Author Topic: When does a human cease to be a human?  (Read 11456 times)

LMNO

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #60 on: March 25, 2008, 01:27:24 pm »
That's odd... My wife has the same theory. 

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2008, 01:30:15 pm »
if you put it really vague, like,

given two words, if one word has a K in it, and the other doesn't, on average, the word with a K in it is likely to sound more funny than the one without.

it might actually be true, and who knows there might actually be some sort of psycho bio linguistic explanation behind it
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #62 on: March 25, 2008, 04:19:07 pm »
Humanity isn't in genetics.

If it was, than our space colonists could exterminate/enslave/exploit any intelligent life they found on the grounds that alien life doesn't use DNA.  You're just setting us up to repeat everything that was wrong about colonialism!

One could make the argument that some especially intelligent animals (elephants, cetaceans, other great apes and some monkeys) are self-aware enough to warrant some human rights as well.
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LMNO

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #63 on: March 25, 2008, 05:42:47 pm »
Conjecture: A human is an entity that has the capability to think about thinking (Meta).

Further explanantion available, but only upon request.

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #64 on: March 25, 2008, 06:28:06 pm »
that's self-consciousness.

well, not entirely, but it's equivalent with self-consciousness.

no wait, i should say that different, it is my theory that in a similar way that there are certain classes in decidability and computability (in formal math) that are equivalence classes (like the travelling salesman problem and the satisfiability problem ... okay tangent.

either way, in a similar way, i pose that the ability to meta-think and self-consciousness are in the same equivalence class.

what this means is that an entity capable of meta-thinking, must also have self-consciousness, and vice versa.

and i for one, would think it very interesting to speculate what other (mental) abilities are in this same equivalence class. it kind of goes back to a tangent of thought i had with LHXs "origin of the lie" debates. back then i believed that the ability for an entity to produce a certain kind of lie (not mimicry, and a purposeful lie) is also in this equivalence class.

further, but this may be a stretch, i believe that the capability of communicating via language is also in this equivalence class, or perhaps just connected one way. possibly even with a restriction that the grammar must be at least of complexity type 2 (that is, possible to grammar-check with a stack/pushdown automaton, but not a finite-state automaton)

[sorry for wandering into the real of mental masturbation again :-P]
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LMNO

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #65 on: March 25, 2008, 06:31:37 pm »
umm...  By "language", do you mean the ability to construct a hypothetical situation?

Because lots of things communicate, yet we would not call them self-aware, or Meta-thinkers.

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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #66 on: March 25, 2008, 07:37:17 pm »
hm. good point.

by language i meant the sort of thing Steven Pinker talks about in his book "the Language Instinct" :)

he did define the difference between "language" (as he talks about in his book) and, for example, bird song, in his first chapters.

cause bird song is communication, but not what he defines as language.

i kinda forgot there it's not a very clear-cut term, i'll look it up now.

quoting from the first paragraph (just to give you an idea, i hope an actual definition will follow somewhere later)

Quote from: pinker
you and i belong to a species with a remarkable ability: we can shape events in each other's brains with exquisite precision. (....) that ability is language. simply by making noises with our mouths wwe can reliably cause precies new combinations of ideas to arise in eachother's minds

hm. leafing through the first chapter and a half, i'm probably skimming over it, but i can't find the definition, especially the bit where he defines "language" as something different than what birds use to communicate.

i fully admit that without a proper definition for "language", my statement is meaningless.

this definition is in my mind, but i wanna quote pinker's one, because it's written down so concisely. it's something to do with

- having a grammar/syntax (more accurately, a certain level of complexity in the syntax)
- being able to express a (theoretically) infinite number of ideas/concepts

actually, i think that's sort of it. especially the infinity bit. birds only know a finite number of songs and can only communicate a finite number of things. same with ants (pheromones) or plants (whatever it is they do again) or wolves or whatever.

while on the other hand, humans and certain species of monkeys (apes?) can communicate an infinity of concepts. dolphins are also self-conscious, but i'm not sure about their language-using abilities (hence my reservation that language might only be related to, not equivalent with, self-consciousness. language implies self-consciousness, but not necessarily the other way around--though i'm not entirely sure about that, but i can't prove it anyway).
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Re: When does a human cease to be a human?
« Reply #67 on: March 26, 2008, 03:18:24 am »
It seems to me that you can philosophize all day about the meaning of a single word, such as “human”.  I’m a little too tired to get myself very deep here, but what one means or understands by a word is relative to one’s own personal grouping of language constructs or ideas.  What IS anything?  What am I or you or god, and so on…  Where do we draw the line?  How “big” is the Sun?  I doubt we can argue what anything “is”.  (it’s so difficult not to start quoting and/or copying Wilson)

Quote
I have my own ideas.  I think you stop being a human when you no longer need other people for any reason.  Everything else still seems human to me.  Even without anything recognizably human, if it still wants interaction with people on a social level like we all do, it still counts as fully human to me.

You can pick your criteria any which way here.  There is no correct model.  Every model is true in some sense, false in another-just kidding, I’ll stop.  Let us take Nietzsche’s Will to Power as our system and label the human at the level of successfully evolving such complex/successful systems of power, just beneath the godhead (sorry Nietzsche).  Perhaps the utilitarians are on to something; In which case, the dolphins should be far more “human” than we.  I think it’s a matter of preference, perhaps.  I rather fancy the prospect of becoming MORE than human… expanding our definitions, and maybe evolving new ones (just as we do with our explanations in science).   Also, one last comment on the above quote:  Social dependence seems to me to be a drastic oversimplification of humanity, if one assumes losing it deprives one of one’s humanity.  Perhaps letting go of any social dependence could be a step UP the ladder.

Now, I ascertain that the original intended context of the question of what is human was related to political implications and such.  Well, obviously this was stated, so I suppose this and the previous sentence were terribly verbose-However!Q!  On that subject, call it human or create a new concept.  Use an old term like “cyborg” or simply divide “human” and “neo-human” and adopt a stance on which is higher on the evolutionary scale (or not).

As has been mentioned, we’ve drastically altered our current physical/psychological nature over a linear time scale from our habits, consumptions, drugs, environs, etc.  As a matter of intelligence, it seems we are already far beyond the event horizon of cognitive shift as a species.  We had extended our intelligence significantly in pre-modern time through psychoactive, occult, scientific and mystical endeavors, and have exponentially increased our rate doing so with modern day technology.  We’re on the verge of technological telepathy (the neckband thought-controlled phone for instance), telekinesis (emotiv’s headset http://www.emotiv.com/ set for release this year, monkey and the robotic arm, various other impressive research going on across the globe), teleportation (see Quantum Teleportation, although there are completely different methods also afoot), AI (http://kurzweilai.net/ ), and I believe we may soon seen the dawn of VIRTUAL REALITY, the implications of which I have not the time in this discourse (they are HUGE). 

If an artificially intelligent being created through the results of the same evolutionary chain that caused an early hominid to pick up a stick or rock possesses the emotional complexity of a human (whatever that will be by that time), it will certainly surpass us in other ways (cognitive speeeed and unfathomable memory recall for starters).  Whether we call it “human”, “neo-human”, “robot” or some other nonsense, it will certainly have it’s own outlook on the matter.

If we wish to set some level of consciousness, we do not even know where a “human” stands next to a dolphin.  Something I read recently, in comparing us with dolphins stated, “If you rip off our hands and throw us out into the ocean we won’t look very intelligent.”  I think someone said that on a youtube video response.  LoL  Imagine encountering an alien race or suddenly being able to conversate with dolphins.  What then might we consider strictly “human”?