Re: Continuity of Conscious

From: Aj Cann (
Date: Sat Apr 01 2006 - 20:05:38 MST

  I enjoy very much seeing the different views brought to this
discussion and in reading these responses I would like to purpose a
small thought experiment to better illustrate the issue I have in
  Imagine that a perfect one-to-one copy of your central nervous
system is made and either uploaded into a simulation (or some other
form of virtual presence) or put into a perfect reconstruction of your
body. Also imagine that during this process you, the original source
for this copy, is not destroyed. Next, allow that after the activation
of this copy you are able to communicate with him/her/it (whatever
your preference). Clearly two seperate egos are making contact and
sharing ideas. Imagine you now shut off or otherwise destroy this
copy, disregarding the ethical questions this action poses. This
action of course would leave you standing, breathing and able to live
on with your life. From your perspective you are alive and are able to
voice this fact, you exist in the world in some shape or form. Now
reverse this process of destruction, from your perspective you are no
longer able to voice your existence. You, speaking in terms of ego,
are no longer living.
    Now would be a good time to highlight the fact that while I can
take some sort of contentedness in knowing a copy of me lives on, is
still effecting the world in a way which I would have had I continued
to live, from my ego's point of view I have done the very rough
equivalent of having a child, of leaving a progeny of some sort
    Lastly, to take this thought experiment a bit further, imagine
that you allow both the original and the copy to exist simultaneously.
Due to different experiences they will slowly diverge from a single
persona into two distinct personas (the nature vs. nurture discussions
I'm sure would verify this to satisfaction for most). Instead of
carrying this already lengthy experiment on I ask that you consider
the ramifications of this on the current discussion.
   As to the question of the soul, I am in no way trying to allude to
this existence of such a thing. The discussion of such a topic in my
mind is very different than the nature of the current topic I am
attempting to highlight.
 --- Aj

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