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What is it?

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thedoc
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Posted 12/05/11 - 11:41 AM:
Subject: What is it?
henry quirk wrote:

My generalizing, then, is akin to saying 'all men have testicles'...a true statement that says nothing about how each man views his jewels, or what each man does with his jewels.



Interesting observatiion, but what exactly defines a man or a woman? If a man no longer has testicles or was born without them, is he a man? or something less. What are the specific requirements to be a man, or more broadly how do we define what it is to be Human? Can you write a description that would positively identify a Person from all the other living creatures on the earth, or that we may encounter if we start traveling in space? A person can identify another person because they have been trained to do so from birth, but what of someone or something that has no such training, like a computer?
Thinker13
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Posted 12/05/11 - 12:02 PM:

dictionary wrote:

man (mn)
n. pl. men (mn)
1. An adult male human.
2. A human regardless of sex or age; a person.
3. A human or an adult male human belonging to a specific occupation, group, nationality, or other category. Often used in combination: a milkman; a congressman; a freeman.
4. The human race; mankind: man's quest for peace.
5. Zoology A member of the genus Homo, family Hominidae, order Primates, class Mammalia, characterized by erect posture and an opposable thumb, especially a member of the only extant species, Homo sapiens, distinguished by a highly developed brain, the capacity for abstract reasoning, and the ability to communicate by means of organized speech and record information in a variety of symbolic systems.
6. A male human endowed with qualities, such as strength, considered characteristic of manhood.
7. Informal
a. A husband.
b. A male lover or sweetheart.
8. men
a. Workers.
b. Enlisted personnel of the armed forces: officers and men.
9. A male representative, as of a country or company: our man in Tokyo.
10. A male servant or subordinate.
11. Informal Used as a familiar form of address for a man: See here, my good man!
12. One who swore allegiance to a lord in the Middle Ages; a vassal.
13. Games Any of the pieces used in a board game, such as chess or checkers.
14. Nautical A ship. Often used in combination: a merchantman; a man-of-war.
15. often Man Slang A person or group felt to be in a position of power or authority. Used with the: "Their writing mainly concerns the street lifethe pimp, the junky, the forces of drug addiction, exploitation at the hands of 'the man'" (Black World).



dictionary wrote:

Male
male (ml)
adj.
1.
a. Of, relating to, or designating the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.
b. Characteristic of or appropriate to this sex; masculine.
c. Consisting of members of this sex.
2. Virile; manly.
3. Botany
a. Relating to or designating organs, such as anthers or antheridia, that produce gametes capable of fertilizing those produced by female organs.
b. Bearing stamens but not pistils; staminate: male flowers.
4. Designating an object, such as an electric plug, configured for insertion into a recessed part or socket.
n.
1. A member of the sex that begets young by fertilizing ova.
2. A man or boy.
3. Botany A plant having only staminate flowers.




A good question.

Man: 1. An adult male human.

Adult: Age should be greater than or equal to 18 years.

Male: 1.
a. Of, relating to, or designating the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova.


So: If you take just the first senses of the words( Man, Male and adult): given above: Only those members of our species who are adult as well as with organs to produce spermatozoa, are qualified to be called 'Man'.


This is a very narrow definition.

You take secondary senses of the words defined above and extrapolate the definition given, and you would come up with many more definitions of 'Man'.

thedoc wrote:

If a man no longer has testicles or was born without them, is he a man?



As per the strict, narrow definition: No.


Thinker13
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Posted 12/05/11 - 12:08 PM:

What are the specific requirements to be a man, or more broadly how do we define what it is to be Human?


dictionary wrote:

hu·man (hymn)
n.
1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.
2. A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans: the course of human events; the human race.
2. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.
3. Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with humans: a mistake that shows he's only human; human frailty.
4. Having the form of a human.
5. Made up of humans: formed a human bridge across the ice.





1. A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species H. sapiens.

This is most easy to understand definition of 'human' for me.


Can you write a description that would positively identify a Person from all the other living creatures on the earth, or that we may encounter if we start traveling in space? A person can identify another person because they have been trained to do so from birth, but what of someone or something that has no such training, like a computer?



