Mar 31, 2023  
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2022-23 
OHIO University Undergraduate Catalog 2022-23
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POLS 4730 - Animal/Human/Machine

Political theorists are concerned with concepts of political agency. How does political action occur? Who can be political? What are the terms of political discourse? During the past 10-15 years, a “post-humanist” discourse has emerged. This has come from two main sources. First, a whole of host of studies in psychology and biology have challenged the idea of human exceptionalism (i.e. the idea that humans are a unique animal). In study after study, things once thought to be unique to humans are found in animals (use of tools, communication of relatively complex ideas that some call language acquisition, emotions, laughter, lying, making war, etc.). This is not coming from animal rights, but from science itself. Second, technology and experiments with artificial intelligence, computers, social networking, sex-change surgery, artificial insemination, etc. have challenged us to find new ways to conceptualize thought and the body. These also challenge what it means to be human. Given that an assumption about the stability of the category “human” has been the principle anchor for all theories of politics up till now, these scientific discussions pose important problems for politics, and consequently, for political science.

Requisites: POLS 2700 or permission required
Credit Hours: 3
Repeat/Retake Information: May be retaken two times excluding withdrawals, but only last course taken counts.
Lecture/Lab Hours: 3.0 lecture
Grades: Eligible Grades: A-F,WP,WF,WN,FN,AU,I
Learning Outcomes:
  • Think critically about the criteria used in the normative ordering of human life.
  • Think critically about the nature of foundational concepts such as ‘language,’ ‘thought,’ ‘sentience,’ and ‘self-consciousness.’
  • Think critically about the role of technology in human life.
  • Understand the concept of the social construction of the human.

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