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Is it more reasonable to say humans have more than only one method of surviving. Surely the proverbial alien would observe wearing clothes and cooking food before figuring out that chimpanzees aren't reasoning. I've seen a list of about 400 human characteristics. It seems strange to insist on Aristotle's classifications when clearly it is rather poor. Thus do Objectivists need to revisit a foundation?

asked Sep 27 '10 at 00:47

Peter%20S%20NZ's gravatar image

Peter S NZ

edited Mar 24 '11 at 15:32

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

It might be useful to provide a reference to this list of characteristics. I suspect its chock full of non-essentials...

(Sep 27 '10 at 11:17) Raman ♦ Raman's gravatar image

Thank you Greg for editing the longer question. The reason Aristotle, and Ayn Rand, list reason as mans principle means of survival is that all of the other specific methods are dependent upon reason in order to exist. Yes and alien would notice shelter and food gathering before he noticed that chimpanzees weren't reasoning however, if the alien was intelligent he would have to realize that both shelter and food gathering require a process of reasoning. A man has to know that he requires food for survival, has to know how to obtain food, and has to know how to prepare and eat it, before he can survive... all of these are processes of observation and conceptualization that make up reasoning. The list you refer to was most likely written by someone who refuses to recognize the fundamental importance reason plays in human existence... Man does not need to revisit "A foundation" man has only one foundation of knowledge, and he simply needs to understand it.

answered Sep 27 '10 at 01:10

Colin%20MacDonald's gravatar image

Colin MacDonald ♦


Colin M writes: "...all of the other specific methods are dependent upon reason in order to exist." Yep. See: "Fundamentality, Rule Of." http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/fundamentality--rule_of.html

(Sep 27 '10 at 01:25) Chris Cathcart Chris%20Cathcart's gravatar image

I'd add to this answer that Ayn Rand was specifically trying to promote her own original philosophy, and would often deliberately not discuss issues or topics which she felt were commonly agreed upon. In this case, I would project that she only discussed reason as man's primary means of survival because it was what was uniquely different about her philosophy, not because she regarded others as unimportant.

(Mar 25 '11 at 12:38) Andrew Miner ♦ Andrew%20Miner's gravatar image

Man can't even survive by hunting and gathering except that he can organize tools and hunting parties and out-wit his prey. He is inferior on the standards of all other species. He can't out-climb and out-wait a cat, can't compete with Chimps' strength to gather bananas, can't digest grass, can't grab fish, etc. Failing utterly to live as an animal does, man can exercize his greater intellect and build the modern world. And it is THAT that makes his intellectuality his defining feature

answered Nov 07 '10 at 17:23

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

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Asked: Sep 27 '10 at 00:47

Seen: 1,489 times

Last updated: Mar 25 '11 at 12:38