Re: Are we "special"?

Thomas Clarke (
5 Dec 1996 16:53:34 GMT

Here are three statements:

1. Human beings are animals subject to evolution.
[Nothing special there]

2. Human beings uniquely among animals have language and culture.
[unique = special?]

3. The evolutionary circumstances of human beings are non-special.
(ordinary, common),

It seems to me that 3 together with 1 implies that 2 is false.
If the evolutionary circumstances leading to humans were common,
then animals with characteristics like humans would have commonly

So one or more of 1, 2 and 3 must be false.

I do not doubt 1.
The truth of 2 is pretty obvious [no non-holocene artifactual pyramids]
[There could have been the equivalent of Australopithecines or
pre-sapiens Hominids undetected in the fossil record, I admit,
but the linguistic status of these is unknown.]
I conclude that 3 is false, that the evolutionary circumstances
of human beings are special.

Of course, as some have pointed out, the specialness of 3 may be
pretty trivial.

Tom Clarke