Re: physics of uploading minds

From: David Picon Alvarez (
Date: Wed Nov 02 2005 - 13:32:36 MST

> 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.

Kant, Hegel and Berkeley are atheists or disbelievers in the soul? Wow, that
IS news.

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

But the joining of physical and non-physical systems ends up two ways, both
hard to believe: The cartesian way (a physical element which is subject to
non-physical laws) and the leibnizian way (pre-established harmony of
physicality and non-physicality, at which point one can wonder what
difference non-physicality makes).

> 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.

Most of which are, in all likelyhood, non-existent.

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

Infinity is the limit, when you can use functions and definition of the
circle. (Constructivist mathematics is empirical.)

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

The constructivist answer is by building algorithms in which the concept
plays a role, by building algorithms which give rise to the concept.
Not all theory of mathematics is Platonist.

> 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.

I'd argue that there are invariants (similar to those in geometry) which are
core to an identity. In any case my argument is based purely on intuition,
as would be the denial of it, until we have more data.

> 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.

And/or structural invariants (or because memories can fade).

> 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.

Except that memories and habits are the staple of consciousness. Saying that
you can transplant consciousness without taking also memories and habits is
like saying you can transplant a heart without moving the atoms of the

> 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"

This is to say, the two consciousness do not have anything more in common
than their essential characteristics ;-)

> 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.

While failing once viewed from information theory or introspective


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