The Question of an Answer: What is is to be human?

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The body is socially constructed; and in this paper we explore the various and ever-

changing constructions of the body, and thus of the embodied self......The one word, body,

may therefore signify very different realities and perceptions of reality.....(Synnot 1992,


It has been said that in order to understand life and society, we as people must first

understand ourselves. Who are we as a people? Who are we as individuals? Who are we

as humans? These questions all present themselves when discussing a topic such as this. I

believe that it is indeed important to ask questions such as these, and also as important to

answer them. All of this assuming of course, that there is one specific answer. My

problem begins here, in that I do not believe that there is one defined answer to these

questions. As you will see, many 'great philosophic minds' have different views and

beliefs relating to these questions, and it is my job to sort through these different beliefs

and discover......

What it is to be human

It seems that for ages the human body has been studied and inspected. However,

literal 'inspection' only takes us so far. As humans, we all know that there are parts of

our 'being' that are intangible. Take thoughts, dreams, and things of the like. We know

they exist, yet they are unable to be inspected scientifically (to any valuable degree at

least). The distinction between beliefs begins here. How one views this intangible side of

life with respect to the tangible, is the factor that defines one's beliefs.

There are several ways in which one may view the body. A dualist is one who

views the body and mind, or tangible and intangible, as two separate intities existing

together to form one being. The principle...