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Humanities 2018, 7(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/h7020039

Were Neanderthals Rational? A Stoic Approach

1
MARETEC—LARSyS, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Avenida Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
2
School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199, USA
3
ReasonIO, 630 N. 4th St. #820, Milwaukee, WI 53203, USA
4
Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter EX4 4RJ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 19 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Re-assessing Human Origins)
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Abstract

This paper adopts the philosophical approach of Stoicism as the basis for re-examining the cognitive and ethical relationship between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals. Stoicism sets out a clear criterion for the special moral status of human beings, namely rationality. We explore to what extent Neanderthals were sufficiently rational to be considered “human”. Recent findings in the fields of palaeoanthropology and palaeogenetics show that Neanderthals possessed high-level cognitive abilities and produced viable offspring with anatomically modern humans. Our discussion offers insights for reflecting on the relationship between humans and other forms of natural life and any moral obligations that result. View Full-Text
Keywords: circles of concern; eudaimonia; human evolution; speciesism; stoicism and science circles of concern; eudaimonia; human evolution; speciesism; stoicism and science
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Whiting, K.; Konstantakos, L.; Sadler, G.; Gill, C. Were Neanderthals Rational? A Stoic Approach. Humanities 2018, 7, 39.

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