The Human as a categorization of life


Encounter: The Human (not individual humans, but The Human as a categorization of life.

Exercise: How we treat forms of life depends on how we have categorized them. Being human brings with it a set of rights and opportunities different from other categories of life. But “human,” as a legal and social category of life, has not always existed, nor is it everywhere the same. This week we will investigate this life form called “human.” What are the functions of this legal and social categorization? Where did it come from, how has it changed? How does it treat those who exist at its boundaries? Approach these questions by identifying and exploring one boundary case, one life form or entity that is only marginally human, or that has transitioned from human to non or the reverse. Use that boundary case to show what it means to being human. Finally, if you had to redesign this life form called “human,” this categorization of life, how would you do it?