[extropy-chat] Survival tangent (was Just curious, it's not natural!)

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 31 22:58:02 UTC 2006

Jef Allbright:
> So you're saying
> (1)  "Values, beliefs and memories (VBM) are not necessarily unique
> (they're quite commonly shared) therefore they do not uniquely define a
> person."
> (2)  Therefore, to say that a person is defined by their VBM is
> tantamount to saying that each person is all persons.
> (3)  This is clearly absurd, therefore the unique essence of a thing
> must be defined elsewise.
> Is this a correct summary of your statements?

(2) should be, "Therefore, to say that a person is defined by their VBMs implies 
that a person can survive as long as these same VBMs distributed among other 
people's heads survive."

> My response:
> (1)  Note that this is logically consistent with what many of us have
> been saying; that there can be a gradient of personal identity and that
> there can be duplicates of personal identity.

But that's just like saying that 1 can also mean 2 or that "blue sky" can sometimes 
be red. The words imply certain conditions you must follow when assigning the 
referents. If you violate these conditions you're just end up using a wrong 
referent for a word and, consequently, should be using a different word. So, for 
example, there's no such thing as "duplicates of personal identity" or a "gradient 
of personal identity" just like there's no such thing as "two originals" or "23% of 
being pregnant."

> (2)  Non sequitur.  Fallacy of the undistributed middle leading to
> affirming the consequent (a form of circular reasoning). A->B does not
> imply B->A. Also, same comments as (1).

Let's really get into this, Jef. Before I acknowledge my fault please state 
precisely what your A and B are.

> (3)  Non sequitur.  Affirming the consequent (circular).  Where is it
> logically shown that all persons must have unique identity?

Again. I've always assumed that, by definition, "identity" can have at most one 
referent.  Are you really saying that we can stretch the meaning of this word to 
include more than one thing?

> As you know, circular reasoning means assuming what you're trying to
> prove. This form of argument is invalid because it's circular.
> Slawomir, this kind of illogic is rampant in your statements about your
> belief in unique personal identity.

You keep saying that but the truth is that (as I've tried to explain it to you 
privately) it is *your* personal interpretation of the argument that makes it 
circular since you continue to substitute arbitrary referents for the terms that 
don't allow such freedom.


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