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What makes us different from a rock?  

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Nicole
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@snowyyeti I think animals have the id, but lack the ego and superego. The id is the instinctive part of our psyche. The part where we trust and listen to our animal instincts. The ego and superego is what makes us human. We have a sense of what is "right" and "wrong", and we follow certain order, even though there is nothing forcing us to do so. That is the superego keeping the id in check, so we don't go off and do something that we know is wrong. Dogs will often attack someone that they don't know or at least try to do so when they present no real danger because they don't understand that it's not okay to attack someone that is just walking down the street. They attack because they see the person as a threat, even if they haven't done anything to threaten the dog or the dog's owners. They lack the superego to stop them from doing something "wrong" or socially unacceptable that would stop us from attacking someone walking down the street.


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Nicole
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@conster I understand what you are saying here, but couldn't one argue that being driven by instincts would be a lack of free will? If a bear has the instinct to maul someone, he will do it. He can't really stop himself because his brain is telling him he has two choices: maul that person, or get killed. So the bear really has no choice in his eyes. However, humans, like you said, are able to rationalize in a different way. We are able to use logic to say, "This person hasn't presented a serious threat to me yet, so maybe I shouldn't attack him/her." We can also use our emotions to think, "Well I don't want them to attack me, and it wouldn't be right for me to attack them for no reason, so I'm going to leave them alone for now." We have this extra level of rationalization, so we are able to make a choice (i.e. we have free will). Animals don't have that rationalization, so they really have no choice about how they react to certain situations, therefore lacking free will.


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savhoisington
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@nicole At first I read your post on whether animals have the ego and superego like we do, I disagreed with the idea that they only have Ids. My reasoning for that was dogs, like you say, have wants and that is what goes through their heads (ball, food, play, ect.). But, The Id, without a superego, acts on every thing that it desires. Dogs, and other domesticated animals, can be trained to wait for food, or to be quiet, or to sit and stay when all they want is to play now eat now or anything of the sort. So, this leads me to believe they do have a superego. The superego is what tells us from right and wrong, but we aren't just born with it.  We are taught was is acceptable and not in our society from birth- we are trained as well. There is a lack of complexity, maybe, but I am not sure that we can just say they do not have anything beyond the Id. But, your points on the bear I completely agree with. I do not know much on the psychology of animals, so I am curious if it is true that some animals lack an ego or not and what makes them that way


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Nicole
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@savhoisington You make a good point that dogs can be trained to not act on their initial instincts. But they don't refrain from doing so because they know it would be wrong to do so, they do it to escape the consequences of not doing it. When a dog does something their owner deems as wrong, they are punished in some way. So they learn to not do that thing because they fear the consequences, which is just another instinct that animals have, to avoid harm to oneself. If there is a cookie sitting on a table, a dog will take it because he wants it. He doesn't know that it's wrong. If his owner is nearby, he might keep himself from taking it because he knows that there will be consequences if his owner sees him take the cookie. A little child on the other hand, might leave it alone even if no one is around. The child knows that it would be wrong to take the cookie, so the child will leave it alone. He doesn't refrain from taking the cookie because he is scared of getting hit. Sometimes he might get in trouble for taking the cookie, but even when someone knows they can get away with doing something, people will often do what they view as right because humans are driven by both the id and the superego. Yes, sometimes the id wins even in humans, and sometimes a child will take the cookie because the superego isn't strong enough to keep him from taking the cookie in that particular child at that particular time. But like you said, the superego is learned. It is more developed in some people than others. Some people will listen to their superego more than the id, and some people will do the opposite. Even one person can (and often does) fluctuate whether they listen to the id or the superego. Children will have less developed superegos than adults. But dogs make their decisions based on the consequences. They want to ensure their survival, which is what the id is in control of.


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Persephone
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OP, your explanation really intrigued me. I'd have to agree with you, in that as people we have the ability to manipulate others perception of us based on how we present. That is to say we act differently depending on the situation and who is around. While a rock cannot do this, I do believe that a dog can to some extent. A trained dog will not jump on strangers on a walk lets say, and they generally won't bark either, but once back at home a dog might do both of those things affectionately. I agree with @snowyyeti when they say that the difference between us and a dog is reason. The ability of complex thinking and reason is a rare trait, and I think that is what differentiates us.


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abuzz
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@savhoisington Your conversation about training dogs sparked an idea in me about this topic. Humans have the ability to control dogs. We are the ones that make them behave a certain way. But the fact of the matter is, "id, ego, and superego" are designed to explain human behavior. These are human ideas, not ones that a dog could conjure up. Or in fact ones that could be placed on dogs. With "id" being explained as "animal-like" behavior, would a dog be included in that? In a sense, wouldn't humans be included in that as well? Our cognitive abilities to create a model of personality and decipher what characteristics correspond to each is what makes us different from a rock or dog. We control the rock by throwing it, We control the dog by training it, but We as individuals have our own way of thinking, adapting, and responding to events.


