Re: Continuity of Conscious

From: micah glasser (
Date: Fri Apr 07 2006 - 13:12:12 MDT

Sorry about the post I didn't notice that the thread had been killed.

On 4/7/06, micah glasser <> wrote:
> I've often thought about this issue and have had serious questions
> regarding the possibility of 'uploading' because of it. This question, of
> course, is nothing new. Philosophers have been discussing what constitutes
> identity and the continuity of ego/consciousness since at least Descartes.
> John Locke offers a particularly good discussion of it and, in more recent
> times, John Searle has discussed thought experiments in which he asks what
> would happen if parts of the brain were slowly replaced with artificial
> hardware. Also Edmund Husserl spent his entire genius inspired life
> grappling with questions of ego continuity and the nature of subjectivity.
> For my part I think I have come to a conclusion about what would happen
> given the validity of certain presuppositions. If we presuppose the
> functionalist theory of mind (which stipulates that the kind of hardware
> that runs the algorithms of mind is irrelevant), and if we presuppose that
> there is such a thing as a conscious ego that experiences a continuity of
> identity in time, then I think the following argument can be made:
> If an exact replication of a humans nervous system was reproduced (either
> physically or virtually) including all memories and every last nuance of
> function then for a single moment there would be two identical individuals.
> But not really because the very moment there existed two identical
> individuals (which is, of course, a logical impossibility) there would be
> two individuals who shared a common past yet now had different memories (and
> subsequently different brain structures making them disernible) beginning at
> the point at which the two individuals diverged. So the conclusion to be
> drawn from this is that if an exact replication of a mind was fabricated or
> precisely simulated then there would be two different individuals who share
> an ego identity past yet were now two distinct beings. I don't think there
> is any contradiction inherent in this. But if the original mind was
> destroyed at the moment of replication/divergence then the remaining
> individual would still be a legitimate ego heir, so to speak, which would
> experience a continuity of ego identity and could be said to be the same
> person that previously existed in another form.
> Of course one may argue against my original premises and there is
> certainly room for debate there, but I would argue that given the validity
> of the premises the argument I present is logically valid.
> I tend to think that the most questionable aspect of uploading is the
> assumption that consciousness (or qualia if you prefer) is something that
> necessarily emerges from the patterns of certain physical substrate
> processes and cybernetics. I think it likely that consciousness does emerge
> in this manner but it is an assumption that could be wrong.
> On 4/1/06, Samantha Atkins <> wrote:
> >
> > Phillip Huggan wrote:
> > > You are a different individual every moment, but your core brain
> > > centers responsible for emerging consciousness are 99.9999% the same,
> > > not 0% as you imply. I suppose you can represent consciousness
> > > digitally just like you can model weather or any *physical* system.
> > > If your representation is accurate (ignoring quantum and some
> > > classical inaccuracy effects for the moment), you will get an accurate
> >
> > > future prediction of the system.
> > How so? To go from even a perfect model of your consciousness to
> > something useful for prediction would require first of all deciding what
> > context or inputs you wanted a prediction for the behavior of this
> > consciousness in relation to and modeling those environmental inputs
> > with sufficient fidelity. Next you would need to run the resulting
> > system at sufficient speed to get an answer in a time frame where it is
> > presumably useful.
> >
> >
> > > But a future model of the system isn't the actual future system
> > > because those little binary ones and zeroes you are using for
> > > modelling, actually represent real *physical* properties. Mass,
> > > electromagnetic forces, gravity, quantum wavefront evolutions, etc.
> > > That little sunshine button the cute weather girl points to when
> > > referring to tomorrow's sunny forecast, isn't an actual star. The
> > > physical properties our brains harness to give us awareness, are very
> > > different than are silicon logic gates being flip-flopped by
> > electrons.
> > >
> > > I am much more than a collection of data and algorithms. What you are
> >
> > > referring to is software. My brain is hardware. It runs off of
> > > multiverse *physics*, not Windows.
> > >
> > At bottom it may all be seen as just interacting patterns, i.e.,
> > information. Don't worry. No one here wants to simulate you on
> > Windows. That would be truly EVIL. :-)
> >
> > - samantha
> >
> --
> I swear upon the alter of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny
> over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

I swear upon the alter of God, eternal hostility to every form of tyranny
over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson

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