[extropy-chat] Personal Identity Bis

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 10 16:09:36 UTC 2007

Heartland writes

> Example: A single brain houses person A's memories and beliefs. If we wanted we 
> could rewire that brain so that person A's beliefs and memories would be replaced 
> by person B's memories and beliefs. Result? Personal identity has definitely 
> changed but not the fact that the brain has not died.
> If personal identity and staying alive were one and the same, then a change in
> personal identity would have to cause brain death.

Well, we did hash that out at length, and it seems to me that you and I
just cannot be reconciled on this. To me (and a number of others here)
brain death per se has nothing whatsoever to do with death or loss of
personal survival, because we are functionalists and quasi-functionalists
and you are not. To me, my brain could be anniliated, so long as there
was a stack of punched cards somewhere that retained the information
of how it was glued together, and plans were in place to write a program
that would have my same approximate intelligence and have all my 
memories:  I would not consider this ANYTHING LIKE DEATH.
The program would, for me, be me quite adequately.

(Where I went on to disagree with *most* of the people here, and always
have, is whether this new program that "remembers being me" is fully me
if --- just as in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus --- the "real"
me, i.e., the original brain, is then revealed to not have been destroyed at all,
but sequestered in a nearby hotel room.)


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