Difference between revisions of "Nonhuman persons"

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'''Nonhuman persons''' are entities which are not ''Homo sapiens'' but still qualify as a [[personhood|person]]. In common parlance, the words "human" and "person" are used interchangeably, because, for the most part, every human being is a person, and there don't appear to be any nonhuman persons in existence. However, I think that there are three different categories of entities that are not humans, but are still people. These three categories don't appear to exist in the real world, but all appear to be possible.
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'''Nonhuman persons''' are entities which are not ''Homo sapiens'' but still qualify as a [[personhood|person]]. In common parlance, the words "human" and "person" are used interchangeably, because, for the most part, every human being is a person, and there don't appear to be any nonhuman persons in existence. However, I think that there are three different categories of entities that are not humans, but are still people. All three categories seem possible but don't appear to exist, so I will give examples from fiction.
  
 
==Intelligent Aliens==
 
==Intelligent Aliens==
While there is no credible evidence of life on other planets, let alone intelligent life, there doesn't appear to be anything special about the formation of life on Earth that would prevent it form springing up on other planets as well (a process called [[Wikipedia:Abiogenesis|abiogenesis]]. If we were to meet an extraterrestrial life form, and it were sufficiently intelligent, it would be proper to call it a person.
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While there is no credible evidence of life on other planets, let alone [[Wikipedia:Extraterrestrial intelligence|intelligent life]], there doesn't appear to be anything special about the formation of life on Earth that would prevent it form springing up on other planets as well (a process called [[Wikipedia:Abiogenesis|abiogenesis]]. If we were to meet an extraterrestrial life form, and it were sufficiently intelligent, it would be proper to call it a person even though it is clearly not a human.
  
Examples of nonhuman aliens from fiction include Chewbacca from ''[[Star Wars]]'', the Na'vi from ''[[Avatar (2009 film)|Avatar]]'', and E.T. from ''[[E.T. the Extraterrestrial]]''.
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Examples of nonhuman alien persons from fiction include Chewbacca from ''[[Star Wars]]'', the Na'vi from ''[[Avatar (2009 film)|Avatar]]'', and E.T. from ''[[E.T. the Extraterrestrial]]''.
  
 
==Artificial Intelligence==
 
==Artificial Intelligence==
Computer scientists have only been working on artificial intelligence for a couple decades, but already they have created artificial intelligence that can beat pretty much every human endeavor. However,  
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Computer scientists have only been working on [[Wikipedia:artificial intelligence|artificial intelligence]] (AI) for a couple decades, but already they have created some very impressive programs. Currently, it appears that artificial intelligences can be designed to perform any task vastly superior to what any human can do, but nobody has been able to create an AI that is conscious. However, since there doesn't appear to be anything supernatural about the human brain, an artificial consciousness should be possible. If that happens, the AI will not only be a nonhuman person, but will also become the first nonliving person.
  
Examples of artificial intelligence from fiction include Data from ''[[Star Trek: The Next Generation]]'', the replicants from [[BladeRunner]], and Marvin from ''[[The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy]]''.
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Examples of artificial intelligence persons from fiction include Data from ''[[Star Trek: The Next Generation]]'', the replicants from [[BladeRunner]], and Marvin from ''[[The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy]]''.
  
 
==Evolved Animals==
 
==Evolved Animals==
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Complex consciousness appears to have only evolved a single time on Earth in our human ancestors. Some anthropologists argue that the more intelligent animals like chimpanzees and dolphins have a limited consciousness, but it is not to the level of humans. However, there doesn't appear to be anything to prevent a species that currently doesn't have consciousness from evolving into one that does. Given our current understanding of genetics and our propensity for breeding, humans may one day even create a nonhuman with consciousness.
  
As an example from fiction, the apes from ''[[Planet of the Apes]]''.
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There are fewer examples of nonhuman animal persons in fiction, but it is a sub-genre called [[Wikipedia:Uplift (science fiction)|uplift]]. The most popular example I can think of are the apes from ''[[Planet of the Apes]]''.
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==Links==
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[[Category: Philosophy]]

Revision as of 09:21, 24 May 2019

Nonhuman persons are entities which are not Homo sapiens but still qualify as a person. In common parlance, the words "human" and "person" are used interchangeably, because, for the most part, every human being is a person, and there don't appear to be any nonhuman persons in existence. However, I think that there are three different categories of entities that are not humans, but are still people. All three categories seem possible but don't appear to exist, so I will give examples from fiction.

Intelligent Aliens

While there is no credible evidence of life on other planets, let alone intelligent life, there doesn't appear to be anything special about the formation of life on Earth that would prevent it form springing up on other planets as well (a process called abiogenesis. If we were to meet an extraterrestrial life form, and it were sufficiently intelligent, it would be proper to call it a person even though it is clearly not a human.

Examples of nonhuman alien persons from fiction include Chewbacca from Star Wars, the Na'vi from Avatar, and E.T. from E.T. the Extraterrestrial.

Artificial Intelligence

Computer scientists have only been working on artificial intelligence (AI) for a couple decades, but already they have created some very impressive programs. Currently, it appears that artificial intelligences can be designed to perform any task vastly superior to what any human can do, but nobody has been able to create an AI that is conscious. However, since there doesn't appear to be anything supernatural about the human brain, an artificial consciousness should be possible. If that happens, the AI will not only be a nonhuman person, but will also become the first nonliving person.

Examples of artificial intelligence persons from fiction include Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the replicants from BladeRunner, and Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Evolved Animals

Complex consciousness appears to have only evolved a single time on Earth in our human ancestors. Some anthropologists argue that the more intelligent animals like chimpanzees and dolphins have a limited consciousness, but it is not to the level of humans. However, there doesn't appear to be anything to prevent a species that currently doesn't have consciousness from evolving into one that does. Given our current understanding of genetics and our propensity for breeding, humans may one day even create a nonhuman with consciousness.

There are fewer examples of nonhuman animal persons in fiction, but it is a sub-genre called uplift. The most popular example I can think of are the apes from Planet of the Apes.

Links