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The dominant sentient life form* on planet Earth. Being merely sentient is what Gerald Edelman would call primary-order consciousness. Alfred Korzybski jokingly called it Fido-mind, since it's more or less the overlap of experience between us and a dog. Edelman's term for what humans (and dolphins, chimps and gorillas, yes, and I'd even add elephants) uniquely have is higher-order consciousness. Korzybski would describe this same phenomenon as the ability to perform abstractions, pointing to Bertrand Russell's concept of logical type. The pinnacle of such higher-order or rational consciousness is of course language.

Gorillas are only just barely rational creatures. You can teach them primitive sign language, and what they then have really is rational thought, but at the level of a severely-retarded five year old at best. An enhanced vocality is what projects humans (and dolphins) from other primates by leaps and bounds. With our more complex vocalisations and gestures (even this typing being an extention of my gestures), we have evolved to become profoundly social creatures. Which is why I kind of resent the notion that noding is a dubious distinction--to node is human! Seriously, neural networks make us conscious and social networks make us human. (Off my soapbox...)


(*Thank you, graceness, that tightens things up nicely! A wonderful example of how the social nature of humans enhances the quality of life of each of its members!)

Hu"man (?), a. [L. humanus; akin to homo man: cf. F. humain. See Homage, and cf. Humane, Omber.]

Belonging to man or mankind; having the qualities or attributes of a man; of or pertaining to man or to the race of man; as, a human voice; human shape; human nature; human sacrifices.

To err is human; to forgive, divine. Pope.

 

© Webster 1913.


Hu"man, n.

A human being.

[Colloq.]

Sprung of humans that inhabit earth. Chapman.

We humans often find ourselves in strange position. Prof. Wilson.

 

© Webster 1913.

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