Man Is a Rational Animal

1573 Words Dec 4th, 2010 7 Pages
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 …show more content…
People tend to educate themselves or adapt ideas from other people or even from books. These ideas however are not always accurate and when trying to understand and rat ionize people draw upon these ideas and thus make false assumptions. “Idols of the Market Place….. For it is by discourse that men associate; and words are imposed according to the apprehension of the vulgar” (Bacon 583). In simple words, this entire means is that man’s understanding is affected by gossip. Human nature tends to implement in our understanding what we have heard from other people regardless of the accuracy or validity of the information. This affects human understanding and thus affects rationality. “Lastly, there are idols which have immigrated into men’s minds from the various dogmas of philosophies, and also from wrong laws of demonstration. These I call Idols of the Theatre” (Bacon 583). These idols have to do with what people learn from law and philosophy, even though this might not be accurate. For example in ancient times people used to believe that everything revolved around the earth. If humans tried to rationalize using this information which at the time was considered scientifically accurate their understanding would be inaccurate. Human understanding is an important part of human rationality and its part of the definition of it. Bacon through his theory of the four idols shows that