Re: There's more to me than memories...

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Thu Mar 13 2008 - 08:32:43 MDT

Oskar wrote

> Isn't a common view of what constitutes a "person"; that she is what
> she does, either consciously or subconsciously? Isn't what we are what
> our actions define us as being--at least in the sense of how _other
> people_ perceive us--in the same sense as we, quite literally, are
> what we eat?

I have a technical objection. A highly skilled human actor who
has studied video tapes of you for years, (not to mention a vast
and cold and unsympathetic AI who has studied you) might
"do as you do", and be perceived by _other people_ as you
are perceived by them. But that hardly means that either the actor
or the AI---each of which may be just coldly going through a
pantomime---is anything like the genuine you.

> If you accept this reasoning, then what constitutes a "person"--whose
> everyday actions in the social realm are defined by learned, conscious,
> but mostly unconscious behaviors--is lost when our memories are lost.

Well, indeed I totally agree with your conclusions, but not with
your reasoning :-)

> What defines "lost" in this case (could memories be retrieved? is
> there a difference between memories lost due to physical, rather than
> psychical, damage?) is a whole other--and fantastically interesting--
> question.

Why? I mean, what is the appeal of the question? Isn't it a simple
matter? I.e., if the information constituting the memories is really
and permanently lost/destroyed, then what difference does it make
how they were destroyed? Well, maybe I've done no more here
than to inform you what I mean by "lost". But all the people I
know, and especially in the cryonics community, I think totally
share my terminology here.

Best regards,

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