One thing I learned in Philosophy of Science class was that the definition of Species can be a very difficult thing to pin down exactly. My question (I think I have several) involves the definition of Human in relation to other animals. Say that we were to all agree on a definition of Human (imagine that!), and this definition describes humans along only psychological and mental properties.
Assuming such a definition were possible - would this definition hold true for some 'intelligent' alien species (let's call them X)? Say their minds worked like exactly like ours. Would X truly be a different species?
Let me put it another way. In science and futurism, one thing that often comes up as possibly happening at some point in the future is what's called Mind-Uploading. It's something to do with a human brain being successfully emulated by a computer; copying and loading a simulated model of someone's brain, such that people - humans - can 'live' inside a computer. Basically, what's going on in the Matrix. I personally doubt it but I think a lot of people consider it possible.
If such a thing were possible for Humans, and for the intelligent species X... Then at that point, how would we go about distinguishing Humans from X? Imagine we uploaded both a Human and an X to the same computer or machine. How can we then distinguish them as being of 2 different species?
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