[ExI] Continuity of experience

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 28 17:11:40 UTC 2010

Spencer Campbell <lacertilian at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:

> > Just to be clear, when you say
> 'absolutely no mind', can I assume this is the same as
> saying 'no change of brain state'?
> No. Well... no. Dead brains still change state. I am
> grasping for a
> satisfactory definition here, but I would be more inclined
> to say
> "absolutely no mind" equals "absolutely no purposeful
> action".
> It is fuzzier than yours. 

Indeed.  But we're not concerned with dead and decaying brains, just ones that have been suspended via cryonics or some chemical preservation, etc.

I'd say that such brains aren't currently 'doing mind', because they are not changing state, being unable to, and that when/if they become able to (and assuming no damage has occurred in the meantime), the mind will resume.

> You are arguing that this would qualify as a gap in
> activity. But, I
> see no gap. If you laid out the time-steps as a ribbon of
> squares,
> each square containing the universe, then the gap between
> two steps is
> obviously a zero-width one-dimensional line. Saying that
> there is a
> gap there is equivalent to saying that there is a gap
> between a thing
> and itself; no distance, no gap.
> So, if my logic holds up, your assumption that a gap in
> activity
> implies a gap in M never comes into play. Your move!

Rather than the universe, imagine each square as the total contents of a brain, down to a suitably fine level (probably not the subatomic level, as I doubt it's relevant, but it could be if you like).

The gap is in the square where nothing changes, not between adjacent squares. If square A has a certain state, and so does square B, but C is in a different state, there is a time gap between entering state A and state C.  Imagine the square B, with no change from A, being carried forward into C,D,E... to the many-multi-gazillionth square, a few years or centuries or millennia, hence.  Then the state changes in the next square, which will be exactly the same as if it were still C.

My argument is that you will find a square B (identical to A) in a functioning brain if you look hard enough.

> Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>:
> > (Of course you could claim that if even the tiniest
> motion of a single particle of the smallest possible bit of
> subatomic matter in your brain is missed out, you'd die, but
> that would be a rather Swobian argument, don't you think?)
> (If I ever make such an argument, you can go ahead and
> assume I have somehow lost M.)

That's what I meant.

> Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>:
> > From an engineering viewpoint, it isn't significantly
> harder to
> > upload, sideload, or merge with more capable
> computational resources
> > while maintaining consciousness. ?The reverse would
> work as well. ?I
> > worked this feature into "the clinic seed."
> Yeah, I figured that out too. I don't consider this
> discussion to be
> of vital importance to me. This "the clinic seed" of yours,
> though.
> What is it?

If Keith hasn't told you in the meantime:

It's a short story written by him.  Not bad at all, imo.  Part of a larger work called "Standard Gauge":

Ben Zaiboc


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