[extropy-chat] Survival tangent (was Just curious, it's not natural!)

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Tue Oct 31 17:28:48 UTC 2006

Slawomir -

As requested, I'll point out this example of your use of fallacious
argument.  Note that whether or not an argument is logically fallacious
says nothing about the truth of any assertion.  

> There's absolutely nothing special about individual values, 
> beliefs and memories.
> It's a virtual certainty that all your values, beliefs, and 
> memories will always overlap with values, beliefs and 
> memories of some other people in the world. 

Essentially agreed, with some quibble about the reference to memories.
We can perfectly share values and beliefs to the extent that they can be
defined as abstract concepts, but memories are defined in relation to
the observer. We can have effectively similar memories though, which is
probably your intended meaning.

> Then you might 
> just as well say that you survive as long as humanity 
> survives yet personal survival is not quite the same as 
> survival of the species. There's a point beyond which further 
> abstraction loses the essence of the thing that it's supposed 
> to abstract. Reducing a person to his values, beliefs and 
> memories goes way past that point.

So you're saying

(1)  "Values, beliefs and memories (VBM) are not necessarily unique
(they're quite commonly shared) therefore they do not uniquely define a

(2)  Therefore, to say that a person is defined by their VBM is
tantamount to saying that each person is all persons.

(3)  This is clearly absurd, therefore the unique essence of a thing
must be defined elsewise.

Is this a correct summary of your statements?

My response:

(1)  Note that this is logically consistent with what many of us have
been saying; that there can be a gradient of personal identity and that
there can be duplicates of personal identity. 

(2)  Non sequitur.  Fallacy of the undistributed middle leading to
affirming the consequent (a form of circular reasoning). A->B does not
imply B->A. Also, same comments as (1).

(3)  Non sequitur.  Affirming the consequent (circular).  Where is it
logically shown that all persons must have unique identity?

As you know, circular reasoning means assuming what you're trying to
prove. This form of argument is invalid because it's circular.  

Would you agree with the logic of the previous two sentences?  If so,
then you _don't_ understand about circular reasoning.  

Slawomir, this kind of illogic is rampant in your statements about your
belief in unique personal identity. Your belief might be correct, but
your statements don't support your assertion. Suggest you google
"affirming the consequent", "denying the antecedent", "circular
reasoning", "logical fallacy" for more.

- Jef

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