Originally posted on the IEET weblog

Critical Thinking: The Posthuman Mind pt4a

If the posthuman mind is more intelligent than we are, the outcome will be superb critical thinking.

Critical thinking entails that a being is aware and conscious of their own thoughts, and can critique their own thoughts. The being which can analyze memes/concepts/theories at the human level or above will surely be able to question its own thoughts. In this article I want to concentrate on what we (humans) know about critical thinking and its applications in the posthuman mind.

Without self reflection the posthuman would be a zombie like creature, so I am going to assume that the posthuman will excel at introspection. There is no point in creating zombie like computers/minds/brains if we do indeed want to see superior intelligence. The posthuman must be conscious, must be aware of its own experiences and thoughts.

Critical thinking means that one must be able to think about premises and conclusions. It also means that one does not push their critical thinking on others, but rather presents data to another individual to be analyzed and thought about.

In the book Invitation to Critical Thinking Barry and Rudinow outline some examples of what it is and what it is not.

1. Critical thinking is not the same as disagreement
2. Critical thinking does not aim to embarrass or humiliate, and it does not allow you to dominate somebody else
3. Critical thinking does not entail nitpicking
4. Critical thinking does require imagination and creativity
5. Critical thinking can be applied not only to the beliefs and positions of others but also to our own.

If critical thinking does not allow one to dominate someone else's thoughts, nitpicking, or disagreement, then what exactly is it and how will the posthuman utilize it? How can we be certain that the next step in human evolution produces minds with superior critical thinking? If we disagree with the posthuman on important topics like war and the economy what will be the result?

I can think of two answers to these questions. One, we must develop brain to computer interfaces or gene therapy to enhance our own brains to see the side of the posthuman clearly. The other is to learn how to critically think ourselves so we can understand the outcome of posthuman analyzing. We as humans in the non-enhanced mode must do some heavy introspection if we are to listen to the posthuman.

We must learn to think clearly and calmly, we will have to sit back and think robustly about what the posthuman says. If, for example the posthuman clearly states that war is useless, that just war does not exist because of several reasons we can only imagine today we will have to sit back and take hours of calm, mental training if we want to be up to par with their superior introspection.

We must assume that the posthuman will have superior logic as well. However as stated in Barry “The truth of the premises of a valid inductive argument do not guarantee the truth of its conclusion, but they do make this conclusion probable or likely.” The posthuman we can assume will have lighting speed inductive reasoning. However as stated it does not mean that their conclusions are always right – or will they be? What do you think?


Barry, Vincent, and Joel Rudinow. Invitation to Critical Thinking. 2. Forth Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1990. Print.
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