What is a human?

Our behaviors are linked to two major phenomena:


Our genetic heritage or instinct, linked to the evolution of species.


Culture or social organization, ie know-how, social rules and beliefs, transmitted from generation to generation, which are not necessarily universal.

Our behavioral genetic heritage consists of the following two main elements: social ambition, and cognitive dissonance.

Social ambition is the desire we have to climb the social hierarchy.

The resolution of cognitive dissonance is the ability we have to irrationally reconcile contradictory facts.

Why is it important to know what a human is from a scientific point of view, and not as a result of simple introspection?

If we want to deal with the subject 'how to properly organize collective functioning', common sense dictates that we start by clearly defining our subject, ie what a human is.

Marx had carried out a very rigorous analysis of the functioning of capitalism. To Marx's defence, all philosophers allow themselves the same casualness: starting from a vision of the human being resulting from simple introspection or personal experience, and deducing from it a supposed optimum collective organization.

Consequences of human nature at the level of social organization

To be satisfactory, the social organization must take into account our genetic heritage, and limit the negative consequences. From capital to reason demonstrates that framing the decision-making process is a necessary condition for building a satisfactory social organization.

Likewise, a social organization that falls into one of the following two failings cannot be satisfactory:


Calling for more morality, that is to say a human being freed from his genetic heritage.


Justify social violence by: it is natural, in the order of things, that the strong crush the weak.

Refer to the questions 'What are the consequences of social ambition?' Then, refer to the question 'What is the great discovery of the book From capital to reason ?'.


Watch the audiovisual report Caribbean Primates by Jack Silberman and Jean-Christophe Ribot, available on Arte replay.
Defining what a human is on a scientific basis is the central object of the first part of the book. From capital to reason.


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