[ExI] Continuity of experience

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 06:55:26 UTC 2010

On 24 February 2010 04:51, Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com> wrote:

> Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>:
>> I am happy to say that there is no self
>> and no consciousness, in the sense meant by most of those people who
>> deny these things. In any case, I am happy to say that I am a
>> different self, person or consciousness from moment to moment, and
>> that the idea that I remain the "same" person is a delusion.
>> Nevertheless, it is very important to me that this delusion continue
>> in much the same way as it always has.
> Would it satisfy you if, at the moment of your death, a person similar
> to the one in my Napoleon argument were to suddenly acquire the
> delusion of being Stathis Papaioannou?
> The assumption, again, would be that they know more about your life
> than anyone else in the world after you die. They would be a
> nearly-perfect mimic. Surely, the difference between your mind and
> your mimic's mind would be no greater than the difference between your
> mind as it is now and your mind as it was ten years ago. Is this any
> different from transferring your mind to a new body?
> This seems consistent with your statements, but I'm willing to bet
> you'll think that this solution to the problem of mortality is
> inadequate in some way. Maybe something to do with the infeasibility
> of such a specific, high-quality delusion forming in a random
> passerby. That's really just for show, though. You can ratchet down
> the accuracy of the mimic as much as you like, and the conclusions
> should remain pretty much the same (if less obvious).
> My answer would be that your mimic lacks M; continuity of experience
> is broken in exactly the same way that it would be in the case of a
> freeze-and-scan resurrection. It's simply a less sophisticated
> technology. The same thing is accomplished with less precision. But, I
> am open to alternate explanations.

The mimic would have to not only know what I know and believe that he
is me, but actually have the same sorts of mental states as I do. If
this could be guaranteed then I would have no problem with it,
otherwise I would have to fret about the fact that I lose M in the
course of ordinary life. Essentially this is Frank Tipler's route to
immortality: in the far future a humongous computer recreates the
brain patterns of all the dead, either from historical data or,
failing that, by emulating every possible human brain using brute
computational force. The physics of this scenario may be dubious but I
see no problem with the philosophy.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list