Most likely a silly question.

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Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:27 am
You may have read in the introduction section that i am a beginner in the world of philosophy so forgive me if this is a stupid question .
I am currently reading Sophies World which im sure most of you would have heard of , what i keep stumbling across is the distinction between human and animal and thus this being Reason. I grasp this fairly easily however its been bugging me . In the theory of evolution we descended from apes which are of course animals. In the process of becoming "human" was there then a stage at which we gained this thing called reason or as they are different ideas do they not need to cross in this way.
Enlighten me please Smile
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:34 am
@Ross phil,
Ross;135404 wrote:
You may have read in the introduction section that i am a beginner in the world of philosophy so forgive me if this is a stupid question .
I am currently reading Sophies World which im sure most of you would have heard of , what i keep stumbling across is the distinction between human and animal and thus this being Reason. I grasp this fairly easily however its been bugging me . In the theory of evolution we descended from apes which are of course animals. In the process of becoming "human" was there then a stage at which we gained this thing called reason or as they are different ideas do they not need to cross in this way.
Enlighten me please Smile


Which ideas are different ideas? Your question is not clear. Can you ask it again more clearly?
 
Ross phil
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:44 am
@kennethamy,
Yeah sure.
The seperate ideas i meant are evolution and the idea that the main difference between humans and animals is our ability of reason. ( im not sure if the latter has an official name, maybe rationalism).
Im trying to question that due to the common ancestor humans and apes have , basically if it is known , at which point did us humans gain "reason" and animals did not.
Sorry if its still confused.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:51 am
@Ross phil,
Ross;135417 wrote:
Yeah sure.
The seperate ideas i meant are evolution and the idea that the main difference between humans and animals is our ability of reason. ( im not sure if the latter has an official name, maybe rationalism).
Im trying to question that due to the common ancestor humans and apes have , basically if it is known , at which point did us humans gain "reason" and animals did not.
Sorry if its still confused.


I don't think it was something that was all or nothing. Animals that walk upright (instead of on all fours) developed from those who walked on all fours. But it did not happen at some "point". It was a gradual process. I suppose the same is true about having reason. There were gradations. The great Apes "have some reason" we know. But not as much as human beings. It is a gradual process.
 
Ross phil
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:59 am
@kennethamy,
Ah i see . How isit we know that the Great apes had some reason may i ask ?

[And also off topic , i just noticed your location. I returned from New York last week, i found NYC a rather interesting and quirky place. =)
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 12:28 pm
@Ross phil,
First, the answer to the original question somewhat depends upon whether you accept the theory of evolution as a reasonable explanation; many people, arguing from various religious perspectives, might object that a deity created man full-blown with a rational mind.

Second, the definition of "reason" or "rational" seems important to any answer. If, for example, one would argue that understanding the means/ends relationship is at the core of being rational, then many locomotive animals exemplify rational action (a monkey uses a long twig to get to juicy ants in their hole). It may be that various animals do exhibit what we would call different traits of rationality, just as they do memory or speech, but in very inferior ways to humans. This might help explain how humans achieved rationality through evolution by showing intermediate phases.

Yet another viewpoint might include the concept that genetically humans have a predisposition for society, and that the social interaction (the written word, for example) has played a significant role in forming human rationality.

I would think the last two perspectives seem most likely, and that therefore it was not the case that one day humans were animals and the next they were rational. While I am sure there are other likely scenarios to be contributed by other Members, much of what one argues will nevertheless depend on what is meant by being rational, and whether that term is as simple as we might initially believe.
 
Gracee
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 02:53 pm
@Ross phil,
Not a silly question at all, and one that continues to perplex scientists and philosophers....Just when did we gain the ability to reason?
The ability to reason is part of the essence of being human, and just when we became human and how that happened is still not clear. So i'm afraid i can absolutely not answer your question, but i can tell you its not stupid, and that i loved sophie's world.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 02:59 pm
@Ross phil,
They do studies on this. There's a certain age where children learn that even though a toy has been put away, it still exists (object permanence) and that if you pour water from a tall thin beaker into a flat bowl, there is just as much water in the bowl as there was in the beaker (transitivity).

I don't know if there is much out there on when humans as a species developed individual reasoning capabilities, but you could read up on developmental psychology to help understand how it works in modern day humans.
 
mike90t09
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 03:05 pm
@Ross phil,
I would say that we ourselves learned how to reason. Take when man was first walking the Earth. They didn't know anything, they traveled in groups and struggled. What they did all the time was experiment, use the process known as trial and error.

They started to realize and remember what worked for them and developed the technology to help them succeed.

This is why that I think we learned how to reason on our own and there was really no "point" in time where this happened.

They developed common sense and used it better than a lot of people these days Laughing
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 03:53 pm
@Ross phil,
Ross;135404 wrote:
You may have read in the introduction section that i am a beginner in the world of philosophy so forgive me if this is a stupid question .


Not a stupid question at all. In fact I think it's probably one of the better questions to come a long in a while.

Ross;135404 wrote:
In the process of becoming "human" was there then a stage at which we gained this thing called reason or as they are different ideas do they not need to cross in this way.
Enlighten me please Smile


All I know is that our ability to reason falls into the left side of the brain. The right hemisphere does not deduce or use any method to interpret the experience from the senses. The left hemisphere has difficulty in understanding the sense data and it struggles to try and make sense by using all sorts of "methods". This I believe is where reason comes from.

