we do not call dogs 'dog beings' or cats 'cat beings', so why do we call ourselves human beings?
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#2 badfella

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 08:57 AM

Well my thought would be because way back when our language was being formed we viewed ourselves, and still do, as to be superior to other beings. its more a matter of perspective than actually being. from our perspective we are the superior species due to our understanding and cognitive abilities, thus making us worthy of "being" human. that being said, the merriam webster dictionary's definition of being is : 1 a: the quality or state of having existence b (1): something conceivable as existing (2): something that actually exists (3): the totality of existing things c: conscious existence : life.

so anything that exists in this world that is living or conscious is a being of some sort. so the reason we call ourselves human beings would be because it sounds good and through the years it has been ingrained into our minds as a speech default. if we called ourselves human objects from the beginning we would probably have a discussion on why do we call ourselves human objects and not dog objects or cat objects. so it wouldent really be a biological question, more of a linguistic question.

i hope that made sense and i dident make a fool of myself on my first post. :)

Edited by badfella, 30 July 2008 - 09:11 AM.

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#3 ThePurpleSmudge

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 09:29 AM

I agree with badfella.

I think this is more of a linguistics question than a biology question. As I understand it, the word "being" is used to denote sentience. When we discuss the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life we often refer to seeking out "other beings." Meaning other self-aware organisms with culture and technology.

As I see it, the term "beings" isn't really a value judgment as much as a simple (and useful) descriptor. And as badfella said, by now the words "human being" are probably being parsed at a phrasal level rather than analyzed individually.
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#4 mrsemmapeel

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Posted 5 August 2008 - 12:47 PM

'To BE or not to BE? That is the question.':eyebrow:
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#5 badfella

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Posted 5 August 2008 - 06:39 PM

lol well said. why dident i think of that :doh:
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#6 D'Nalor

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Posted 6 August 2008 - 07:36 AM

I don't know about the intelligence thing. a well trained dog is more intelligent than a baby, and we call babies human beings.
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#7 YT2095

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Posted 6 August 2008 - 07:58 AM

Time isn`t intelligent either, but we say "for the Time Being".
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#8 christiannnna

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Posted 7 September 2008 - 08:06 PM

I never thought of this before.
Maybe because we're the leading race of animals.
Same goes for the time thing
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#9 insane_alien

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Posted 8 September 2008 - 01:42 PM

I never thought of this before.
Maybe because we're the leading race of animals.
Same goes for the time thing


we're not the leading race of animals by most methods of measuring it. infact, i think only in technology do we come out on top.

we're not the most populous,
we're not the most widespread,
we don't have the most biomass,
we have a narrow range of conditions in which we can survive without technology
we die pretty easily
we don't affect the climate the most
and so on.
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#10 john5746

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Posted 8 September 2008 - 05:20 PM

we're not the leading race of animals by most methods of measuring it. infact, i think only in technology do we come out on top.


AAhh! That's not a very good slogan!

Humans are number one! Yay!
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#11 caveman42

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:59 PM

nice answer badfella! the post is more of a linguistic question...
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#12 Snare

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 06:31 PM

This is probably more of a lingual or psychological question.

But other things are called "beings" as well, it's just not that commonly used. I suppose a layperson would consider a "being" a creature of sentience - if not a human, than an extraterrestrial alien or "mutant" life form.
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#13 Realitycheck

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Posted 23 September 2008 - 01:49 AM

To be or not to be ... tis the dilemma shared by all potential self-replicating molecules.
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#14 Diocletian

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 04:08 AM

This isn't really a linguistics nor biological question as much as a philosophical one. Man is genetically programmed to wonder, and the first thing that early man must have wondered about was his own existence. Therefore, we came to think of ourselves as "beings", ones who are clearly defined and clearly exist. After all, our bodies are the only things that we can truly be sure of (the rest of the world is an illusion anyway, as scientifically proven) and so its existence is tantamount to our thoughts.
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#15 Comandante

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Posted 13 October 2008 - 09:16 AM

It's a philosophical question. We probably consider ourselves as 'beings' because we are able to question our existence or "being", which in itself is a proof that we do exist (Descartes,1637) hence why we started calling ourselves 'beings'. That's how I look at it.

http://en.wikipedia....Cogito_ergo_sum
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