From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Non-human (also spelled nonhuman) is any entity displaying some,[1] but not enough, human characteristics to be considered a human. The term has been used in a variety of contexts and may refer to objects that have been developed with human intelligence, such as robots or vehicles.

Animal rights and personhood[edit]

In the animal rights movement, it is common to distinguish between "human animals" and "non-human animals". Participants in the animal rights movement generally recognize that non-human animals have some similar characteristics to those of human persons. For example, various non-human animals have been shown to register pain, compassion, memory, and some cognitive function. Some animal rights activists argue that the similarities between human and non-human animals justify giving non-human animals rights that human society has afforded to humans, such as the right to self-preservation, and some even wish for all non-human animals or at least those that bear a fully thinking and conscious mind, such as vertebrates and some invertebrates such as cephalopods, to be given a full right of personhood.

The non-human in philosophy[edit]

Contemporary philosophers have drawn on the work of Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Claude Lévi-Strauss (among others) to suggest that the non-human poses epistemological and ontological problems for humanist and post-humanist ethics,[2] and have linked the study of non-humans to materialist and ethological approaches to the study of society and culture.[3]

Artificial intelligence[edit]

The term non-human has been used to describe computer programs and robot-like devices that display some human-like characteristics. In both science fiction and in the real world, computer programs and robots have been built to perform tasks that require human-computer interactions in a manner that suggests sentience and compassion. There is increasing interest in the use of robots in nursing homes and to provide elder care.[4] Computer programs have been used for years in schools to provide one-on-one education with children. The Tamagotchi toy required children to provide care, attention, and nourishment to keep it "alive".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "the definition of nonhuman". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  2. ^ Laurie, Timothy (2015), "Becoming-Animal Is A Trap For Humans: Deleuze and Guattari in Madagascar", Deleuze and the Non-Human eds. Hannah Stark and Jon Roffe.
  3. ^ Whatmore, Sarah (2006), 'Materialist Returns: Practising Cultural Geography In and For a More-Than-Human World', Cultural Geographies, 13, pp. 600-09.
  4. ^ Nick Bilton (May 19, 2013), "Disruptions: Helper Robots Are Steered, Tentatively, to Care for the Aging", The New York Times, retrieved 2013-05-24

External links[edit]