Man Is a Rational Animal

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Man Is a Rational Animal

By | November 2010
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Throughout the course of history man has been described as many different things. One of the most famous of these is Aristotle’s definition of man; Aristotle defined man as being a rational animal. According to this definition, rationality is what separates man from all other animals; it is what makes them unique. In order to prove this to be an accurate definition of man the definition of rational must first be understood. Rational has more than one denotation and in order for man to be rational they must fit all or most of them. It also has to be proven that this definition is unique to man and that no other animal is rational. Aristotle’s definition of man is fairly accurate because man has some unique characteristics which makes them rational and are specific only to them. Intelligence, the capability to understand and the ability to achieve goals through planned action are all characteristics unique to man which makes them rational.

Howard Gardner in his theory of multiple intelligence states that the human mind is composed of seven different intelligences which range from logical-mathematical to bodily-kinesthetic. This observation about the human mind supports Aristotle’s definition of man because to some extent intellect is part of rationality. One of the definitions of rationality is having its source in or being guided by intellect. Grader’s theory suggests that when making a decision about certain subject’s different parts of the brain work independently and some of these parts are more developed than others. “We have also determined that these multiple human faculties, the intelligences, are to a significant extent independent” (Gardner 520). This might have an impact on a person’s rationality because different people will use different part of their brains, or a different intellect, when being guided. Since the different intelligences are independent it is possible to make a decision using one part of your brain while not using another one....