[ExI] YES! Hard-core transhumanist splinter

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 21 08:44:51 UTC 2010

bret at bonfireproductions.com wrote:

> Agreeing to everything you said and the definition -
> Dualism also  
> holds that the mind and body are separate. If we can copy
> the brain  
> into another medium, and then that medium can simulate a
> copy of our  
> consciousness, then they are indeed separate:

Not at all.  you are not copying 'the mind, as a separate thing' in uploading, you are copying the relevant physical structures of the brain, or the mechanisms that they embody.

To get rid of the Dualism label, just think there is no mind.  Avoid mentioning it altogether.  There is a machine (the brain) with a particular set of behaviours (don't say it), implemented by a particular set of mechanisms, and you recreate those same mechanisms in a different machine, which then exhibits the same set of behaviours.  If you do the copying well enough, the new machine will exhibit exactly the same behaviours.  That's it.  

Obviously I'm skimming over a mountain range of technical details, most of which we don't yet have the foggiest notion of (well, maybe a foggy notion of some of them), but in principle, that's all uploading is.  

It's no different to making a detailed plan as you disassemble a car, say, and recreate it from different parts according to the plan.  If you do this carefully enough, you'll end up with an identical car.  We wouldn't talk about the 'essence' of the car being transferred.

One of the problems we face is deciding just how much detail is needed in practice, but this doesn't change the basic principle.

If you don't like thinking of your 'self' as a (very complex) set of mechanistic behaviours, then you are a dualist.

More and more, it seems to me as if almost everyone - transhumanists included - is a dualist, even if they say they aren't.  On this list, I can only count about 8 or 10 people who, judging by their posts, seem to be truly free of dualisting thinking.

I suspect that many people, after considering the absurdities of religion and so on, decide that they are materialists, then after realising what this implies for their own 'selves', change their minds.  The implications can be quite disturbing for some people (and quite exciting for others), but that has no bearing on whether they are true.

Ben Zaiboc

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list