If we can observe that other creatures “know”—apart from man, what then is man that we should educate him? This takes us to our second assignment in this lecture—an examination of the concept of man. Mr. Vice-Chancellor, this second part will be limited to answering the question, “what is man?”, rather than, “who is man?” As what, man would be seen as substance, existent, instinct reduction, organism, and so on. As who, man would be seen as rational, social, ethical, and so on. The “whatness” of man is material, projected reality, or object. The “whoness” of man is author, originator, initiator, or subject. Ethology, a scientific study of the behaviour of all living creatures, including man, focuses on what different animals do spontaneously, rather than from domestication or conditioning. In this regard, Konrad Lorenz, a famous ethologist, submitted as follows: Without a trace of doubt, human beings exhibit the smallest range of endogenous-automatic motor patterns found in any higher organism. Apart from motor norms of food uptake (seizing, placing in the mouth, chewing and swallowing), mating (frictional movements) and possibly automatic elements in walking and running, an adult human being appears to have virtually no centrally coordinated motor patterns based on endogenous automatisms7. Christopher Berry tried to portray human nature as “given” i.e. from a purely biological cum evolutionary perspective. He said: The human genotype shares 99 percent of its history with that of the chimpanzee. The distinctiveness of human kind derives from the 7
Konrand Lorenz (1981) in The study of human nature, Leslie Stevenson (ed), Oxford University Press, P. 222.
Published on Sep 1, 2009