The Definition of Human being Essay

The Definition of Human being
The Definition of Human being

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The Definition of Human being


 Scientist classifies human beings as animals. However, what is human? What makes human distinct from animal kingdom? What is that inspires or motivates us? What is it being human? In contemplation of these questions, the article intends to analyse the literal meaning of being human.  This analysis will facilitate the understanding of my own definition in comparison of the other definition of human being (Clooney, 2016).

This paper defines ‘human being’ and that of being ‘being human.’ This includes the rationale and reasons behind the definition of ‘human being.’ The paper will also reflect on how some people are included or excluded from being human being based on the definition of ‘human being.’ The paper will also discuss ways definition of ‘human being’ and ‘being human’ affects the treatment of other people.  

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Discursive definition

In scientific disciplines, the concept of human being began with Homo sapiens- evolutionary stage of primates.  Nevertheless, human history that begun with invention of writing indicates that most of Homo sapiens did not qualify to definition of human based on their age or disabilities.

In sociology, the trinity of class, gender and racism has been routinely used to describe the gap in the normative definition of an ideal of human. This implies that each candidate will need to pass certain specification or criteria set by the society to earn the status of human being (Clopot, 2014).

 In Christianity, human being concept is based on the narrative of creation in Genesis; which states that each person was created in the image of God. The narration describes how human being was created, breathed into his nostrils by God to make it live. This leads to the generalization of the concept that it is God’s spirit in the created earthling animal that qualifies it has a human being.

Therefore, all human beings reflect their divine origin, and their existence manifests the mystery of God’s presence living in them. Thus, human being is divine, and each person has dignity and worth, which makes everybody to be respected and honoured. This is similar to other religious perspectives of human being; which essentially relies in interpersonal and communal character. It is the freedom enjoyed by a person through social reality. This is because through the connectedness to other people that a person discovers their identity of being human (Forsberg, 2011).

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 Nevertheless, the current world concept human dignity rests on people’s race, social status and achievements. The picture of human being concept has gradually been reshaped by reductionism mode of thinking. This implies that people believe and values in turn shapes how they behave and interact. 

Therefore, if a person’s picture is incomplete or inadequate, it will make the person behaviour fall short of the natural potential causing serious psychosocial implications.  This is not easy to detect or correct. The concept of reductionism of human being is that act of reducing the relevance of something to their counter parts (Rome, 2014).

  What is ‘being human’?  Firstly, it is important to note that the descriptive word ‘being’ is in present tense word; note in future tense or past tense.  The term describes what is being done at the moment, in the present moment.  Being human is a human being state of choosing things that must be done. 

For instance, no one chooses to be angry, upset and fearful or upset; rather one chooses to be happy, confident and peaceful.  In this context, human beings have the freedom to choose. The capability to make decision consciously or unconsciously defines the concept of being human (Sadgrove, 2014).

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 Reflection on how the definitions impact how people are classified and treated

 From evolutionary perspectives, human beings resemble other primates, because they evolved from the primates. Therefore human being and primates shares common ancestry, which makes them to have a lot of similarities. The main factors used to distinguish human beings are language, brain and bipedalism. The uniqueness of bipedalism is unique to human being because they help to propel forward.

Human being language is unique as compared to other animals; as it structure is complex and has evolved to serve wide range of functions.  Human being brain capacity is unique as it is capable of abstract reasoning. The increased mental capacity, language and bipedalism have led to the advancement (Rome, 2014).

 However, high level of human being thought processes have led to greater debates on what constitutes of human being. The meaning of human is not entirely found from scientific view point but rather analysis of other fundamental factors such as personality. For instance, based on the evolutionary criteria of human beings excludes amputees, dumb and mentally ill people. Additionally, what about a human embryo, can they still be categorised as human being (Sadgrove, 2014)?

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 The religious point of view, particularly the Biblical perspectives definition of human being is widely accepted; and can be integrated in diverse disciplines such as criminology.  According to the bible, Human being are in the image of God; and due to this reason, man was given dominion over the animals. The Bible upholds dignity of human life. In fact, being in the image of God indicates that human beings moral values are intrinsically based. 

Additionally, human beings have a spirit within their body (James2:26). This implies that the value of human being is beyond the condition as well as the developmental stage of the human being body. Thus, the identity of human being is more to physical appearances or the measure of their mental capacity (Forsberg, 2011).

 The struggle to define human being does not try to define what constitutes of human life, as biology already defines that human life begins after fertilization.  The main issue is personhood- being human.  For instance, the neurological point of view, the physician definition of brain death is based on the Electroencephalogram (EEG) pattern.

Therefore, they reason or define life based on these standard measurements. Therefore, if person brain functionality has been lost through accidents, are they still human?  Brain functionality is very low during embryo development. Therefore, is abortion at this stage justified (Sadgrove, 2014)?

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 The physiological perspective argues that being human commences at birth, when the child has their own respiratory, circulatory and alimentary systems. In other words, this postmodern view approach considers that being human is the ability to have the essential capacities that differentiate human beings from an animal. However, this is controversial as most of the people do not fully develop these abilities immediately after birth, but a little later during toddlerhood (Rome, 2014).


 Undeniably, the definition of human being affects how people are treated. The main reasons behind health disparities and discrimination is people’s definition of human being and being human.  In my perspectives, it is important to assess the impacts of these definitions. Moral significance of a human being must not be based on functional abilities or extrinsic value that is measurable by medical sciences; but rather to the intrinsic values.

This is attributable to the fact that these extrinsic values can be lost due accidents. It is the natural inherent capacity for self-awareness (self-identify) and a free will (autonomy or choice) that makes us human being; thus, human dignity is preserved even if disease of disability limits the expression of these functions. 


Clooney, F. (2016). The Meaning of Human Existence / The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. Common Knowledge, 22(1), 125-128.

Clopot, C. (2014). Being human, being migrant: senses of self and well-being by Grønseth, Anne Sigfrid. Social Anthropology, 22(4), 506-507.

Forsberg, N. (2011). Knowing and Not Knowing What a Human Being Is. SATS, 12(1), 1-17.

Rome, A. (2014). Being human in early Virginia. Renaissance Studies, 29(5), 701-719.

Sadgrove, M. (2014). Being Human, Being Wise. Pract. Theol., 7(1), 22-33.

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