Re: physics of uploading minds

From: Chris Capel (
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 20:44:45 MST

On 11/1/05, Tennessee Leeuwenburg <> wrote:
> The obvious response to this is that we store some memories even while
> asleep, and that dreaming people who are woken report consciousness of
> that dreaming. There is a continuity to our *minds* even if we suffer
> from forgetfullness while asleep.
> It seems just as valid to look at identity in terms of

Woah, stop right here. You just stopped talking about consciousness
and stepped over into identity. I really don't see that the two
concepts are the same. Identity is about your memories, your thought
processes. A sense of identity is not necessary for consciousness. I
have many dreams in which I have no sense of identity at all. (I
suppose you could argue that I'm not really conscious during those
dreams, but I'm not going to help you out there.) Nor is subjective
consciousness strictly necessary for an intelligence that,
objectively, claims to have a sense of identity, if you allow that
objective consciousness doesn't imply subjective consciousness. (I
think it does imply that.)

> an idealisation,
> historically, through memory, as something which supervenes on
> subsystems, or as an Empty concept (i.e. identity is just a convenient
> description for all our subsystems, and exists in a relational sense). I
> prefer the final way.

I'm open to any of these.

> Identity, for me, can cope with the discontinuities of sleep and
> personality change. It is a linguistic term, and people don't have
> trouble understanding that a person can change drastically, yet still
> refer to them by the same name. Identity has many forms, only some of
> which are affected by discontinuity.

Yeah, but I would think that those you're responding to would reply
that while identity might be able to cope, consciousness wouldn't. (I
don't have a problem with this view, because I think of consciousness
as an almost empty concept.)

> Perhaps it's better to say that human identity isn't damaged by
> discontinuity. Perhaps the question is what kinds of discontinuity
> constitute "harm" to the individual, and which do not?

I'm not sure, but I don't think anyone *is* claiming this.

Chris Capel

"What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it
like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?"
-- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)

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