2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

How Unique Are We, Really?
Steven R. Goldberg
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Humans have a general sense that we are better or otherwise different from all other animals, but there is not an easy way to quantify that feeling. Scientists have tried to find a uniquely human trait, but the search for a unique human characteristic is extremely difficult when humans share so many traits with other animals. Studies done on animals that attempted to determine if animals shared human characteristics suggest that humans share empathy, morality, emotions, language, and other traits with a myriad of members of the animal kingdom. Indeed, further scientific evidence reveals that whales have culture, monkeys show empathy, spiders have personalities, and more. These findings indicate that humans may not be as unique as we think we are. This paper, then, will argue that the differences between humans and other animals serve to highlight the fact that humans, as a species, are not really as different from other animals as we think we are.

Keywords: uniquely human trait, empathy, morality, emotions, language, personality, differences between humans and other animals

Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 9-2
Location: VH 1228
Time: 8:15

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