X-Message-Number: 14131
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 21:01:37 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Self issues

Many of the issues related to identity, self, etc. are treated at some
length in my book, *Forever for All* which now (I hope) is in the final
prepublication stages. I'll let you know when it's available. For now I'll
make one brief comment.

Bob Ettinger, Message #14119, notes

>James Swayze (#14117) relates the story of a severe amnesia in which the 
>victim first loses knowledge of even what she was, let alone who she was, and 
>later prefers her new persona to her old one.He then remarks that the 
>victim's "knower" apparently "took a hike."
>Not in my view. What was lost was not the knower, or the self circuit or 
>subjective circuit, but aspects of cognition--in part, connections and 
>integration with other subsystems in the brain. As I said, the same "knower" 
>with different "knowns" would seem like a different person, even subjectively 
>(if there were some way to make the comparison), and that raises (or reminds 
>us of) philosophical problems which do not yet have any answer. 

It seems, on this basis, that the same "knower" might be reconstructed from
a cell sample by cloning, inasmuch as you would get similar brain (and body)
structure. Why bother, then, with freezing even the brain, let alone the
whole body? (Indeed, wouldn't coming back as a clone be attractive to people
who feel burdened rather than benefited by their memories?)  But to my
thinking what is known (i.e. remembered) is important too in determining who
the knower is. 

Mike Perry

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