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What do you think more defines humanity: our will or our ability to rationalize?

onesteptwostep

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#1
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more? Our wills- a desire for dominance, power, grit and glory, or our ability to rationalize- to plan ahead, strategize, contemplate and scrutinize? What is more us, will or wit?
 
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#2
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more?
What is more us, will or wit?
These seem like two different questions, though maybe I'm not getting something.

Our ability to rationalize is definitely what sets us apart from animals. All the qualities you listed as belonging to "will" can be seen in most mammals. While there are some, very few animals do even half the stuff you consider as a part of our ability rationalize.

As for which is more "us" then I would say will. The ability to rationalize is merely a tool(manifestation?both?) of the "will".

You can't(won't?) rationalize without a will. But you don't need to rationalize to have or express your will.
 

Ex-User (8886)

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#3
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more? Our wills- a desire for dominance, power, grit and glory, or our ability to rationalize- to plan ahead, strategize, contemplate and scrutinize? What is more us, will or wit?
Tell me what color, red or blue is better. Then I'll answer yours.
;)
 

RaBind

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#4
Probably our wit. Wit is quite easy to understand. It's like a measure of mental competence, whether through the ability to adapt or simply having more knowledge.

Will is a vaguer concept and one that I'm not sure I fully understand. I've head it being used a lot; To have more will means having more mental fortitude, more stubbornness, more capability to hope/keep hoping, desiring more, having more capability to hold that desire for a longer time and possibly other things.

I think will is made up of more lower level components/concepts that are harder to precisely group together. In fact it could be argued that quite a lot of the concepts that make up will also make up wit. Stuff like mental fortitude and more capability to hope/keep hoping, more capability to hold that desire for a longer time can be argued to be components of wit.

Even if it were crystal clear what will meant it's basically impossible to measure, because desire, which I think is a large component of will, is subjective and possibly very unstable over time.

If you are capable of speaking English, I can rightly predict that there's a high chance you will be still be able to speak English after a given period of time. The same isn't true for desire; and this variability over time is also subjective.

I was also wondering whether will and desire are binary or a continuum. Maybe desire is a binary measure at each point in time and forms the strength of will with regards to duration.

Will can be measured in intensity and duration I suppose.

As far as animals' wills are concerned I fail to see how the parts of wills which are not shared with wit, or are simply mislabeled wit, are less than that of humans'.

Tldr will is a vague concept. It either doesn't mean anything significant because it cannot be measured/compared, or it's just me who doesn't know what it means.
 
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#5
Ability to rationalize is a matter of intelligence/personality.
It is cognitive control focused on the intellectual.
Physical control is the same just the frontal lobes change focus.
The will to think and the will to act both depend on energy levels.

The two definite commonalities are control and energy, intelligence is a side variable.
 

Pyropyro

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#6
I say our wit. We technically have the same will to survive as any lifeforms do (live and procreate). However, we are simply ahead on the wit department.

Animals can plan ahead, strategize etc. (see this stone throwing chimp story). They're just not good at it as we are.
 

redbaron

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#8
unique combination of opposable thumbs and vocal range actually
 

KilledCat

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#9
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more? Our wills- a desire for dominance, power, grit and glory, or our ability to rationalize- to plan ahead, strategize, contemplate and scrutinize? What is more us, will or wit?
I would personally like to quote a great movie to answer this. I believe that it is neither of those but instead, as Galahad said, "Manners maketh man." In my opinion, what makes us human is our ability to treat each other as deserved. If I were to choose one, I would say wit. More often an animal will be seen fighting for something rather than playing practical jokes on one another.
 

Cognisant

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#10
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more? Our wills- a desire for dominance, power, grit and glory, or our ability to rationalize- to plan ahead, strategize, contemplate and scrutinize? What is more us, will or wit?
I'm going to go against everyone else and say willpower.

Spite is derived from will and humans are without doubt the most vindictive species on Earth, if something preys upon us we don't just flee from it or fend it off, we take offence. Even if we're not the one who was attacked the mere notion that anything would dare harm a human is enough to send us into a cold calculating murderous rage, a state of mind so innate to our nature we're hardly aware of it.

Every apex predator on Earth has at some point been pushed to the verge of extinction by humans and they're just the ones that survived, during the paleolithic era we exterminated all the megafauna predators. In the modern day lions instinctively avoid African tribes, they know what happens when a human is killed because we've branded it into their DNA. Tigers likewise avoid humans and when they don't they fear to attack us head on, they're bigger, stronger, faster, but on some instinctive level they know there's something different about humans, something terrifying.

Wild orcas don't attack humans and it's not because they're mammals or we're not the right size for them, we're the same size as a seal and sometimes just as fat. Orcas and dolphins are known to kill for fun but only those that have been kept in captivity and lived for years as circus animals that will finally lose whatever it is that's holding them back, and only then will they attack their keepers.

We think of sharks as being these emotionless killing machines but the truth is whenever you're swimming at a beach there's probably a shark nearby if not in fact several. Sharks have ample opportunity to attack people at beaches across the world but it very rarely happens and when it does the apex predator of the sea usually swims away after the first bite. If a shark really wants to kill you it's going to kill you, there's no if or but about that, they're perfectly evolved for they're environment and we're barely able to swim, they have skin like body armor and have maws full of razor blades and we have no armor, no weapons, nothing.

But who is more of a threat to the other, the shark or the human?
OVERWHELMINGLY the human.

Wits are great, wits enable humans to build cities but it's not wits that enable us to rebuild those cities after they've been flattened by an earthquake. Knock down our towers and we'll build more and we will build them bigger and stronger. Our wit is a tool that enables us to do great things but it is our will that powers it, without the will to act in spite of adversity our wits would useless.
 

