List of alternative names for the human species

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In addition to the generally accepted scientific classification Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"), other Latin-based names for the human species have been created to refer to various aspects of the human character. Some of these are ironic of the self-ascribed nobility immanent in the choice of sapiens, others are serious suggestions as to what Human universals may be considered defining characteristics of the species.

The mixture of serious and tongue-in-cheek self-designation originates with Plato, who on one hand defined man as it were taxonomically as "featherless biped"[1] and on the other as ζῷον πολιτικόν zōon politikon, as "political" or "state-building animal" (Aristotle's term, based on Plato's Statesman).

Name Translation Notes
Homo amans "loving man", "loving people" man as a loving agent; Humberto Maturana 2008
Homo reciprocans "reciprocal man" man as a cooperative actor who is motivated by improving his environment and wellbeing; Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis 1997[2]
Homo oeconomicus "economic man" man as a rational and self-interested agent.
Homo ecologicus "ecological man" A new ecological consciousness for humanity, part of modern environmentalism.[citation needed]
Homo combinans "combining man" man as the only species that performs the unbounded combinatorial operations that underlie syntax and possibly other cognitive capacities; Cedric Boeckx 2009.[3]
Homo degeneratus "degenerative man" a man or the mankind as a whole if they undergo any regressive development (devolution); Andrej Poleev 2013[4]
Homo domesticus "domesticated human" a human conditioned by the built environment; Oscar Carvajal 2005[5]
Homo domesticus "domestic man" man as an urban dweller, dependent on civilization and detached from the natural world; Derrick Jensen 2006[6]
Homo faber "toolmaker man"
"fabricator man"
"worker man"
Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Kenneth Oakley 1949, Max Frisch 1957, Hannah Arendt.[7]
Homo ferox "ferocious man" T.H. White 1958
Homo generosus "generous man" suggested by popular science writer Tor Nørretranders in his book Generous Man on evolutionary theory and sociobiology.
Homo adorans "worshipping man" Man as a worshipping agent, a servant of God or gods.[8]
Homo ludens "playing man" Friedrich Schiller 1795. Suggested by Dutch historian, cultural theorist and professor Johan Huizinga, in his book Homo Ludens. The characterization of human culture as essentially bearing the character of play.
Homo duplex "double man" Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon 1754. Honoré de Balzac 1846. Joseph Conrad 1903. The idea of the double or divided man is developed by Émile Durkheim (1912) to figure the interaction of man's animal and social tendencies.
Homo sociologicus "sociological man" parody term; the human species as prone to sociology, Ralf Dahrendorf.
Homo loquens "talking man" man as the only animal capable of language, J. G. Herder 1772, J. F. Blumenbach 1779
Homo loquax "chattering man" parody variation of Homo loquens, used by Henri Bergson (1943), Tom Wolfe (2006),[9] also in A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960).[10]
Homo necans "killing man" Walter Burkert
Homo demens "mad man" man as the only being with irrational delusions. Edgar Morin 1975
Homo ridens "laughing man" G.B. Milner 1969
Homo sentimentalis "sentimental man" man born to a civilization of sentiment, who has raised feelings to a category of value; the human ability to empathize, but also to idealize emotions and make them servants of ideas. Milan Kundera in Immortality (1990), Eugene Halton in Bereft of Reason: On the Decline of Social Thought and Prospects for Its Renewal (1995).
Homo politicus "political man", "social man" zóon politikón, animal sociale, after Aristotle
Homo inermis "helpless man" man as defenseless, unprotected, devoid of animal instincts. J. F. Blumenbach 1779, J. G. Herder 1784–1791, Arnold Gehlen 1940
Homo creator "creator man" human creativity, Michael Landmann 1955, W.E. Mühlmann 1962
Homo pictor "depicting man", "man the artist" human sense of aesthetics, Hans Jonas 1961
Homo aestheticus "aesthetic man" human sense of aesthetics, tendency to create and enjoy art, Ellen Dissanayake 1992
Homo grammaticus "grammatical man" human use of grammar, language, Frank Palmer 1971
Homo imitans "imitating man" human capability of learning and adapting by imitation, Andrew N. Meltzoff 1988, Jürgen Lethmate 1992
Homo discens "learning man" human capability to learn and adapt, Heinrich Roth, Theodor Wilhelm
Homo educanus "to be educated" human need of education before reaching maturity, Heinrich Roth 1966
Homo investigans "investigating man" human curiosity and capability to learn by deduction, Werner Luck 1976
