[ExI] Continuity of experience

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Sat Feb 27 01:28:54 UTC 2010

Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>:
> There is a vast number of possible statements like this, but we all
> completely ignore them as meaningless (in the sense of the logical
> positivists: though coherent, they are not analytically true nor
> empirically true). Are we doing the wrong thing?

Depends on what you want to accomplish.


Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>:
> There are a lot of differences between mind scanning and sneezing, but
> since nothing we could learn about the world makes any difference to
> what we can know about M, none of these differences are relevant in
> the discussion.

Assuming there are no supernatural-paranormal events in the universe,
as I have thus far, yes. That would be the only way that M could
conceivably have an effect on the physical world. Almost by
definition, really.

One difference that I would say makes a difference anyway, between
sneezing and scanning, is that scanning obviously implies that some
kind of process might take place to result in two instances of M.
Which, the way I'm formulating it, is an axiomatic impossibility.

Sneezing, no problem. You could say that whenever I sneeze, my
consciousness doubles. Now I have two M in one body. But there's no
obvious *reason* to say that, except maybe to be argumentative.

Basically I am starting with the premise that M presents a logic
problem by its very nature. The easiest way out of the problem is
nolipsism: M doesn't mean anything anyway, so there was never a
problem to begin with.

It's such an interesting problem, though! It would be a waste to trash
it so quickly.

Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:
> Spencer Campbell's inconceivably ancient ancestor wrote:
>> That's... that's almost TWO SEXTILLION planck times!
> OK, what about one plank time? (Geez, 10^-24 s isn't short enough for you?)

I haven't seen much to convince me that time is quantized, so I could
just divide by 2*10^21 again. We could be here forever.

Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:
> You see the point, I'm sure.  Everyone's mind is flickering like a movie, no harm comes to it in the invervals between the flickers, so why should any harm come to it in any interval of any size, as long as all the information is preserved and reinstated?

Yeah, I see the point. It's a fine point. It gives me pause. But, I am
not sure that my mind flickers in the way you're implying it flickers.
Certainly I have "more" mind at some times than at other times, and
sometimes I have so little mind that I appear to have none, but I
don't lose sleep over it as long as there is always at least the most
faint wisp of mentality remaining.

You can pick whatever time scale you want. Find a definite period
during which I have had *absolutely no mind*, and you win. I don't
think such a period is physically possible short of
traditionally-irreversible death.

Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:
> Or is your objection based on the idea that any conceivable scanning process has to take time, and the brain would change state (probably many times) in-between the beginning and the end of the scan, so any reconstituted brain using that information would not necessarily work properly?  Would you be happy with a simultaneous scan of all brain areas, if that could be achieved?
> I can think of a few solutions to the non-simultaneous scan problem, but maybe that's not your concern anyway?

Yeah, not my concern. I'm taking it for granted that my mind can be
replicated with arbitrary accuracy, easily exceeding the faithfulness
of my mind-of-today to my mind-of-yesterday.

The point to refute is that there isn't any gap between those two
minds, not even a little one, whereas there is a very clear gap in the
case of plasticization and recovery. A plasticized brain is truly and
inarguably dead, unlike, say, the brain of someone whose heart has
recently stopped. That is basically the essence of my concern.

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