An interesting thought experiment. thumb up
thedoc
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Posted 12/05/11 - 1:05 PM:

Is a man what he is phisicaly, or is a man what he does?
Thinker13
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Posted 12/05/11 - 1:22 PM:

thedoc wrote:
Is a man what he is phisicaly, or is a man what he does?



If I align my response with the previous posts: A man is defined by what he 'is' physically as well as what he does.

To assume that it encompasses all of the nuances of the definition would be preposterous argument though.

'Physique' is one of the components. 'Doing' involves many things including the physical disposition.


For example: To take the definition given up-thread; a man who has active testicles(physical disposition) would be qualified to procreate and hence would be called a 'man'


[ This is crude definition ]

OTOH, a man without testicles might also cause a change in the world order--he would be called a 'manly man' or a 'macho man' because of his courage.

In this way, there might be a range of manly behavior.


In the same way for woman(feminine qualities).

As a matter of fact: There have been great Philosophers in past who never procreated physically but caused many movements because of their thoughts. Were they not manly, just because they did not produce off-springs?





henry quirk
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Posted 12/05/11 - 1:36 PM:

"what exactly defines a man or a woman?"

Hell if I know.

I know what defines 'Henry Quirk'...I know maleness and man-ness are aspects of me, but again, in 'centipede's dilemma' fashion, I'm hardpressed to tease out those aspects and examine them nakedly.

#

"...can you write a description that would positively identify a Person from all the other living creatures on the earth...(?)"

For me, that's simple: whatever has 'I'ness (is an 'I') is a person.

The problem, of course, is what exactly constitutes 'I'ness... wink
thedoc
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Posted 12/05/11 - 3:06 PM:

Any Bozo with testicles and a penis can make a baby, but is that a man, or is it the male person who stays and brings up the child, is a good friend, spouse, member of the family?
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Posted 12/06/11 - 10:15 AM:

thedoc wrote:



Interesting observatiion, but what exactly defines a man or a woman? If a man no longer has testicles or was born without them, is he a man? or something less. What are the specific requirements to be a man, or more broadly how do we define what it is to be Human? Can you write a description that would positively identify a Person from all the other living creatures on the earth, or that we may encounter if we start traveling in space? A person can identify another person because they have been trained to do so from birth, but what of someone or something that has no such training, like a computer?

male and female are but formulated belief. If you get it wrong you'll get a slap in your face, or a beating.


The observer is not the one defining male or female, he is but defining his own observation in categories.
Which sex the observed individual believes to belong to is probably more relevant as it is the most practical to the individual and not the observer. Unless maybe if the observer wants to run some tests to confirm his observation or belief in relation to other observers, but even that outcome can be completely different from what happens in the mind of the individual.
The individual can always agree on belief, or ignore it completely, or use it at will.

smokinpristiformis
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Posted 12/06/11 - 10:23 AM:

"what exactly defines a man or a woman?"


dictionary sticking out tongue

or else, it's open to any interpretation you'd like to give it. Much like other general terms like: house, cupholder, water, name, ...
thedoc
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Posted 12/06/11 - 4:36 PM:

'would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar'

Smokinpristiformis, I remember this song but I can't remember the title, I think Frank Sinatra sang it in a movie, not sure about that title either.
smokinpristiformis
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Posted 12/07/11 - 2:18 AM:

I found versions from Sinatra and Bing Crosy. smiling face
libertygrl
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Posted 12/12/11 - 1:16 PM:

i think the combination of x and y chromosomes are most indicative of gender, but even still there exist chromosome-combinations that defy gender determination...

and of course, even with your given chromosomes, you can still get gender reassignment.
thedoc
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Posted 12/12/11 - 3:47 PM:

This is true enough if you are considering genetics and biology but I was think more in phylosophical terms, as I thought would be indicated in post #7.
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Posted 12/12/11 - 7:49 PM:

well genetics and biology do play a role... consider for example this article about twin boys, one of them who knew at a very early age that "he" was meant to be a "she":

