SS #110 – What is a human?

You can’t educate a person – or even be an educated person – without having an answer to the question, “What is a human?” Understanding begins with definitions, and definitions point us to the telos of a thing, the purpose of a thing.

Humans have a nature and purpose. If we are to educate humans, we must do so in light of their nature and purpose.

This episode is the first in a series of three that serves as a follow-up to episode 106: Stop Looking for Hacks (You Need a Philosophy).

In that episode, Mystie and I said that in order to build a rudimentary philosophy, a starter philosophy, a person needs to answer three main questions: what is a human, what is education, and what does a fully educated person look like?

Today we are going to deal with the question of what is a human.

In episode 106, we talked about how it can take a lifetime to answer these questions. There is no shame in starting small and having just a few simple answers and then adding as you read, think, and grow.

Today, we’re not going to give you the definitive answer to this question. Instead, each of us came with 2 observations to make as we work toward a definition.

These are not the only points that could be made; they may not even be the BEST points that could be made. But this sort of discussion is part of the process of fleshing out your philosophy – we often start with what we know, and that may or may not be the best or most important thing.

The important thing is to start.

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What is a person? What is a human?

  • [2:30-17:02] Scholé Everyday segment
  • [21:31] Humans are made in the image of God
  • [25:09] Humans are created; they are not accidents
  • [32:26] Humans are spiritual beings
  • [35:50] Humans are fallen, sinful by nature
  • [43:11] Humans are not determined by genes or environment
  • [46:38] Humans are finite and need teaching

Today’s Hosts and Source

Brandy Vencel
educates three of her four humans at home while her fourth has flown the coop to study at New College Franklin.

Abby Wahl
educates three of her five humans at home while two have moved on and while all pursue hard work on their family sheep ranch.

Mystie Winckler
educates three of her five humans at home while her oldest has joined the real world and her second pursues studies at New St. Andrews college.

Scholé Everyday: What We’re Reading

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

Mystie is listening to this novel for her 5×5 fiction category; she didn’t realize it wasn’t written by a Russian when she began, but it was evident partway through that it is American, not Russian. It’s an enjoyable story, though.

A New Natural Philosophy, Ravi Jain, Robbie Andreasen, & Chris Hall

Abby is reading the latest from Ravi and friends on teaching science classically.

The Girl Who Owned a City, OT Nelson

Brandy rediscovered this childhood favorite after not being able to remember its title or find it for thirty-four years.

Humans are made in the image of God.

Because they are made in the image of God, humans have intrinsic value.

Humans are created; they are not accidents.

Because God created man, male and female, they have meaning and purpose found outside themselves.

Humans are spiritual beings with bodies.

A Human being — I have laid before the reader, as a working hypothesis, –– that man is homogeneous, a spiritual being invested with a body.

Charlotte Mason, School Education

Humans are fallen and now sinful by nature.

Rousseau was dreadfully wrong. Children are not blank slates, and sin doesn’t develop because of bad environments or a lack of opportunity.

There is an Ideal Type for humans, and His name is Jesus. We will never attain perfection in this life. Our ideals are impossible to reach. But we are to imitate our Savior and increase in holiness in this life.

Humans are born with possibility, with capacity.

A person’s fate is not determined by heredity or environment or circumstances.

Humans are finite and in need of teaching.

A person is a body and a soul. Both body and soul need to be nourished and exercised to grow healthily.

Again, Rouseau was wrong. The natural, uninstructed state is not the best state for humans. If left to themselves, children will be a shame to their mother, as Proverbs says.

Mentioned in the Episode

Plato’s Education Philosophy

Any discussion of classical education ought to begin with Plato, the ultimate philosopher and the first thinker on education theory and philosophy that we have written material from his own hand. This guide to Plato’s theory of educational philosophy will not be merely theoretical, but practical for all educators, including homeschool moms. Plato’s education theory…
Read More Plato’s Education Philosophy

Want to talk about the ideas presented here? The conversation is happening inside Sistership.

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