Re: physics of uploading minds

From: Olie Lamb (
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 20:08:47 MST

Heartland wrote:

>>> And no, it's not a soul
>> Bullshit! I can not see one tinny tiny bit of difference between your
>> ideas and that of the all so very very respectable Christian holly
>> rollers, both are talking about something of huge astronomical
>> cosmological importance that can not be detected with the scientific
>> method; and that my friend is pure undiluted premium grade bullshit.
>> John K Clark
> I'm sorry you don't have a clue what I'm talking about. But please
> don't take it out on me but be angry with yourself and stop throwing
> public tantrums like a child. That's really embarrassing.
> Slawomir

Sorry, Mr Clark, but there are a helluvalotta well respected atheists
and disbelievers in the "soul" who hold a concept of "mind" or
"consciousness" as being non physical; philosophers from Kant, Hegel and
Berkely to those such as Heidegger or even (I suspect) Chalmers.

The concept of non-physical truth or information doesn't have to be as
inelegant as Descartes's Dualism.

However, there is one Fuckload (that's a nonSI measure for a lot) of
things that can't be measured by scientific method that are commonly
regarded as true.

How accurately can you measure Pi empirically? Maybe 8 sig. figures?

Mathematical explorations aren't scientific. They aren't empirical.
They are idealistic. How do you test the concept of "Zero?"

However, the idea that consciousness (Css), pattern or information in
some way transcends the physical does not imply self in the normal
concept. I present what I call the Hume2 interpretation of self (as
relevant to time), which can be gleaned from an unusual and extreme
interpretation of David Hume (much like the "no cause" readings):

There is nothing linking the Css of a human body at one time to the Css
of "that" body at a different time. Identity, whether of bodies or of
Csses is an illusion.

A Css has memories of other, earlier Csses, which give rise to the
illusion of continuity. However, as each Css-event is effectively
stand-alone, the only connection you have to your earlier and future
self is memory.

When one wakes op in the morning, there is a sense of discontinuity with
the Css the previous night. The Css is presented with memories, and
will act by habits normal to that body's Css. Beyond these things,
there is no more link to the previous night's Css that if the Css had
been "transplanted" from one body to another, aquiring the new body's
memories and habits.

More importantly, the Css of 5 seconds later has no connection to the
Css of 5 seconds earlier than memory, habit, and "what the Css is in the
middle of doing"

Note that this idea of "no identity" is consistent with many
interpretations of the idea of Consciousness, including bet not limited
to idealistic and dualistic metaphysics.

The moral implications of this are bizaare- it makes hedonism
pointless. Since "you" - the Css of right now - has no more connection
to the Css of 5 seconds later than to the Css of a different body, so
there is no advantage in taking that lollypop for yourself, rather than
giving it away. You won't be able to enjoy it, a different Css will.
You can still be benevolent, but there's no advantage in being
benevolent to your later self than your neighbour.

Note: I do not subscribe to this view. Just as I think that there is
"Cause," I believe that there might be some mechanism that connects
consciousnesses. I understand how this might work on the half-second
level - this is what I'm doing my PhD on - but I have serious doubts
about the continuity of Css across things like sleep. I'm pretty much
undecided about whether there is an absolute "personal identity".

-- Olie

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