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Gil
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@carlatortelli I have heard that dogs actually can hide their emotions. When my grandma had to put her dog down, she told me that she knew immediately when the dog actually died. It was just all of a sudden, the dog's face completely relaxed. She was told that it is common for dogs to hide their pain from their masters. So I do think that dogs, and really most animals feel emotion. However, I think what separates humans and animals is that we have a conscious AND conscience. A dog does not know who they are, and while think they can feel emotion, they don't think anything, all they do is follow their instincts. It is true though that some animals do have a conscious. Dolphins, for example, can look into a mirror and they know it is them-they are self aware (which is pretty cool)! However, I feel that even these animals that do have a conscious they do not have the conscience, or super ego. They do not have these moral choices that we are making constantly. Humans thoughtfulness and moralities are what I believe separate us from any other animal.


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bunkymoo
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@gil when you were talking about the mirror example I immediately thought about chimpanzees. I believe they as well have the ability to recognize themselves in mirrors. Apes have been known to be very close DNA to humans, and their cognitive abilities are very advanced. But I have no idea if they have morals as we do. This is something I have always wondered about animals. Also when you were talking about dogs, I can agree with that. It is very obvious when my dog is feeling a certain way, and when a dog dies, you can especially tell. Humans obviously are a lot more complex than dogs, so I don't know how to categorize them. Dogs don't know how to do the things we do because we are more developed, which also means that they don't think as logically. These actions are simple to us, but are they to dogs? 


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Jackson Von Habsburg
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I think that we ultimately come down to two things which really that is morality and free will. I think a lot of questions like these are asked to perpetuate a very nihilistic view of the world. I think clearly we all know there are differences between a rock and us but I can be hard as a high school student to awnser. Hell, that's what philosophers have been doing since ancient Greece. The real answer to this question is like I said morality and free. This is a point of debate but in my personal opinion humans ultimately have free will while a lot of times in your life humans will have to make a hard choice at the end of the day humans do ultimately have free will you can make the choices which will affect your life. The second part is that humans do have a sense of right and wrong many of us don't agree on what that is but those struggles of character are what stops us from being animals. If you don't have an internal monologue that is speaking to you as you play through ideas and thoughts in your head you probably arent human


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MSAR
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The comparison between a human and a rock is a very tough one to make but as we look deeper we are not fundamentally the same. Aside from the obvious factors, us as humans have a lot more instrumental value than a simple rock. But then when we are compared to dogs we have little more in common because like them we eat when we are hungry, we sleep when we are tired, and we get entertainment when we need some. But we act more than just based off of instinct we act based on complexed emotions that were shaped by our morals and life expierences. And since dogs and rocks cannot correlate emotions and morals they are different than us in that way


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FRANKLIN
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This was definitely an interesting question Mr.Chisnell asked and it sparked a lot of discussion from the class. My stance is the same as I stated in class. Humans are living organisms that eat, drink, breathe, etc. Rocks on the other hand, are non-living things that don't perform those same functions. They don't do anything at all and that is the difference between humans and a rock. If we dive deeper into the differences, humans are able to react and adjust based off of instinct and rocks can not do that at all. They are bounded by gravity and are still unless moved by an outside force. 


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DeepThought
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@stella I totally agree. Humans are able to see something and understand that the decision with immediate benefits is not always the best decision long term. One experiment comes to mind, where children were given a cupcake and told they could eat it now, or wait a period of time and get two cupcakes. The fact that some kids decided to wait to get two cupcakes shows the difference between humans and animals, because I can't imagine any animal waiting to eat food that has been put in front of them.


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aplitstudent123
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@gardella I agree. I think the most important part is the intellectual part and the differences in reactions that rocks and humans have. Rocks have no memories, no instincts. Their reactions are what they are because that is what the laws oh physics and gravity say that they are. Whereas humans have the capacity to make decisions on their own. Decisions that are unique person to person and based on instincts and memories. But, one thing Mr. Chisnell mentioned what that if you know a person well enough, you can predict what their reaction to something will be, just like if you study a rock you can know which way it will fall if it is dropped, or thrown. This is an interesting way of showing that a rock and humans are similar.


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Anonymous Parrot
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@jacksonvon I certainly agree with you but wouldn't you agree to me that society would like you to not be human? I mean Chisnell has pointed this out numerous times with the classroom bell example or the red light. Sometimes people don't want to make a choice and would rather others decide for you. This is a total Nieztchse plug since he believes that in order to be strong, you must be strong-willed. Those are the people who determine our morals and everyone else will follow much like what he says in his "mater-slave" morality model. 


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ahayo
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@gardella But do we know that for a fact? In class we offered that same statement on how rocks can only be moved by an outside force (that being a human, nature or just gravity) but how do we know that? And how does that make us different from a rock, I understand that humans have reflexes and might be able to react to any situation thrown at them, but caught off guard a human could be just like a rock. Without enough time to fire up your reflexes or if they are slower than average you might have the same fate as the rock and just submit to gravity. 


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