Big ideas: Being Human

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What exactly does it mean to be a human being?

/ˌhjuːmən ˈbiːɪŋ / [noun]
__ a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.

 

1. Noam Chomsky on Language Aquisition
How is it that we learn to speak and think in language so easily? Philosophers have argued about whether or not we have innate ideas. Whether we are born knowing things, as Plato believed, or rather, as John Locke and other empiricists argued, the mind is a blank slate on which experience writes. Noam Chomsky, gave a twist to this debate in the 1960s.

Big Ideas: Being Human, Noam Chomsky on Language Aquisition

 


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:47

 

2. The Idea of Cultural Transmission
Humans have the ability to pass on our culture across great distances and through time to future generations. Without these cultural transmissions each generation would have to reinvent itself more or less from scratch. This is what sets us apart from other animal species.

Big Ideas: Being Human, The Idea of Cultural Transmissio

 


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:39

 

3. Karl Marx on Alienation
Karl Marx believed that work, at its best, is what makes us human. It allows us to live, be creative and flourish. But under capitalism he saw workers alienated from the product of their labour.

Big Ideas: Being Human, Karl Marx on Alienation

 


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:57

 

4. John Locke on Personal Identity
What makes us human? Locke argued that it is our memories, and not our bodies, that make up our identity. For John Locke ‘person’ was a forensic term – one that is particularly relevant when judging an individual for their actions.

Big Ideas: Being Human, John Locke on Personal Identity

 


Source: BBC (2015); Open University (2015). History of Ideas.  Duration: 01:46

 

CREDIT TO:
credit_to__bbc-radio-4_and_Open-University

 

BIG IDEAS
01. Beginnings
02. Who am I?
03. Being human
04. Knowledge
05. Beauty
06. Love
07. Freedom
08. Society
09. The good life
10. Right from wrong
11. Justice
12. Technology

 

CONCEPTS EXPLAINED
01. Astronomy
02. Microgravity
03. Thoughts on theory
04. Theology explained
05. History of the English language
06. History of Money
07. Economics explained
08. The European Union explained