“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959

“What Do You Mean…Human?” John W. Campbell, Jr., 1959 – (Essay) Campbell’s essay expressing his philosophy of sf.

Comments: Includes a graph of human/non-human characteristics (of animals, robots, a man with prosthetics) that reminded me a bit of Haraway’s later and much more theoretical work, “Cyborg Manifesto.”  Begins with a discussion of robots, the Three Laws of Robotics, tools, gods.  Read in Visions of WonderOnline text at Imagineer.  Commentary in Psychology Today, which examines Campbell’s call to writers to think “as well” as a human but not “like a human.”  Also of interest is Campbell’s unusual impulse to define “us” and “them,” as the piece was written during the height of the Cold War.  Edelman notes that Campbell utilizes criteria such as similar behavior, the capacity for emotion; discusses situatedness and embodiment; and mentions the “Are you human?” theme of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.   (“What Do You Mean… Human?”:The imaginary lines between “us” and “them.” Published on May 7, 2012 by Shimon Edelman, Ph.D. in The Happiness of Pursuit)

Author: Wikipedia: “John Wood Campbell, Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an influential figure in American science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact), from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1946-1959, animals/insects, difference/tolerance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, genrecraft, logic/reason, psych/mind/madness, the body, the Other. Bookmark the permalink.

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