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Chapter V

The Concept of
a Human Being
Presented to:
Sir Arvin Llejes
The Concept of a Human Being SEARCH
What makes us human?
The ancient Greeks, particularly the pre–
Socratics, were concerned about the origins of
the cosmos.
Plato’s division of worlds –
the world of ideas and the world of the senses

One of the earliest theories

regarding the human nature
came from the Greek
philosopher Plato.

For example,
everyone has an
idea of a dog. And
when we compare
one dog from other
dogs, we realize that
they are different,
but we still
recognize them as
dogs because of our
idea of a dog
For Plato, a human being is composed of body
and soul, but he argues that the human is
essentially his soul.

Prior to human being’s existence in this physical

world (of the senses) the soul is residing in the
world of ideas, so that the original condition of
human beings is that of a soul.
Plato looks at the body
with contempt because it is
the source of our errors.
The body, together with
everything in the world of
the senses, is therefore
considered as having less
or even no value at all.

Plato’s concept of a human being is the
soul’s division into three parts:

Reasoning Spiritedness Appetites

Plato’s Analogy of the State to the Individual

State Individual Function Virtue

Rulers Head Rational Wisdom

Soldiers Chest Spirited Courage

Workers Stomach Appetitive
Plato’s most famous student

He believes that human beings are

composed of body and soul
2 co-principles
& that Aristotle
considers things
Viewed as the
potentiality to receive
the form
Viewed as potency in

Principle which actualizes
a thing and makes a thing

FORM what it is

Viewed as an act in short

As co-principles, matter and
form do not exist in
themselves separately.

In relation to the human being,

Aristotle claims that the form refers
to the soul while matter refers to the

There will never be a moment when

matter or form will exist
independently of each other
because they are only principles and
do not possess existence of their
Cadaver. a dead
body: one intended for
The body holds a new form, that of
a cadaver.

Aristotle divides the functions of soul into three:
1. Nutrition 2. Sensation 3. Intellection
The special purpose or activity for which a thing is used.

Nutritive function Sensitive function Sensitive function

– is that which we – is that which we – is that which we
share with plants share with animals share with animals

The concept of function must be
further explained in considering
what a human being is.
In the case of human being, its
good refers to the practice of its
function. A human being who just practices
his nutritive and sensitive
functions can hardly be called a
Without the practice of the human being.
intellective functions, the quality
of being human is always put into
question. 22
According to Aristotle, to be a human being
means to practice its highest function, and we
therefore say that human beings are rational

The French Philosopher Rene Descartes, widened the
gap between the b o d y and the s o u l .

The only thing in this world which cannot be doubted is

the existence of the t h i n k i n g itself.
Descartes argues for
the real distinction
between the body and
the soul.
He began with
doubting everything
that had previously
been considered as
The senses are
the sources of
knowledge, and
that the senses
are not reliable.

does not
How many times have you experienced
being in a situation which appears to be
so real only to realize that you were
dreaming after waking up? 30
Can he deny himself
altogether? Is not possible
that he does not exist?

But he cannot doubt his thinking because his thinking requires a subject – the thinker
And the more he rejects his existence, the more he becomes certain that he exists.

The subject I however, of this claim does
not refer to a man, or to rational animal.

The existence of the soul is

more distinct and clear than
I think, therefore, I am the existence of the body,
leaving us with the idea that
man is more certain of the
existence of his soul than the
e x i s t e n c e o f h i s b o d y.
Descartes ultimately, proved the existence of his own
body and all external things as well.

Plato Aristotle Descartes

Human beings as composite of body and soul, and as having an essential
characteristic of rationality.
The dualistic view of man considers man as having two essential
elements: a body and a soul.
Thank you for listening!
Any questions?

Presented by:

Zunco | Raquedan | Sorro | Talibsao