TSI Reading Practice Quiz 5
Please take a moment to complete this quiz.
Read the following passage and answer the question

The following passage is from a discussion of various ways that living creatures have been classified over the years.



     The world can be classified in different ways,


depending on one's interests and principles of clas-


sification. The classifications (also known as


taxonomies) in turn determine which comparisons


seem natural or unnatural, which literal or analog-


ical. For example, it has been common to classify


living creatures into three distinct groups—plants,


animals, and humans. According to this classifica-


tion, human beings are not a special kind of


animal, nor animals a special kind of plant. Thus


any comparisons between the three groups are


strictly analogical. Reasoning from inheritance in


garden peas to inheritance in fruit flies, and from


these two species to inheritance in human beings,


is sheer poetic metaphor.



     Another mode of classifying living creatures is


commonly attributed to Aristotle. Instead of treat-


ing plants, animals, and humans as distinct


groups, they are nested. All living creatures


possess a vegetative soul that enables them to


grow and metabolize. Of these, some also have a


sensory soul that enables them to sense their envi-


ronments and move. One species also has a


rational soul that is capable of true understanding.


Thus, human beings are a special sort of animal,


and animals are a special sort of plant. Given this


classification, reasoning from human beings to all


other species with respect to the attributes of the


vegetative soul is legitimate, reasoning from


human beings to other animals with respect to the


attributes of the sensory soul is also legitimate,


but reasoning from the rational characteristics of


the human species to any other species is merely


analogical. According to both classifications, the


human species is unique. In the first, it has a king-


dom all to itself; in the second, it stands at the


pinnacle of the taxonomic hierarchy.



      Homo sapiens is unique. All species are. But


this sort of uniqueness is not enough for many


(probably most) people, philosophers included. For


some reason, it is very important that the species


to which we belong be uniquely unique. It is of


utmost importance that the human species be


insulated from all other species with respect to


how we explain certain qualities. Human beings


clearly are capable of developing and learning


languages. For some reason, it is very important


that the waggle dance performed by bees * not


count as a genuine language. I have never been


able to understand why. I happen to think that the


waggle dance differs from human languages to


such a degree that little is gained by terming them


both "languages," but even if "language" is so


defined that the waggle dance slips in, bees still


remain bees. It is equally important to some that


no other species use tools. No matter how inge-


nious other species get in the manipulation of


objects in their environment, it is absolutely


essential that nothing they do count as "tool use."


I, however, fail to see what difference it makes


whether any of these devices such as probes and


anvils, etc. are really tools. All the species


involved remain distinct biological species no


matter what decisions are made. Similar observa-


tions hold for rationality and anything a computer


might do.

According to the author, what is most responsible for influencing our perception of a comparison between species?

TSI Information

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Some questions are from the following sources:
Erik Jacobsen at
From the New York State Education Department. "High School Regents Examinations".  Internet. Available from; accessed 8/29/2011.
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