June 1, 2008
What Does It Mean to Be Human?
Sort of a mini-Edge Question over at Wired Science: What does it mean to be human?
I liked Daniel Dennett’s answer:
We are the first species that represents our reasons, and can reason with each other. “The planet has grown a nervous system,” he said.
That’s a nice twist on the usual (to my mind, pretty fluffy) gaia-talk. Language is important because it’s an interconnect. Earth has supported nodes for a long time: bacteria, fish, dinosaurs, dragonflies, all that. But humans (and other smart species, like chimps and dolphins) introduce edges for the first time — connections — so suddenly larger patterns can start to form.
It’s just math!