Homo excentricus "not self-centered" human capability for objectivity, human self-reflection, theory of mind, Helmuth Plessner 1928
Homo metaphysicus "metaphysical man" Arthur Schopenhauer 1819
Homo religiosus "religious man" Alister Hardy
Homo viator "pilgrim man" man as on his way towards finding God, Gabriel Marcel 1945
Homo patiens "suffering man" human capability for suffering, Viktor Frankl 1988
Homo laborans "working man" human capability for division of labour, specialization and expertise in craftsmanship and, Theodor Litt 1948
Animal laborans "laboring animal" Hannah Arendt[7]
Animal symbolicum "symbolizing animal" use of symbols, Ernst Cassirer 1944
Animal rationabile "animal capable of rationality" Carl von Linné 1760, Immanuel Kant 1798
Homo socius "social man" man as a social being. Inherent to humans as long as they have not lived entirely in isolation. Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966).
Homo poetica "man the meaning maker" what separates man from other animals is his unrelenting search for meaning and significance. From Ernest Becker, in The Structure of Evil: "An Essay on the Unification of the Science of Man".
Homo neophilus and Homo neophobus "Novelty-loving man" and "Novelty-fearing man", respectively coined by characters in the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson to describe two distinct types of human being: one which seeks out and embraces new ideas and situations (neophilus), and another which clings to habit and fears the new (neophobus).
Pan narrans "storytelling ape" man not only as an intelligent species, but also as the only one who tells stories. From The Science of Discworld II: The Globe by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen
Pan sapiens or Homo troglodytes "man the ape" man as a member of the genus Pan.[citation needed]
Homo mendax "lying man" man with the ability to tell lies. Fernando Vallejo, Colombian writer
Homo Interneticus "Man as the social globally networked animal" Coined by Dr Aleks Krotoski academic and technology journalist, man the social animal, homo sapiens, utilising the internet as a tool for communication of self-expression, the exchange of ideas, organization and social interaction. From The Virtual Revolution by BBC, Open University
Homo technologicus "technological man" According to science historian Yves Gingras, the world in which we live is a product of human reason. It is the combination of technique and reason which gives birth to technology. Homo sapiens being homo faber, everything that surrounds him can only be artificial that is to say craftwork. In this precise sense, the human animal is necessarily counter-nature, anti-nature, the most paradoxical product of Nature. He has become, in sum, a homo technologicus.[11]
Homo sanguinis "Bloody man" A comment on human foreign relations and the increasing ability of man to wage war by anatomist W. M. Cobb in the Journal of the National Medical Association in 1969 and 1975.[12][13]
Homo mechanicus "Mechanical man" To denote a human that, by virtue of many mechanical augmentations or replacements, can no longer be strictly be categorized as H. Sapiens.[citation needed]
Homo peregrinum "Wandering man" To denote a human that, by virtue of extensive exposure to cosmic radiation, can no longer be strictly be categorized as H. Sapiens due to extensive genetic mutations to core DNA.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Plato defined a human as a featherless, biped animal and was applauded. Diogenes of Sinope plucked a chicken and brought it into the lecture hall, saying: "Here is Plato's human!", Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers 6.40
  2. ^ [1] Homo reciprocans: A Research Initiative on the Origins, Dimensions, and Policy Implications of Reciprocal Fairness
  3. ^ Language in Cognition: Uncovering Mental Structures and the Rules Behind Them, Wiley Blackwell (ISBN 978-1-4051-5882-4)
  4. ^ Homo sapiens contra Homo degeneratus.
  5. ^ Homo Domesticus Theory,
  6. ^ Endgame, Volume 2: Resistance, Seven Stories Press (ISBN 1-58322-724-5).
  7. ^ a b Hannah Arendt. The Human Condition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1958
  8. ^ Alexander Schmemann in 1973, in his book For the Life of the World. This theme is picked up by Dr. James Jordan at the Biblical Horizon Institute, and Dr. Peter Leithart in New Saint Andrews College.
  9. ^ Tom Wolfe, "The Human Beast," 2006 Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  10. ^ Homo loquax nonnumquam sapiens, see List of Latin phrases in A Canticle for Leibowitz
  11. ^ Gingras, Yves (2005). Éloge de l'homo techno-logicus. Saint-Laurent, Québec: Les Editions Fides. ISBN 2-7621-2630-4. 
  12. ^ "Homo Sanguinis Versus Homo Sapiens: Mankind's Present Dilemma". PMC 2611676. 
  13. ^ "An anatomist's view of human relations. Homo sanguinis versus Homo sapiens--mankind's present dilemma". J Natl Med Assoc 67 (3): 187–95, 232. May 1975. PMC 2609302. PMID 1142453.