[extropy-chat] Meta re recurring threads was Personal Identity Bis

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sat Apr 14 16:56:39 UTC 2007

At 06:52 PM 4/14/2007 +1000, Stathis wrote:

>On 4/14/07, Keith Henson <<mailto:hkhenson at rogers.com>hkhenson at rogers.com> 


>John Locke's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" published in 1689 
>is often cited as the first reference in modern works on personal 
>identity, and it is still a subject of active philosophical discussion. 
>I'm pretty clear in my own views, but it seems I disagree on many details 
>even with those who basically agree with me that a copy of a person is as 
>good as the original. So one reason the topic is continually rehashed (in 
>addition to the fact that there are those who aren't at all convinced) is 
>that there are intricacies involved, such as Lee Corbin's anticipation 
>paradox, which are not immediately evident.

Materialists, i.e., engineering types, for the most part agree with you 
that an identical copy of a person (or a computer) is equivalent and for 
the most part can't imagine why anyone would have a different opinion.

>The objection raised by Keith also seems symptomatic to me of a hostility 
>by some on this list towards philosophy in general (a philosopher would 
>not dismiss a problem simply on the grounds that it has been discussed for 
>200 or 2000 years without resolution). This is a little odd given that, 
>like it or not, transhumanism is a philosophical movement as much as it is 

It didn't start that way.  Max More and the early Extropian archives should 
be consulted, but my memory is that it grew mostly out of recognition that 
advanced technology, particularly nanotechnology based advanced medicine 
would allow us to do something about the wretched "human 
condition."  Transhumanism may now be a philosophical movement, but it is 
so much wind without massive amounts of engineering work to implement it at 
the physical level.

>I would also point out that people such as Max More, Nick Bostrom and 
>Anders Sandberg are all professionally trained philosophers.

I don't recall Anders getting involved in these threads.  His posts seem to 
be of an extremely level headed "be cautious" tone.  Nick I don't know, 
other than perhaps a tendency to take more credit for ideas (being in a 
simulation) than is justified.  My early memories of Max More are of him in 
scrubs doing whatever was needed on a suspension team, and doing it very well.

Keith Henson

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