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Do humans ever act on instinct?

Animals are supposed to act by instinct and learning. Humans, on the other hand, have the capacity choose their actions based on rational thought. Does that mean that humans don't have any instincts, not even an instincts to live, eat, sleep, or procreate? Or do we have some instincts, but those can be overridden by reason?

Anonymous , 08.12.2012, 17:50
Idea status: under consideration


DianaHsieh, 08.12.2012, 17:53
I had to delete and resubmit this question. Here's a comment from Jae that got deleted along with the original version of the question:

I'll answer this question with another one:

Q. "What context would be relevant for holding that humans do or do not have instincts?"

A. If there is no proper context then the question presupposes the arbitrary. As we are the only conceptual beings we know of, minus discovery of, interaction with, and study of another conceptual life-form (e.g., E.Ts), we have nothing to compare ourselves to. So reason not only trumps "instinct" - it renders the concept, for humans, arbitrary.

Thanks for asking,

DianaHsieh, 08.12.2012, 17:54
And here's a comment from Phillip that got deleted along with the original version of the question:

Instinct is somekind of a natural urge, a propensity that drives man to act, It might well be associated with a natural kind of motivation, conviction and passion for something. Reason is the government of the man, it steers man in his choices to yield the best outcome thus reason controls the execution of instincts towards the best outcome
Liviu, 08.12.2012, 23:50
I am sure that both instinct and reason are specific to animals and humans. Reason is governing the behavior of human and animals, as well as instinct is part of animals and humans life. Articulated language is the only great distinction between these two categories. Education makes language a means to improve reasoning and to manage instincts in some (considered) positive ways. Finally, an ”educated” man is a problem of convention, education and behavior. Killing instincts is not all the time a preferable and reasonable behavior. I'd compare instinct-reason binom with materialism-spirituality binom. Both co-exist but in different proportions. There is no radical cut/ limitation between the two components of every binom. Sometimes animals seems/ are more rationale than humans and humans are too instinctual to be called humans...

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