When this process developed probably happened around the time of utilizing tools to help acquire food. So I could reason that I bet certain primates also have the ability to reason, to a point.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 04:39 pm
@Ross phil,
Ross;135404 wrote:
You may have read in the introduction section that i am a beginner in the world of philosophy so forgive me if this is a stupid question .
I am currently reading Sophies World which im sure most of you would have heard of , what i keep stumbling across is the distinction between human and animal and thus this being Reason. I grasp this fairly easily however its been bugging me . In the theory of evolution we descended from apes which are of course animals. In the process of becoming "human" was there then a stage at which we gained this thing called reason or as they are different ideas do they not need to cross in this way.
Enlighten me please Smile

First there are no silly questions if the question is trying to find truth, or at least resolution.
Secondly we have always had a degree of higher reason which to some other degee means we were never really apes (at least not the ones we now call our ancestors, pointing our fingers through the bars) which leads to more reason or reasoning, quite frankly we still have not found all the reason there is, else we would not be the evolving 'apes' we are, we have not as yet finished reasoning, which means there is more reason yet to come.
They will look back on us one day and ask themselves 'how could we have come from such unreasonable creatures?' and will most likely (if we survive) look at us as the apes. They may even find that reason is not necessary, who knows what tomorrow will bring? Just not us along with it.
All just trying to out-do our parents and break out of our cages.
Reason being the one with the strongest bars.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 06:37 pm
@Ross phil,
Ross;135427 wrote:
Ah i see . How isit we know that the Great apes had some reason may i ask ?

[And also off topic , i just noticed your location. I returned from New York last week, i found NYC a rather interesting and quirky place. =)


Because we know they make inferences. There have been experiments and studies what show they do.

I was born and lived in New York City for a while. But I now live in upstate New York. New York City is really the only great city in the world (well maybe London).
 
Ross phil
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 11:53 am
@kennethamy,
Thankyou for the responses and tolerance Smile They have provided me with some very useful answers.

kennethamy;135685 wrote:
I was born and lived in New York City for a while. But I now live in upstate New York. New York City is really the only great city in the world (well maybe London).


London is ovverated in my opinion , some fantastic history but i guess living so close to it takes the novelty of it away Smile
 
Lily
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 12:39 pm
@Ross phil,
Ross;135404 wrote:
You may have read in the introduction section that i am a beginner in the world of philosophy so forgive me if this is a stupid question .
I am currently reading Sophies World which im sure most of you would have heard of , what i keep stumbling across is the distinction between human and animal and thus this being Reason. I grasp this fairly easily however its been bugging me . In the theory of evolution we descended from apes which are of course animals. In the process of becoming "human" was there then a stage at which we gained this thing called reason or as they are different ideas do they not need to cross in this way.
Enlighten me please Smile

I love "Sophie's world". In evolution, everything happens relatively gradually. Yes, we are of course a bit brighter than the apes, but remember, many species are very intelligent. Like the magpie that always wakes me up with it's howling. I have a bad conscience about wanting to shoot it:shifty:. I think it's intresting how human can think about things we don't really need. Like those "silly" questions (there are no silly questions). Or well, since we're human, we kind of need to ask them. Also very intresting.

Anyway, "Sophie's world" is one of the best books I've ever read. Love the fact that it takes place in Norway, since I'm a bit Norwegian:sarcastic:
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:35 pm
@Lily,
Lily;136891 wrote:
(there are no silly questions).


How about, "In what year was the War of 1812 fought". "How did people who named the planet, Venus "Venus", know that its name was "Venus"?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:53 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136922 wrote:
How about, "In what year was the War of 1812 fought". "How did people who named the planet, Venus "Venus", know that its name was "Venus"?


How long was the hundred years war? Wink

"There are no silly questions" means: "if you don't know something, asking is better than doing nothing". It's a catchier way of saying it.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:57 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;136926 wrote:
How long was the hundred years war? Wink

"There are no silly questions" means: "if you don't know something, asking is better than doing nothing". It's a catchier way of saying it.


I doubt it means that. I think it means that there are no silly questions. And it is false, because there are silly questions.
 
Lily
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 02:38 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;136928 wrote:
I doubt it means that. I think it means that there are no silly questions. And it is false, because there are silly questions.

Yeah, I know that. But if you really want to know, you have to ask. If it's something you can't understand yourself, asking is better then to don't know.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 04:19 pm
@Lily,
Lily;136934 wrote:
Yeah, I know that. But if you really want to know, you have to ask. If it's something you can't understand yourself, asking is better then to don't know.


But if you ask, you may get such a silly answer that you will be sorry you asked in the first place. That often happens on this forum.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 04:30 pm
@Ross phil,
I am very doubtful that the Darwinian account of the evolution of species and the descent of man can really explain how 'reason' (and many other related human attributes such as language, aesthetics, and so on) gradually developed by the addition of a number of incremental changes through the years.

I can certainly understand how, for example, if you had a species of bird distributed across a chain of islands, variations would appear in the types of beaks that have evolved, in response to the different types of food sources on each island.

But I am skeptical about the application of this principle to the development of fundamental human attributes. I fully accept that humans evolved from lower species, mind you. I am just not at all convinced that evolutionary theory understands, or has described, all of the principles at work in this.
 
 

 
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