Re: Identity and becoming a Great Old One

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Thu Jan 26 2006 - 12:07:04 MST

On 1/26/06, Phillip Huggan <> wrote:
> I don't really think "thread view" is an approriate description for the
> non-pattern view of consciousness. The essence of it lies in the fact that
> consciousness is substrate dependant. So the normal biological recycling
> processes that replace human brain tissues maintain
> whatever matter/energy is causing consciousness, whereas in gradual
> destructive uploading the suicide happens a little at a time because the
> brain is recycling to a substrate that can't house consciousness at all, and
> all the field interconnects that make a brain *real* in this universe,
> surely cannot be replicated.

Okay, that's a third view, distinct from both the pattern and thread views;
let's call it the substrate view.

I'm curious: is the substrate view falsifiable?

To take a specific example: Suppose destructive scan uploading becomes
available in our lifetimes and I go ahead and take the option and then come
along and say "hey, the pattern view was right, I'm uploaded and still me".

The threadites would say (if I understand them correctly), "Sure, we agree
you are you, you're just not the _same_ you as the pre-upload person."

Would you agree the substrate view had been falsified? Or would you say
"Your claim to be conscious is just Eliza-style parroting, you're really
just a zombie?" Or do you think the scenario is impossible to begin with
because nothing running on nonbiological substrate could pass the Turing
test? Or some fourth option?

- Russell

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