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Old 03-23-2010, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Tampa
3,981 posts, read 9,244,327 times
Reputation: 1164

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What defines human?

What is excluded?

Is a brain dead person human?
What about a sociopath?
How much artificialness can you have and still be human?
Is a human brain in a robot body human?
What if the robot is a dogs body?
What if its just consciousness transferred to a computer?


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Old 03-23-2010, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,574,557 times
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Homo sapiens is what makes a human a human. Upupu epops is what makes a hoopoe a hoopoe.

Some of your questions lend themselves to the anecdote about Abe Lincoln's axe. The head has been replaced three times and the handle twice, but it's the same axe.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Location: John & Ken-ville
13,692 posts, read 15,120,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalblue View Post
What defines human?

What is excluded?

Is a brain dead person human?
What about a sociopath?
How much artificialness can you have and still be human?
Is a human brain in a robot body human?
What if the robot is a dogs body?
What if its just consciousness transferred to a computer?


Is a brain dead person human?

Yes, it's not the fact that you have consciousness that makes you human.

What about a sociopath?

Yes a sociopath is a human with a warped way of processing stimuli.

How much artificialness can you have and still be human?

She may not look like it... but she's still human.




Is a human brain in a robot body human?

No, a human brain in a robot body will still be a robot with a human's brain. It's not only the brain but all the constituent parts that go together like body composition, the arrangement of our chromosomes, sensations, aesthetics, consciousness or lack of, emotions and human experience and history that make us human.

What if the robot is a dogs body?

A robot with a dogs body isn't human. It's a mechanical artificial dog.

What if its just consciousness transferred to a computer?

Is human consciousness tangible? Something which can be captured precisely as it is in a human and uploaded to a computer? Maybe in the future with neural networks that have bio-engineered nerve cell technology, but not today. It still won't be human, it will be synthetic.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Sango, TN
24,889 posts, read 20,314,353 times
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Humans commonly refers to the species Homo sapiens (Latin: "wise man" or "knowing man"),[3][4] the only extant member of the Homo genus of bipedal primates in Hominidae, the great ape family. However, in some cases the term is used to refer to any member of the genus Homo.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:39 PM
 
Location: Tampa
3,981 posts, read 9,244,327 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyGem View Post




Is a human brain in a robot body human?

No, a human brain in a robot body will still be a robot with a human's brain. It's not only the brain but all the constituent parts that go together like body composition, the arrangement of our chromosomes, sensations, aesthetics, consciousness or lack of, emotions and human experience and history that make us human.
So, when this happens, does this individual lose their rights? or will the laws change?

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Old 03-23-2010, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Sol System
1,493 posts, read 2,777,527 times
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That is a query you must endeavour to answer on your own.
If you are seeking random opinions , then I am inclined to say the 'laws' would have to change. Lack thereof would lead to rebellion.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:23 PM
 
252 posts, read 580,936 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyGem View Post
Is a brain dead person human?

Yes, it's not the fact that you have consciousness that makes you human.

Is a human brain in a robot body human?

No, a human brain in a robot body will still be a robot with a human's brain. It's not only the brain but all the constituent parts that go together like body composition, the arrangement of our chromosomes, sensations, aesthetics, consciousness or lack of, emotions and human experience and history that make us human.
I actually feel that the exact opposite is true and that its the human consciousness that makes us human. The rest is just meat. A braindead hunk of meat kept alive via machines is much less human than a functioning brain in a metal body.

For fun I'm going to give a ridiculous example to back my opinion. Lets say humans learn to do 100% successful brain transplants. Alice is peppered with the uber-cancer but her brain is good so she decides she wants a donor body. Her body gives out so she is put in a temporary robo-body while she waits. She still thinks like Alice and the robo body functions like a human body, but its made of plastic, metal, synthetic hormones, and the like. Is she still Alice? In my opinion, yes.

Months pass and a suitable donor body is found. The body belongs to a woman named Jane who had a ginormous brain tumor. They remove Jane's brain and replace it with Alice's and when Jane/Alice awakes from the surgery, she has all of Alice's memories and personality. Does this make her Alice or Jane? Arguably, she would be Alice.

Of course, a human persona that was recorded to a computer to be kept alive I think is more human than a hunk of meat also, so I could be terribly off on this one.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Between Philadelphia and Allentown, PA
5,077 posts, read 12,710,230 times
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Humans have souls. A conscience, etc. Even a sociopath has a soul, it's just very disturbed and doesn't see life as a non-sociopath would have.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Corydon, IN
3,685 posts, read 4,125,174 times
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While the question is interesting in and of itself, debating the answers is a lot like debating morality.

I can tell you what *I* consider "Human-vs-human" but others will disagree heartily. As has already happened, some will speak of the "soul", a notion which still others will eschew forthright, even flippantly.

For some, genetics is entirely enough, the ONLY definition of "human". I find this sardonically humorous given that medical triage means remarkably different things to evaluator and casualty.

For others a moral code is necessary and for others still not merely a moral code but one which fits their own moral paradigm. In all such evaluations you have to remember that the Golden Rule seldom is practiced for all that it's vaunted, and good for the goose/gander is essentially meaningless to people at large since, figuratively speaking, I can perform any given act in a reasonable and self-monitored fashion while you can't be trusted to drop an orange and make it hit the floor.

Personally, I think most everyone walking around today is a glorified monkey in a skin-suit, merely "human"; however, I think sometimes we run across Humans, and they make all that effort, trial and error well worth the trouble. Or maybe they're all stars and some merely shine brighter than others.

Or...

I should recommend Terry Pratchett's novel Hogfather, or even the BBC production thereof. Feel free to PM me, should you care.
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