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If one is to consider what characterizes man, it becomes of decisive importance what one compares it to and possibly contrasts it with. If you put man in opposition to the animals, it is the “higher” mental abilities that make up his most characteristic traits. Human intelligence has been set up as a counterpart to animal instincts, the free will as a counterpart to animal drives and human social inclinations as opposed to the predator’s lack of compassion for its prey. After all, being “human” means being enlightened and caring, and not acting “blindly” based on the impulses of the moment or pure self-efficacy.
However, after the development theory came with Darwin, this picture has become more nuanced. We find variations from animal species to animal species in all of these traits, and we can no longer position humans as opposed to animals – taken together. Instead, they have often talked about degree differences, for example, about humanity’s greater social dependence, greater plasticity and dependence on learning (cf. the long upbringing), greater intelligence and, not least, its larger area of life (“wider horizon”) thanks to the ability of language and symbol use.
In psychology, even since Darwin, there may have been greater interest in the variations within the human species, that is, differences between groups, races, genders and individuals, than against a discussion of what is the typical (common) human. In modern times, it is possibly just as much the computer, the machine and the robot that it is necessary to compare and contrast man with. In this context, the irrational aspects of man can again be seen as important human characteristics.
|Rankings||Psychology Programs||Departments and Schools|
|1||University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
Address: 75 E. River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0344
Phone: (612) 624-4181
E-mail: [email protected]
|Department of Psychology|
Address: 225 S. Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (888) 227-2736
|Harold Abel School of Psychology|
Address: 155 Fifth Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: (866) 492-5336
|School of Psychology|
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