When we say that humans dominate other species on earth, it looks like a one-sided story written by humans themselves. Because we don't have any understanding how animals or insects look at that dominance. Do we know for sure, that all the animals or insects feel dominated by humans in the same way? In many cases, most animals don't even have any idea or sense that humans are enslaving them. If an ant dies, does another ant perceives it as being killed by a human? It's can be a sort of natural disaster at their level. On a similar note, it's equally possible that animals or insects in their own world ( the limit to which they can sense and perceive things ) must be having a similar concept of dominating other species.

  • But we do understand how animals think about our dominance over them, we have had generations and generations of biologists studying animals and the environmental impact humans have on them. Do you have anything other than conjecture to support the idea that we have zero understanding of how animals view the power dynamic between themselves and humans? Additionally, the phrasing of your question seems like you are asserting that the answer to your question is "no", instead of leaving the question in a neutral state. If you want to posit your own answer to this question you are free to do so.
    – Not_Here
    Sep 25, 2017 at 18:58
  • However, we try on this site to maintain as much neutrality when phrasing questions as possible. Do you think you could rephrase the question in such a way that it is more neutral? As I said above, you can always post your own response to the question as an answer, there is nothing wrong with answering your own question. That is, if your question is truly just "how acceptable is the idea that humans dominate other species?" then you would be well to frame the body in a more neutral tone. If your question is more subtle, then I think you should expand the body with support for your argument.
    – Not_Here
    Sep 25, 2017 at 19:00
  • Hi, welcome to Philosophy SE. Please visit our Help Center to see what questions we answer and how to ask. It seems that humans disagree as to whether they dominate Earth, "there are organisms that are significantly more numerous, cover more of the Earth’s surface and make up more of its living biomass than us", BBC. It is hard to understand what kind of answer you are looking for, why would insects have any concepts at all, let alone a concept of dominance?
    – Conifold
    Sep 25, 2017 at 19:05
  • I did not mean to assert a response. But I could not come up with anything else. Please suggest me how to rephrase it so that it looks neutral.I wanted to know if there is any branch of philosophy that understands that it's possible that humans may not be on the top. It's just they look things like that. For example, if we see smaller human communities, it's a nature to see oneself as the most advanced, powerful or great. Or say in a 2d world one may not want to accept the possibility of 3d. The limitation is with the senses living beings have to get that information.
    – Vishwas
    Oct 6, 2017 at 18:27

1 Answer 1


If we forget about philosophy for a second, humans clearly began to dominate their environment when they learned how to make tools and weapons and harnessed fire.

Insects are largely oblivious to humans, just as they're oblivious to other creatures that are 10,000 times their size. However, larger vertebrates learned to fear humans long ago.

In the philosophical realm, some religions (e.g. Christianity) teach that humans are superior to animals and should exploit them.

I'm not sure what you mean by animals sensing that they "dominate" other species. Predators are certainly aware of which prey species they're capable of catching and killing. Elephants at a waterhole are clearly aware that they can push smaller animals aside. Some insects "enslave" other insect species.

So your question, as it's written, doesn't make a lot of sense. That humans "dominate" animals is a simple fact. If you're asking about the acceptability of exploiting or harming animals, that's another matter. Different philosophers and philosophies have different views.

  • Think of the Queen's corgis. There is a suspicion that they rule England. The cow in India carries a lot of weight. For a time in the 1960s, the French poodles practically ran France. A few examples that animals run the show, and we are but observers.
    – Gordon
    Sep 25, 2017 at 23:43
  • Yes, cows are revered in India, but it's largely symbolic. They hardly control the economy, the political sphere, etc. However, it just occurred to me that it could be argued that there are certain parasites that may influence the way people think. Of course, a lot of people were killed by the Black Plague, as well. Sep 26, 2017 at 0:09

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