More or Less Than Human

The oth­er day NPR’s Talk of the Nation did a seg­ment on David Liv­ing­stone Smith’s book Less Than Human. The book

argues that it’s impor­tant to define and describe dehu­man­iza­tion, because it’s what opens the door for cru­el­ty and genocide.

There have been plen­ty of such episodes.

While lis­ten­ing to the dis­cus­sion, it occurred to me that there is a flip side here. There are mil­lions of peo­ple who human­ize their pet and so treat the ani­mal as a human (or better!).

I won­der if these two phe­nom­e­na occur because we con­tin­ue to be unable to nail down just what it is that makes us human.

In my opin­ion, we will not deter­mine what makes us human until we fig­ure out consciousness.

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