[ExI] dualism

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Apr 4 17:37:53 UTC 2023

On 04/04/2023 08:43, William Flynn Wallace wrote:
> <foozler83 at gmail.com>
> Date:
> 04/04/2023, 02:33
> To:
> ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Jason, I think, wondered how many of us were dualists.  I wonder too.  
> Are you?  I am not.   bill w

Not really a fair question, I think. Certainly not one that will give us 
much of an idea.

The reason I think this, is that there are quite a large number of 
people, I've observed over the years, that I classify as 
'crypto-dualists'. That is, people who claim not to be dualist, but 
whose arguments are firmly grounded in a dualistic mindset. This is most 
clearly revealed in the (I hardly dare say it!) arguments about identity 
in a 'mind-copying' scenario. The old 'If someone makes a copy of my 
mind, is it still me?' question.

I'm not trying to revive that tired old debate (because it never goes 
anywhere useful, it just polarises entrenched opinions even more), just 
using it to illustrate what I mean. In order to think that a perfect 
copy of your mind isn't really you, you have to have a dualistic 
mindset, regardless of what you claim. So, I think that just asking the 
question won't get accurate answers. People may not lie, but they may 
well be mistaken in their answer. It needs a test, not a 
straightfowrward question, to reveal the truth.

So, Bill, you say you are not a dualist. Do you think that a perfect 
copy of your mind, instantiated in any capable processing system 
(including, but not limited to, another biological brain) is still you?

Do you think it's possible for there to be two yous, each with equal 
claim to be 'the real you'?

If you agree with both of these, I accept that you're not a dualist.

There are plenty of crypto-dualists on this list (or certainly were, 
about 10 years ago). I have no intention of starting the argument up 
again, just wanted to give my take on how this question isn't much use.


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