In general, the list of uniquely human characteristics has been reduced over history, with the definition of humanity extending progressively to acommodate more members (from an initial definition that, for instance, included only adult white males in Western cultures). This paper reflects on apparent trend of extending humanity and reducing uniqueness and its moral implications, with a special emphasis on the issues brought forth by functionalism and the ideas of some transhumenists, particularly the ones that defend extensive humanisms. We propose that although extending humanity is the morally correct course of action when dealing with living beings, it could pose some threats when reflecting about intelligent machines. We defend that the existence of a subject is a necessary condition for humanity. Given that this is not objectively verifiable, we propose an objetive proxy for subjectivity based on the strong emergence of seemingly conscious behaviour.
Published on paper: September 2017.
S. Lumbreras. Will we always be special? Extending humanity, reducing uniqueness. Antonianum. Vol. 92, nº. 2-3, pp. 275 - 288 September 2017.