Re: [sl4] Uploading

From: John K Clark (
Date: Fri Dec 04 2009 - 11:24:00 MST

On Fri, 4 Dec 2009 11:01:49 +0000, "Stuart Armstrong"
<> said:
> >> In other words, the original does have a special status, until we
> >> become certain that the copying procedure is near-perfect.
> >
> > Well sure, but mundane issues like blown fuses in the matter duplicating
> > machine have no place in a thought experiment.
> They do have a strong place here. We have three facts:
> 1) Copying is likely to be identical to the original. But there is a
> very small possibility that this is impossible, and an much larger
> possibility that the copy will not be identical to the original for
> the copying procedures we will use in the forseeable future.
> 2) The standard model we have of continuing consciousness is someone
> continuing their life normally, whithout being destroyed or suddenly
> appearing in a different place through copying.
> 3) These thought experiments should tell us something about how to
> react if copying procedures become available.
> So the moral of this seems to be "use the original as the gold
> standard until we are certain copying procedures are perfect, then
> treate the two indistinguishably".
> But, on another note, are you adicted to arguing? I agree with
> virtually everything you say about copies. Everything. I add two
> caveats:
> - one on imperfect copies
> - the other (a very old one, a few years back) on the fact that people
> store some of their identity in external sources, such as friends,
> family, income, jobs and legal status. Hence once copied, though the
> pair (original and copy) are indistinguishable from EACH OTHER, they
> are no longer exactly the same person as the pre-copied individual,
> unless the external sources of identity were duplicated as well.
> But these are minor caveats, affecting the conclusion very little. Yet
> you act as if you have to demolish them; as if any caveat to the
> identity of the set (pre-copy, original, copy) means that you suddenly
> have to start believing in souls and reciting the Shahadah over the
> copying machine while the priest prepares a batismal font to welcome
> the copy into the congregation of the ensouled.
> Stuart

  John K Clark

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