The Emergence of Human Culture

The Emergence of Human Culture

The Emergence of Human Culture

The Emergence of Human Culture

Excerpt

The question of man's place in the system of living nature has long been one of absorbing human interest. The problem presents special difficulties because of the fact that the answer touches upon man's estimate of his own basic worth. Whether we be scientists or laymen, the theme is likely to arouse within us two more or less conflicting mental attitudes. The one is in harmony with the view that man is merely the most complex and intelligent animal that has been evolved to date. The other inclines us to think of man as a being set apart from the brute creation--unique in both nature and destiny. The first of these views satisfies our intellectual demand for continuity and unity in the natural order, whereas the second makes appeal to our emotional self-conceit.

The notion that man is a mere animal has gained wide acceptance in scientific circles since the time of Darwin. The reason for this is not far to seek. The biologist has shown that man is a vertebrate--along with the fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mam-

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