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2...tory.html?s_campaign=sm_fb

from what i understand, this is very typical of transgender individuals, that they know at a very early age that they are not the gender that their body tells them to be. i think this is very relevant to your question in a philosophical sense, because obviously their genitals did not dictate to these people what their gender means to them. how is that possible? how is it possible for a 4-year-old boy to know that barbies and sparkles and princesses are what it means to be female, and that that is what he wants for his identity?

i think at the heart of the matter are what carl jung called masculine and feminine archetypes, which are also represented in many eastern philosophies as well. essentially, the masculine archetype is about strength, control, logic and science. the feminine archetype is about passivity, surrender, emotionality and spirituality. of course, there are people of either gender who resonate more with one archetype or the other. feminine males and masculine females (and not just pertaining to gays - there can be straight folks with just as much inclination one way or another).
thedoc
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Posted 12/12/11 - 8:40 PM:

Also these archetype characteristics are not always so clearly defined or seperated in individuals, so you end up with effeminate men and masculine women who have no desire to physically change genders or roles. But I still go back to my original idea that what a person does is more important in determining what that person is, and with men I'm not talking about acting all big and macho, but taking responsability and doing what needs to be done, and the same can apply to women. I guess the bottom line is to be a responsable adult.
henry quirk
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Posted 12/13/11 - 10:16 AM:

"...genetics and biology but I was think more in phylosophical terms..."

But: if what any of us is 'is' the sum of a particular and peculiar biology, it's wholly natural to surmise that 'philosophy' has its roots in the flesh.

'Philosophy' (philosophizing) is what one 'does'; one is nothing more or less than flesh; 'philosophy', therefore, is of the flesh.

All the variations of 'masculinity' any one of us might examine all have roots in flesh.

So: instead of pinning down one definition, why not, instead, look at the 'all' the definitions and find the commonalities?
Thinker13
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Posted 12/13/11 - 11:59 AM:

henry quirk wrote:
"...genetics and biology but I was think more in phylosophical terms..."

But: if what any of us is 'is' the sum of a particular and peculiar biology, it's wholly natural to surmise that 'philosophy' has its roots in the flesh.

'Philosophy' (philosophizing) is what one 'does'; one is nothing more or less than flesh; 'philosophy', therefore, is of the flesh.

All the variations of 'masculinity' any one of us might examine all have roots in flesh.

So: instead of pinning down one definition, why not, instead, look at the 'all' the definitions and find the commonalities?



I am pretty sure that you don't apply 'Flesh' literally. You have a definition of Flesh, which is different from dictionary definitions of term.

Dictionary wrote:

flesh   [flesh]
noun
1.
the soft substance of a human or other animal body, consisting of muscle and fat.
2.
muscular and fatty tissue.
3.
this substance or tissue in animals, viewed as an article of food, usually excluding fish and sometimes fowl; meat.
4.
fatness; weight.
5.
the body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul: The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.



Are anyone of the dictionary definitions given above applicable to the word 'Flesh', as you use it, in your comment above?

henry quirk
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Posted 12/13/11 - 3:23 PM:

When I write 'flesh', yes, I literally mean 'flesh'.

The meat of you, the bones, the blood, the sinew, the fat, the organs, etc. as all these components comprise 'you'.

This, "the body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul", works, except I see no evidence for 'spirit' or 'soul'.

I believe the flesh is you and you are the flesh.

There is nothing else to you.
thedoc
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Posted 12/13/11 - 7:35 PM:

To say we are just the 'flesh' as you describe it could just as well be applied to all living things, but I believe that humans are more than just instinctive behaviors. I do not believe that any other living thing contemplates who are we, what is out there, and where are we going, whether you believe we are going somewhere or not many people think about it and, as can be seen on internet forums, many argue quite vehemently about it. Other animals only look for food, reproduction, and running away from danger, no in depth thought has ever been demonstrated, only in humans. Because of this I am compelled to consider and believe that there is more to a human being than just the flesh and instinct. If flesh is all there is, why do we ask questions like this on an internet forum?
henry quirk
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Posted 12/14/11 - 10:15 AM:

"To say we are just the 'flesh' as you describe it could just as well be applied to all living things..."

