[ExI] Wrestling with Embodiment

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Sun Jan 29 17:57:34 UTC 2012

On 29 January 2012 17:53, Jeff Davis <jrd1415 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I wrote "Posthuman" specifically to combat the fantasy that I found in
> Hans Moravec and other transhumanists that it would be possible to
> transfer human subjectivity, perceived as an informational pattern,
> into a computer without losing anything essential.  This view sees
> information as disembodied and reduces the enormous complexity of
> human embodiment only to an informational pattern.

Mmhhh. This sounds as a petition of principle, as long as the loss remains
ineffable, and arguments are not made explicit as to why what is lost
should be considered as "essential" (to whom? for what purpose?).

*Of course* information processing needs to be embodied in a substrate. Of
course, discarding and/or replacing this substrate implies a "loss" of the
relevant components.

But the reason why Ulysses in the Hades recognises the shadow of Tiresias
as Tiresias, and the reason why I am recognised by my acquaintances in
spite of the progressive, and at some point total, replacement of my bodily
atoms as being myself, is because human subjectivity is exactly perceived
as an informational pattern, which is abstracted from the "underlying

Accordingly, when any Tom, Dick and Harry will be "cheated" well enough
about the fact that a computer is (inhabited by the soul of) their
respective wife, the computer will *be* their amputee wife for all
practical and epistemological purposes, nothing else being there that could
define "human subjectivity" in non-metaphysical terms.

Stefano Vaj
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