Study a human scientifically

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“You cannot study a human scientifically in the same way as you can study any other animal.” Discuss. To fully answer the question, we must make sure we actually understand what is meant by scientifically study; when we look it up in the dictionary we get the following definition: “The use of techniques to investigate phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.”

That said my feelings are divided. On one hand I totally disagree, on the other hand a major part of me sais that there must be some truth in that statement. As I just said a part of me disagrees, because not only can we study the anatomy of animals in the same way we do for humans, but we are also starting to understand both their mental state (i.e. their emotions, their thoughts, …) and their communication system. At a scientific level they recently taught monkeys to express both their feelings and their desires by the use of sign language. Nevertheless at our level we can easily recognise if our pets are happy, hungry or even if there are tired.

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On the other hand there is a limitation in the study of animals. Firstly we quickly realises that the human brain is much more complex. Nevertheless during the last five decays, many philosophers and psychoanalyst have made huge discoveries about the human brain and how it works. They have done that using different techniques, for instance dream analysis; which cannot be applied to animals.

Secondly, science is based on our senses and our logic. But can we really trust our senses? Aren’t we just trying to make our complex and chaotic surrounding easy to understand for our limited brain by trying to explain everything with formulas? Our senses are based on our perception, our ability to use our combined senses to understand and interact with our environment. Using information from our senses we can use as a basis for further investigation and inductive and deductive reasoning to understand things unrelated to those our senses are able to perceive, how are we to trust our rationalist thoughts if we are unsure as to whether we trusted our senses in the first place?

Is there anyway we can test and prove that our senses are what we believe they are, could this become the path that our senses can lead us to truth? As a conclusion I mostly agree with the statement, nevertheless I don’t exactly know it to what extend. Such conflict will only be able to solve in the future as we don’t have the technology required at the moment.


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