RE: continuity of self [ was META: Sept. 11 and Singularity]

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Fri Sep 13 2002 - 11:03:17 MDT

> I can upload myself:
> - A - with all my memories
> - B - with some of my memories
> - C - with no memories at all
> - D - with the memories of somebody else
> In _all_ those cases - I am upladed. Most people think, that A
> and maybe B are only enough. That the continuity of the self is
> preserved (only) this way.

Are you postulating that in cases C and D, your self is still there?

The problem is that the mind does not store memories like items in a filing
cabinet. Memories are interwoven with habits, cognitive schemata, and
self-knowledge. If you subtract memories you will subtract a lot of other
things as well.

But perhaps you mean only subtracting *episodic* memories, and leaving
memories of things like how to walk, how to play the piano, how to eat, how
to write papers.... If you leave these procedural memories, then you're
leaving a lot of the "imprint" of the psychosocial self

I think that without any of my episodic memories, I would be only partly
myself. Without any of my procedural memories, I'd been even less myself.

But of course, I'm using "self" in a common-language sense here, which is
somewhat of a superposition of the "psychosocial self" and the "inner,
higher self" ...

> I see continuity as an illusion. Not self - as many do see self
> as an illusion - I see the continuity of the self as an illusion.

I used the phrase "psychosocial self" intentionally in my previous post, so
as to distinguish it e.g. from the "higher self" of various spiritual
traditions. I am not sure of the sense in which you're using the word
"self" here. It's a slippery one!

-- Ben G

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