[ExI] Uploading and selfhood

ablainey at aol.com ablainey at aol.com
Tue Apr 1 04:55:14 UTC 2008



As things seem to have become a bit fuzzy and I can't work out who is arguing what at the moment. And Just so I can understand where everyone is coming from. I was wondering how much everyone differs in answering the following. (My answers are at the bottom for reference)

1) Are single egg, Identical twins the same 'self'? If not, at what point did they diverge? cell division, birth etc

2) If through some boredom induced, drunken shenanigans you sew a donor hand to the top of your head, Is it part of the 'Self'? Does this depend on its functionality?


3) When neural spell checks and dictionary chips become available (hopefully soon)and if you get one fitted, Is it part of the 'self'?. What if it is unplug able?

4) Can a external viewer quantify 'self'? or can it only be truly known by the individual?

5) Are the language constraints of the notion 'Self' to flexible, rigid or indeterminate to be useful in this context? Do we need new terminology or subclasses of 'self' to get to the bottom of the Upload arguments?

My Answers

1) Twins are not the same self, although they were at conception. However the term self at that point is not really applicable as it somehow implies sentience, which clearly is not the case. I would say that the twins develop 'self' somewhere around the point where they would be classed as viable. And at the point of birth they would most definitely be different 'selves' despite being genetically identical, virtually physically identical and presumably comparable in memories.

2) The hand would be part of the 'self' from the moment of attachment, but for some It might not be considered so unless it is in some way functional. such as receiving sensory input from it, or being able to exert control of it.

3)I would consider any internal device such as these part of the self. But It wouldn't be so clear for an external or removable device. I wouldn't consider Fyborg devices like glasses to be in the self, but a prosthetic arm may well be. A bit contradicting when applied to the human state, but in the case of an upload, these devices it would not be absolutely necessary to include them for the self to be successfully included in the upload.

4) No, an external viewer can't quantify self as they have no access to it. Self is an observation made by the internal viewer only. An external viewer can only quantify 'You' or 'them', as such all equivalent versions of 'you' are acceptable but each individual can only quantify 'self' for themselves.

5)It would seem so, judging from the arguments. Self would be a singular concept, where only one could ever exist at a time. That self being the internal viewpoint of the individual. If another entity is spawned from the first, They both have separate self's from the point of separation. They would each be valid? versions of 'you' as per answer 4.
I am me, I am 'self', but to you, I is you, and me is you and you are 'self'. Its just a language trick.
So continuity of the 'self' can only be judged from the internal view and 'self' only relates to the continuity argument. When we start talking in terms of an identical copy, self no longer applies except to each individuals internal view of themselves, not their view of each other. So any perfect copy could be validly called 'Alex Blainey' but 'self' would be individual to each instance, each having a right to exist. The self could be transferred, but never copied.


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