• Bella Lack
    1
    Some may say our intelligence places us in our league of our own, but, as said by Ingrid Newkirk 'Perhaps measuring animal intelligence by comparing it to human intelligence isn't the best litmus test.'

    I'm wondering then, if other sentient species experience similar emotions and have the capacity to empathise, show compassion, possess theory of mind etc... why do so many people place our species on a pedestal?

    I'd like to hear your subjective philosophical arguments, since there are no conclusive answers to this question.
  • OmniscientNihilist
    133
    the only difference between human and dog is that human has intellect.

    and computers already have more intellect then humans

    so if you say intellect = superior then computers win

    not to mention the other humans that have more intellect then you. i guess you should be their slave haha
  • Echarmion
    984
    I'm wondering then, if other sentient species experience similar emotions and have the capacity to empathise, show compassion, possess theory of mind etc... why do so many people place our species on a pedestal?Bella Lack

    Do you want a descriptive answer or a philosophical argument? From the perspective of moral philosophy, I think the ability to engage in a form of "social contact" is relevant. We can signal our mutual respect as equals to other humans, something we cannot do with other animals.
  • ssu
    1.7k
    I'd like to hear your subjective philosophical arguments, since there are no conclusive answers to this question.Bella Lack
    I assume our hard wiring isn't so much different from other subfamily homininae and very much the same as the Neanderthals, but that we have language and written language has made all the change.

    The importance of language and written language, that has given us the ability to explode our informational knowledge, is severely understated as we still have the quite mechanical World view and philosophy being in an dominant position. Hence we have this fixation with genes, with our brain etc. And of course, because we still have problems to grapple with notions like "intelligence", "consciousness" and even "learning".

    That for philosophy language is so crucial ought to hint how important all this is, but no.
  • Sherbert
    5
    Your answer is dependent on how you define the term "Superior". In some cases we are not, and in some cases we are. What do my mean by "superior"? Superior in what way specifically. We can blow up the planet, does that make us superior, or less superior?
  • iolo
    150
    Exactly. 'Superior' at what, by whose standards?
  • 180 Proof
    382
    ... why do so many people place our species on a pedestal?Bella Lack

    Anthropocentricity. A self-serving/flattering species defect (i.e. cognitive bias) seems likely.


    Btw, welcome to TPF.
  • 3017amen
    860
    wondering then, if other sentient species experience similar emotions and have the capacity to empathise, show compassion, possess theory of mind etc... why do so many people place our species on a pedestal?Bella Lack

    It's been awhile but studying the brain's limbic system which is basically the primitive small brain, is apparently where many animals have a form of sentience.

    The main distinction between human and lower life-forms is the ability to communicate our intellectual and abstract reasoning.

    Take for example the metaphysical abstracts of Music and Mathematics. Those features of consciousness confer no biological survival value.

    Other features that go beyond instinct would be our metaphysical will to survive, our sense of wonderment, and other psychological intrinsic needs for human purpose.

    To that end, for instance, one simple question is why do humans care about the meaning of life? Is that caring an accident? What does it mean to care? Why?
  • Serving Zion
    160
    Pure morality doesn't do that, and that is what compels questions such as yours and those who become vegetarian when they realise that the way of the world, that everybody grows into, really doesn't make sense when questioned about fairness. Over time, human rights have developed internationally (in general) to a point of saying that all humans are entitled to a basic fair treatment of sorts, regardless of their differences. But it hasn't always been that way. For example, racism, sexism, religionism etc - all have been cultures of thinking that did not put humans on a pedestal for the mere fact that they are human, as you are finding.

    Therefore, the key is in the definition of similarity - where does the judge draw the line of inclusion to those rights? .. and by default, a human does not have any awareness of that question at all. A baby just eats whatever is on the spoon, but there comes an age when the child learns that the food they are eating has also been the chickens they feed and the lambs they pat at the park. In that moment, the parents are responsible for guiding the child into immorality - by training the child's mind to justify the double-standard. It also would have been the case for when a white child was playing in the yard with a black child in America's times of slavery - because the children naturally do not see race as racism, they see people that are light skinned and dark skinned.

    So in order to justify the actions against one class that you would defend against in the case of another class, one has to exercise empathy. They have to see that what is happening is not a pleasant thing, and they need to empathise with the one who is suffering. They choose to either identify with them as a same kind, or regard them as inferior to themselves, and that is why through history many theories have been produced in order to justify the inferiority to those who empathise with animals, such as for example the idea that animals don't feel pain, so it is ok to beat dogs and whip horses, or that goldfish have a 5 second memory so it is ok to shut them up in the corner of the room their whole life. Utimately, all it comes down to is "I want to do this, so I have to find a reason to explain my actions to those who would question them". It then becomes a battle of wills of morality versus immorality, where in this case the animals can't vocalise their own views, wherein their advocate's relative intelligence, demeanour (authority) and sense of self-power (cost vs wealth) are factors determining the ultimate victor in a disagreement/discussion of the ethics of it.

    AFAIC, being vegetarian, morality almost always falls on the side of the animal rather than the human who is exploiting them, and thus I use my vocabulary to explain my reasoning and to call fallacious reasoning into light. As you can guess, from my language saying that humans in their proper form are naturally moral, I do not place humans who have fallen into a state of justifying immorality, on a pedestal - but rather I say they are of a fallen mind, in fact having a mind less respectable than the mind of an animal (whose minds I find wholly reasonable and decent).
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