Indeed, it does apply to all living creatures, but understand: my point is not to denigrate the human organism but, instead, to praise him or her.

Like all life on the rock, the human individual is nothing but flesh, but: what flesh!

The human individual is a complexity of a particular and peculiar sort...a particular and peculiar complexity that not only allows for but demands 'I-ness'

This is quite *miraculous, I think: walking, talking, 'self'-referencing bags of water impregnated with a few pounds of common chemicals...thinking meat...matter that laughs.

I mean, having a 'soul' would be nice, but -- really -- who needs one when each of us is so much 'now', without an indwelling spirit?

#

"...I believe that humans are more than just instinctive behaviors."

Agreed: each of us is bound up in and by the world, but not a one of us is determined by the world.

#

"If flesh is all there is, why do we ask questions like this on an internet forum?"

Because each of us wants to and can: *miraculous!









*not divinely sourced, I must add... wink
thedoc
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Posted 12/14/11 - 11:30 AM:

henry quirk wrote:

"If flesh is all there is, why do we ask questions like this on an internet forum?"

Because each of us wants to and can: *miraculous!

*not divinely sourced, I must add... wink



Again we end up saying things that are similar, but in ways that are different enough to argue about. I would add that what you describe as 'miraculous' others could well define as spiritual or a 'Soul'. I believe Joseph Campbell stated that 'God' was the name we give for that which we cannot describe or understand, - 'miraculous'?
Thinker13
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Posted 12/14/11 - 11:45 AM:

henry quirk wrote:
When I write 'flesh', yes, I literally mean 'flesh'.

The meat of you, the bones, the blood, the sinew, the fat, the organs, etc. as all these components comprise 'you'.


The moment you say 'meat of you'; you distinguish between 'me' and 'meat'. And so on...



This, "the body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul", works, except I see no evidence for 'spirit' or 'soul'.

I believe the flesh is you and you are the flesh.

There is nothing else to you.


In that case too, as I suggested earlier, you're not applying Flesh in the sense 'meat' but as a whole and still (whole-spirit) ; where 'spirit' is an unknown factor.
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Posted 12/14/11 - 11:46 AM:

thedoc wrote:
To say we are just the 'flesh' as you describe it could just as well be applied to all living things, but I believe that humans are more than just instinctive behaviors. I do not believe that any other living thing contemplates who are we, what is out there, and where are we going, whether you believe we are going somewhere or not many people think about it and, as can be seen on internet forums, many argue quite vehemently about it. Other animals only look for food, reproduction, and running away from danger, no in depth thought has ever been demonstrated, only in humans. Because of this I am compelled to consider and believe that there is more to a human being than just the flesh and instinct. If flesh is all there is, why do we ask questions like this on an internet forum?



thumb up
Thinker13
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Posted 12/14/11 - 11:50 AM:

thedoc wrote:



Again we end up saying things that are similar, but in ways that are different enough to argue about. I would add that what you describe as 'miraculous' others could well define as spiritual or a 'Soul'. I believe Joseph Campbell stated that 'God' was the name we give for that which we cannot describe or understand, - 'miraculous'?



Well, 'soul' cannot be considered the 'basis' of differentiation between human and animal. Almost every religion and philosophy I have encountered, which believes in anything called 'soul' or 'spirit' asserts that animals do have souls.

Most of those views say that there is a degree of evolution of soul or refinement of spirit which is higher in human than in most other animals.

So miracle is not 'soul' to be exact in my opinion.

henry quirk
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Posted 12/14/11 - 2:12 PM:

"...what you describe as 'miraculous' others could well define as spiritual or a 'Soul'."

As 'they' like.

##

"The moment you say 'meat of you'; you distinguish between 'me' and 'meat'. And so on..."

Chalk it up to stylistic differences...*shrug*

#

"...you're not applying Flesh in the sense 'meat' but as a whole and still (whole-spirit) ; where 'spirit' is an unknown factor."

No. When I write 'flesh' I mean 'meat' (the meat that 'is' you).

From where I stand: there's no soul to incorporate, to consider, or to weigh.

Spirit or soul is not an 'unknown' factor: it's non-existent.
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