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In St.Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica, it said

But to know distinctly what is contained in the universal whole is to know the less common, as to "animal" indistinctly is to know it as "animal"; whereas to know "animal" distinctly is know it as "rational" or "irrational animal," that is, to know a man or a lion: therefore our intellect knows "animal" before it knows man; and the same reason holds in comparing any more universal idea with the less universal.

(Answer of Question 85(3))

Therefore, if anything is to be called by a name designating its property, it ought not to be named from what it participates imperfectly, nor from that which it possesses in excess, but from that which is adequate thereto; as, for instance, when we wish properly to name a man, we should call him a "rational substance," but not an "intellectual substance," which latter is the proper name of an angel; because simple intelligence belongs to an angel as a property, and to man by participation; nor do we call him a "sensible substance," which is the proper name of a brute; because sense is less than the property of a man, and belongs to man in a more excellent way than to other animals.

(Answer of Question 108(5))

So human being is defined as rational animal(or rational substance), and animal is sensible substance. However, androids with AI have complete rationality too, and they can be sensible with sensors. So is android a kind of mankind? Androids seems also rational substances, thus they are men by the definition. However in common sense they don't have souls, hence mustn't be mankind. That seems a paradox.

So my question: Are androids have souls? Are androids rational substances? If they are rational substances but don't have souls, are they mankind? Why?

Note: 'Android' in here means a kind of intelligent robot which is similar to ours, not a kind of Google's OS.

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closed as not constructive by David, Affable Geek, Narnian, SSumner, Andrew Apr 4 '13 at 13:49

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is not a good fit for the site. See the FAQ sections on what types of questions can and can't be asked here. This doesn't fit in any category in the "can" portion, and it's asking about something that is hypothetical, not addressed specifically in Scripture, and not yet established in any established christian traditions. Also, it's not specific to Christianity. This might be O on a philosophy discussion board, but not this site. – David Apr 4 '13 at 11:00
@DavidStratton Well, I have asked this question in PhilSE but got closed...I found here has the tag theology hence posted it in here...Furthermore, it is not in the 'can' list doesn't imply it mustn't be asked here, I found some other questions with the tag theology are also this kind of question. – Popopo Apr 4 '13 at 12:37
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Your assumption, that Thomas Aquinas has the final say on what is to be considered man, determines a lot about what my answer to you might be.

If, for example, you instead phrased the question "Assuming Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica to be inerrant: Is android a kind of mankind?" I would say the following:

  • AI are indeed sensible, as you say.
  • The definition of rational is vague when it comes to matters like this, and the definition used will determine whether AI can truly fit the category.

If you assumed rationality required an advanced ability to make informed decisions or comprehend relations, then AI can certainly achieve that so yes they would be man.

However, many believe AI will never truly have a true sense of intelligence, understanding or rationality, based on the belief that no matter how "smart" they get, their reasoning will only ever be the result of the observed environment (Of course, many believe that humans are purely reactionary creatures as well, most notably those who believe there is no reality outside of nature, so no supreme being(s). Check out the first few chapters of CS Lewis' Miracles for a better explanation of this than I could provide). This definition assumes rationality requires a sense of understanding or creativity above and beyond natural cause and effect, or divinely provided rationality. It sounds odd, but if you were to think about it, most (if not all) religious people believe this without ever really thinking about it. As a side note, this rationality would also account for the difference seen between man and animal. In this case, I would absolutely say no, they cannot be man as they don't fit this definition of rational.

If, however, you phrased the question as "Assuming the Bible to be inerrant: Is android a kind of mankind?" which is the answer I suspect you're looking for as you are on this site, than I would simply refer you to the following passage.

So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. -Genesis 1:27

In this case, are androids made in the image of God? Certainly not. Of course, as it is in His power to do anything, He could theoretically breath his spirit into an Android (thus giving it a soul), but whether that fits his plan of creation is pure speculation.

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This question is similar to "Can aliens be saved?" or "Could naftali be saved?". In that artificial life is aliens by our own creation. (However we are hundreds if not thousands of years away from a "living" AI).

Many times in the Bible salvation is made available to whoever will believe.

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

However other scriptures are specific using Strong Greek word G444 which refers to humans or mankind.

Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

The question then becomes what makes men men and according to the Bible that's our soul and spirit (the spirit in this case is not the soul).

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Where do spirit and soul come from is the next question and the answer surely is God.

Ecc 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

However we as humans spiritually dead until we are born again.

Rom 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

So God who through Christ Jesus saves from sins the spiritual dead humans (creating a new spirit and renewing the soul) may indeed save those beings which are not humans and never were spiritually alive if they call on His Name in Faith making Jesus their King and Friend. For Christ died not only for the sins of man but for the sins of the world. Whether that being be the work of our hands like a sentient AI or a clone or another work of His Hand like an alien or naftali or other hybrid. Being born again will make them just as much saved as any human which is saved.

Joh 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

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