Serac

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#11
I don't think any property of humans set us "apart" from animals. Say, is a bat set apart from animals because it uses ultrasonic sounds to navigate in-flight? That's a sophisticated adaptation which we don't have, yet no one claims bats are somehow super-human or super-animalistic. Human cognition is not superior to an animal's cognition, it's just another adaptation emerging from an evolutionary equilibrium.

I think that's also why people are misguided about the notion of AI or super-human AI. One cannot make "super-human" intelligence unless there is such a thing as categorical and absolute intelligence independent of one's environment. We can build machines that are super-human for the purpose of solving specific problems, but nothing more than that.

This is not to say that the question in OP is misguided though – one can always talk about what sets any species apart from other species.
 
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#12
One cannot make "super-human" intelligence unless there is such a thing as categorical and absolute intelligence independent of one's environment. We can build machines that are super-human for the purpose of solving specific problems, but nothing more than that.
Even to have a metacognitive understanding that intelligence exists or that to realize one is capable of asking questions on the nature of reality is something that makes humans unique. No one really thinks intelligence is so category of "absolute" when being super-human. No is it accurate to say A.I. is only cable of solving specific problems. There is no "independence of environment" when it comes to superhuman intelligence. But in order to work the mechanisms to solve general problems must be scalable. It's a question of reality and acting on it to see how it works greater than human. No absolute intelligence and no independence from the environment. That is just wrong thinking on your part about A.I. What makes humans unique is that we understand that we can ask how reality works. We have self-referencing minds. A.I. that can solve general problems will have the capacity to self-reference and utilize metacognition way more efficiently than humans.
 

green acid

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#13
We tyrannise the animals. This is mostly produced by our will. We could co-exist with animals whether or not we have superior intelligence.
 

Haim

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#14
Are we different?
Many times I like to think I am some superior specie, which is correct for some degree, but the fact of the matter is that I don't have special skills I am just better, the mass of idiots also of rational ability, many of them even have more computing power(which they use to effectively smash their heads to a wall ). It is the difference between a Cheetah and a cat.
We have better creativity.

There is no "independence of environment" when it comes to superhuman intelligence.
This is incorrect, a computing device(computer/brain) is always optimized for some range of problems.
For a brain like computing device he is mostly optimized for his goals, in case of humans it is survival related such as communication, killing, walking, hearing.
Generally the brain is bad/unoptimized relative to a computer for tasks which require a lot of precise memory, such as calculating and chess.
Yes general intelligence can learn but it takes time and even then an computing device optimized for a certain problem will be better, such as GPU is much better at parallel tasks than CPU and CPU at non parallel tasks.
 
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#15
@Haim

Serac was making a strawman that A.I. cannot exist because it is defined a priori as not operating in an environment. Which it certainly can. The whole point of general A.I. is that it can be more intelligent than humans because it can generalize more thus be scaleable. Any A.I. optimized for a single task is never going to be smarter than a human especially not genius level general intelligence. The point is to make smarter than human A.I. and that means it will operate in an environment and it will be generalized, not specialized. What you are in fact saying Hain is that you agree with the strawman that A.I. cannot operate in an environment. Which is not true. A.I. can do that and it can become smarter than humans not just specialize. My argument was to show why Serac was wrong superhuman A.I. could not exist, and you come along and argument irrelevant points that we already know. We already know machine learning can be optimized to solve specific problems, that was not the dispute. The question is can A.I. be smarter than humans. I showed that they can. You went off on some random tangent about what we already know computers can do right now. Seracs strawman that superhuman A.I. is impossible because of a priori it can't operate in an environment is hose shit. You missed this completely Haim.
 

Hadoblado

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#16
The ability to change ourselves (clothing, scuba gear, spacesuits, medicine, learning, technology, drugs) or our environment (construction, roads, gardening, agriculture) to better sustain our population both consistently and across varying contexts.

Other animals do some of these things (bees making bee hives for instance), but it's in a very specific way.

Also, language. Other species have communication, we have generative language.

Both of these things come back to intelligence, but hell the fuck no I don't wanna turn another thread into talking about intelligence.

We are different but not special. There are probably other species in the universe that are better at this stuff than us. It's always interesting reading scifi and seeing the authors interpretation of what makes us stand out against a backdrop of fantastical races. It's usually adaptability, and a capacity for both increased cruelty and kindness. But that's probably because the fictional races we're being compared to are derived from human attributes and held less variable.
 

redbaron

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#17
The ability to change ourselves (clothing, scuba gear, spacesuits, medicine, learning, technology, drugs) or our environment (construction, roads, gardening, agriculture) to better sustain our population both consistently and across varying contexts.

Other animals do some of these things (bees making bee hives for instance), but it's in a very specific way.

Also, language. Other species have communication, we have generative language.

Both of these things come back to intelligence,
opposable thumbs

vocal range for complex language

no other animal has these two features together
 

Hadoblado

think again losers
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#18
RB you bludger

While parrots don't have opposable "thumbs", they have opposable digits. They also obviously have the vocal range sufficient for complex language.

I just thought of that just then, imagine how crushed you'd be right now if I bothered doing research? Fucking idiot.
 

onesteptwostep

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#19
If we didnt compare ourselves to animals, what's more us, our will or our wit? I guess what I'm more asking is what the essence of humanity is.
 

sushi

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#21
man is in the middle between robot and animal, or as nietzche said, between beast and overman.
 
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#22
What do you think sets us apart from other animals more? Our wills- a desire for dominance, power, grit and glory, or our ability to rationalize- to plan ahead, strategize, contemplate and scrutinize? What is more us, will or wit?
I would think it is the latter. I don't see how the former differs from, say, a chimpanzees fighting for the dominant seat in a hierarchy. Whereas, the latter alludes to higher cognitive functions.
 
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