[extropy-chat] How to be copied into the future?.

Randall Randall randall at randallsquared.com
Fri Apr 27 22:35:10 UTC 2007

On Apr 27, 2007, at 5:36 PM, Lee Corbin wrote:
> From: "Randall Randall" <randall at randallsquared.com>
>> It is, after all, your position that two instances of John
>> Clark with completely different histories can somehow
>> share identity, not his.
> Completely different?  Completely different histories?
> To me that sounds as though there is very little memory
> overlap. Now Tom Delay and I have completely different
> histories, not John and a very recent copy of John.

"Very little memory overlap" is very much not what I
meant by that.  To use the book analogy you liked below,
a notebook in which an author had written an entire novel
by fountain pen may be (as often used) the "same book" as
a paperback I have shipped from Amazon, but while they
have similar content, that content was produced by very
different histories for each instance (hand writing vs
mass production printing).

> Now, yes, John (I think) (and certainly I ) believes that
> people can have slightly different *recent* histories
> and still be the same person. That is, I mean literally
> that I and my recent duplicate share the same self. My
> duplicate objectively has all the things about me that
> I want to preserve. So if this one (pinches cheek)
> dies and that instance of me over there lives, then I
> still wake up tomorrow morning, not someone else
> masquerading as me. I even look forward to waking
> up tomorrow in this case, just as much as I would if
> no harm was to come to this instance.

Again, histories and memories are distinct: history
involves the process by which the physical memories
were constructed, while memories are merely content.
Heartland (I think) (and certainly I) believes that
it's the process which is a person, not the content.

That said, he and I differ on what constitutes "the
process", since I don't think suspending electrical
activity in the brain necessarily ends it.

>> What else but a soul could explain this psychic linkage
>> which makes them the same person, as you assert?
> It's not a psychic linkage at all.  There aren't such things
> so far as we know. The linkage is similarity of structure
> to an extraordinary degree.

I was exaggerating for effect, as I explained below. :)

>> Now, it's clear to me that you don't really think
>> that there's a soul.  You're just using the word
>> "person" to mean "type of instance",
> Right.
>> in the same way that two copies of _The Spike_ are
>> often said loosely [sic] to be the "same book".
> Loosely?  That *is* the common way of speaking, and
> if I say that my fiancee and I found upon meeting that
> we had read the same book, no one would suppose
> that we merely read the same particular copy.

Right.  Well, that's because of the confusion in how
we use the term "book" for both "an instance" and "all
books with sufficiently similar content".  Sometimes
people mean one, and sometimes the other, even within
the same sentence, and cleanly separating the uses
makes a large part of this problem one of terminology.
A similar problem obfuscates debates about "intellectual

Randall Randall <randall at randallsquared.com>
"Everything's stolen these days. The fax machine is
  just a waffle iron with a phone attached. "  - Jamie McCarthy

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