X-Message-Number: 14891
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 07:00:21 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: reality and abstraction


This discussion by trnsoniq of identity is a good one. We should NOT
forget that we are talking about abstractions. 

However there IS another way of looking at identity and its survival:
just what attributes of identity at time t0 must be preserved at
time t1 > t0 for us to say that the identity is the same? Yes, I am
different from the person I was yesterday, but are those differences
important or minor?

While I personally would say that in the sense of this previous
question we ourselves are abstract beings, it most certainly does not
follow that we can be treated as if we need not take any special 
form ie. biological, for instance. Even a little reading on just
how neurons work makes me wonder whether a computer in the present
sense could really imitate us at all well. Yes, they're nice analogies,
but the real question is whether or not they really match us closely
when we learn everything about how our brains work. If nothing else,
the assumption that we work like Turing machines looks very faulty...
it MAY be true, but we know that not every machine is a Turing
machine, and the mere observation that we are "devices" created by
nature does not imply that Turing machines could match us (even 
forgetting that the original Turing machine was sequential!!).

		Best wishes and long long life for all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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