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How would you define being "human"?

This question was sparked by a fellow classmate during Theory of Knowledge. He gave some clarifying examples or lead-ins, which may help you guys understand what I'm asking and guide your answers (not toward one answer hopefully).

My classmate said that there was a kid who had lost part of her brain function, due to an accident. Apparently, they put in some sort of device that simulated that area of her brain that was lost. Broadening this concept, if someone's entire brain was replaced with something inorganic and programmed to such an extent that it was indistinguishable from before the surgery, is that person still human? This naturally leads to the subquestion: are a person's traits, emotions, and opinions the only aspect of his humanity or humanness?
After thinking about your response to that situation, what if we flipped the situation? Now we have an inorganic body, but an organic brain. Would you still consider this entity to be 'human'? What if the inorganic body had a non-human shape, such as a triangle? This should all lead to the subquestion: how does an entity's appearance affect its humanness?
Now, the last combination of brain and body: a totally inorganic entity that is seems completely human. This obviously would require a bunch of programming and robotics, but I wouldn't say it's outside of the realm of possibilities (and even if it was, it seems like a good thought experiment to narrow down how you would define humanity). This leads to my last subquestion (for now :)): how does an entity's organic nature (was it born or manufactured) affect its humanity?

I have some ideas currently, but am sure I will have to add on, edit, or completely change my theory after I see your guys' responses! As always, feel free to ask clarifying questions.


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    Nov 17 2013: Being "human" simply refers to membership in the genus homo sapien or simply related to the grouping more commonly called people. We have tagged another sapien to that genus to form homo sapien sapien or wise wise. Of course lots of other connotations have been attached to 'human' as well, but they are secondary to the classification.

    So it would seem that to be deemed human one would have to not just be wise, but to be the wisest of the wise. However, I know that O - along with many others - have a lot of trouble calling us 'wise' and will settle for intelligent' instead to aid in the classification of human. Albeit with the caveat that intelligent is a far cry from wise.

    Then all that remains is to determine if the remaining physiology namely the brain is still intelligent then sure its still a member of the genus human. And I suspect it would be a heck of a lot more comfortable on a long plane flight too :)
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      Nov 18 2013: I thought about just saying that humans are homo sapiens, but I have since changed my thinking. I'm not quite sure how they classify animals, but I'm assuming they wouldn't classify as homo sapien a robot that looks, thinks, senses, and expresses the same way a human does. Would you consider this robot, that is indistinguishable from a human besides its inorganic make-up, a human? This entity would have feelings, opinions, and bias just as you would.
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        Nov 18 2013: it matters not what components are added, we already have pace makers, artificial hearts, artificial limbs and plastic blood is now on the horizon. It seems to traditional means of classifying a homo sapien/human being is the intelligence aspect of that animal and your robotic parts still include an organic brain that most likely still fits that distinction of being intelligent.

        A dog with wheels instead of legs is still a dog and a homo sapiens brain in a mechanical body should then still be a human being.
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          Nov 18 2013: I'm sorry I didn't make it clear, but this hypothetical robot's brain is entirely inorganic. It's been programmed to be human (this level of programming would be much more than just input-output). I do agree with you to some extent that the parts of a human don't affect its humanness.
          Basically, if intelligence can be programmed, would the entity then become human (even if it didn't have an organic brain)?
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        Nov 18 2013: I see. I was responding only to the part about the organic brain and non-organic body. My apologies as well.

        In the case you present I would say they no longer fit the homo sapien label because they would lack the pimate's genetic tags. Granted, they may well be intelligent but it takes both the genes and the intelligence to qualify for homo sapien.

        But I would suggest it is the intelligence and the use of language that matters in any species, organic or other because it is the ability to communicate that will be our bridge of understanding and communion.
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          Nov 18 2013: Wow. During my participation in the class discussion, I also likened the ability to communicate to a bridge. It's like our brains just high-fived :)
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        Nov 18 2013: I am going to lay down now

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