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