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Man the Rational Animal

Radio Q&A: 1 July 2012, Question 4

I answered a question on man the rational animal on 1 July 2012. You can listen to or download the podcast of just this question below – or check out the whole episode of Philosophy in Action Radio.

What does it mean to say that "man is a rational animal"? The fact that man is a rational animal distinguishes him from all other living entities and makes the whole of philosophy possible and necessary. But, taking a step back, what does it mean to say that man is a (or the) rational animal? What is rationality, not as a virtue, but as the essential characteristic of man?

My Answer, In Brief: That "man is the rational animal" means that reason is the essential characteristic of human beings.

Tags: Definition, Epistemology, Human Nature, Reason


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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell. I'm a philosopher specializing in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I received my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. My book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, is available for purchase in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck."

My radio show, Philosophy in Action Radio, broadcasts live over the internet on most Sunday mornings and some Thursday evenings. On Sunday mornings, I answer questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life in a live hour-long show. Greg Perkins of Objectivist Answers co-hosts the show. On Thursday evenings, I interview an expert guest or discuss a topic of interest.

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I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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