What do you think makes us human? (different from other animals)

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Animals do not have language. Humans have developed language and writing, used to create a recorded history. Because we have a recorded history, we have a past, present, and future. This is something that the animals simply do not and never will have.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would agree that the ability to reason is what makes us different from other animals. This topic always makes me think of Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game. General Zaroff chooses to hunt men because they are able to reason, something animals cannot do. In the end, his reasoning backfires and Rainsford's superior reasoning skills allow him to defeat Zaroff.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

People used to believe in a concept called The Great Chain of Being, which ranked different kinds of existence, including God, angels, humans, animals, plants, and non-living matter.  According to this concept, humans differed crucially from animals in their ability to reason.  In Milton's Paradise Lost, Adam asks God to create Eve so that he can enjoy the company of someone who is equal to him in intelligence and in the ability to reason.  Throughout western tradition, reason has long been considered the trait that differentiates us from other creatures.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

So, to add to the discussion, I'll suggest that a sense of humor contributes to making us unique from other forms of animal life. Obviously, there are many different types of humor and not all types are appreciated by all people. But I think the ability to laugh and to appreciate the comic aspects of life's events and the statements of others is an important saving grace among healthy persons.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What really makes us human is the degree of our intelligence and our ability to think.  There is not really much in the way of things that we can do that no other animal can do at all.  The major difference is in how we are able to do so many things so well.  For example, there are other animals that can use tools, but only we can make tools that are able to be used for all kinds of different purposes.  We are able, where other animals are not, to take information and put it together in new ways.  Basically, we are much smarter than other animals.  They have narrow and shallow intelligence.  We have intelligence that is deep and broad.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial