[extropy-chat] Personal Identity Bis

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 11 18:17:56 UTC 2007

Heartland writes

> Lee:
>> Yes, I agree that "process is the substance of life", if I'm reading you okay.
>> So the process is, after all, necessary and sufficient to achieve survival, right?
>> As I recall, though, your answer is "no".  An interruption of the process for
>> you is the same as death, right?

You can be a computer program?  That is, while I guess you don't believe
that you can *become* a computer program, you agree that you might be
one right now?

> Lee:
>> What on Earth can you have against cryonics?  It's just a slowing down
>> of the process, not even a cessation any more than sleep is. Even at
>> liquid nitrogen temperatures, processes proceed (only more slowly).
>> Even the same atoms are used upon re-animation.
> Flat EEG means death. It has to. It's the only conclusion that doesn't lead to 
> contradictions. Besides, it's consistent with a belief that there's no such thing 
> as a resurrection.

I know how you feel  :-)   I myself am squeezed between two unacceptable
possibilities in the discussion of GLUTs and causal processes!  I tried to 
find the only way free of contractions!  :-)

Here, however, your definition of death is very interesting, and is not all
in keeping with medical practice. Sometimes people's EEGs do go quiet
for a few seconds, but then the system gets kickstarted again.  At least
that's what I've heard.  In cryonics, a boy was once rescued who had
been underwater for 45 minutes, with heart stopped (and probably with
flat EEG). But he came to.

> I guess it's one of those either-you-get-it-or-don't kinds of things. Perhaps you 
> might realize and appreciate the difference by focusing on the amount of benefit 
> that each instance derives from existence of other instances. There's no doubt in 
> my mind that this amount is always exactly zero.

Yeah, nearly zero to me.  True, an instance of me does gain some satisfaction that
I am also getting benefit in other locations, but he also gains satisfaction from 
knowing that some people in Istanbul are being nice to other people there.

> In other words, if I'm hungry, I 
> will stay hungry regardless of how many other instances fill their stomachs with 
> food. If I'm dead, I will stay dead regardless of how many other instances stay 
> alive.

Of course, naturally, you are using *your* definition of "I' and "me", just
as previously I was using mine.

> If an instance was alive and then its brain exploded, that instance cannot 
> have any type of experience (cannot derive any benefit) because the "machinery" 
> that made that experience possible is gone. Am I getting anywhere here, Lee? 

Well, not so far with this last line of questioning. The only weakness in your
argument that I know of is addressed above, namely that processes starting
and stopping may not be so black and white as you think.


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