X-Message-Number: 15025
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000 20:34:38 EST
Subject: Perry brief comments

Mike Perry (# 15016) reiterates and tries to clarify his views on the 
"relativity" of sentience and related matters. However, I think he has (at 
least in the minds of some readers) mixed up three different issues.

1. If a system is a perfect mimic of a person in external behavior, would it 
necessarily have feeling? (Zombies)

2. Would a running digital computer emulation of a person (brain) have 
feelings? (Uploading)

3. Would a static set of representations of states of a person have feelings? 
(Turing Tome)

(There are also combinations and variations of these.)

Mike makes a valiant effort to meet some of the issues by speaking of 
"relative" sentience. For example, he says, a static record could be 
conscious in some appropriate context, although not from our point of view. 
While that sounds slightly plausible at first, it really amounts to creating 
your own jury-rigged definitions. It also begs the issue, which is whether we 
OUGHT to regard uploading as life-saving. 

Mike also reiterates the question of an objective test for zombies. Well, for 
the system in question to be acknowledged alive, it would probably be 
SUFFICIENT for it to have some APPROPRIATE analog or homologue of something 
in our brains which we know produces sentience, along with appropriate 
behavior. NECESSARY conditions are also presently unknown, and it is just 
barely possible that they may never be known or may not exist. In the case of 
aliens whom it would be impolite to vivisect and maybe impossible to 
investigate internally in other ways, obviously we would give them the 
benefit of the doubt, but that is only an accommodation and not an answer.

At any rate, Mike is not dogmatic, and agrees that much remains to be 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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