From: Stathis Papaioannou (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Dec 05 2009 - 15:55:58 MST
2009/12/6 Frank Adamek <email@example.com>
> I agree that if you define a person in this way, then the rest follows logically. Here our definitions differ, which is perhaps the heart of our disagreement. I consider a person to be a system of semi-stable structures (neurons or computing hardware such as a processor + memory, or an FPGA, etc), sending signals between them, some of these signals transduced from outside the system. And to recap, I assign a nontrivial probability to the idea that the relevant level of structure are these elements such as neurons, with the gradual cycling of the underlying structures (molecules) being irrelevant. Further, just as having similar memories doesn't allow one to have the experiences of another by my definition, a lack of memories doesn't necessarily stop you from having those experiences. As long as the change in structure (which resulted in total loss of memory and arbitrary change in personality) isn't too large - considering the sizes of spines and synapses compared to neurons this seems possible - then I would say the person hasn't died, as those same structures will continue to receive signals.
If your neurons were replaced one by one would you still be you? What
if they were all replaced while you were asleep?
> To me the OM perspective, as you've laid it out, seems to suggest that an extra-physical observer steps outside the universe, searches it for all systems that have the memory of it's current and past states, and then steps in to inhabit those systems/minds, even when such systems lack any causal relation. While I don't consider that impossible, it seems nontrivial to assume that a person can expect to experience only such OMs; that as only such OMs have the memory of state A1, a mind in state A1 can expect to continue only as such OMs. We also would have to consider the possibility that the mind in state AI should expect to continue life as any OM, or as no OM.
No, it is exactly this kind of metaphysical nonsense that I was trying
to avoid. There is no need for a separate ontic entity, a soul, that
inhabits different brains or the one brain at different stages and
binds the OM's together. All that is needed is that the OM's simply
exist, somewhere or sometime, and the impression of a person extended
through time then *necessarily* follows. If my experiences are being
generated by a virtual reality computer program it is possible that a
subjective minute ago the program was stopped, the data saved to disk,
then loaded onto a different computer a thousand years later and the
program continued. To me, it is impossible to tell that the program
has not run continuously on the one machine. There is no special
soul-glue needed to bind the two parts of the computation together.
-- Stathis Papaioannou
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