X-Message-Number: 18016
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 13:51:19 -0600
Subject: Re: Relevance Question, Indentity
From: "Brian A. Stewart" <>

>Suppose, for instance, that you found a lot of damaged tissue in the 
>remains but could still infer "what ought to be there." In your repair 
>work, you replace some of the old tissue with similar but new tissue,
>of different atoms. (Indeed some of the old tissue may be missing
>so long as the necessary information is still inferable.) Do you then
>the "same person" after a presumably successful reanimation? You can

In this case, I would argue that the senario isn't all that much
different than someone who has had extensive transplants.

>the same question for the case that you replace all the original tissue.
>it still the same person? Some of us like myself, who favor the 
>"information paradigm" or IP, would conclude that it is. But this would 
>allow the production of duplicates, and we must confront the problem of 
>duplicates in its various forms. Can we still uphold an
>notion of identity?

That certainly is more difficult.  Suppose that somehow the all of the
information necessary to create a duplicate of someone could be read
while the person is still frozen, but the technology wasn't in place to
repair freezing damage?  That could be an "interesting" dilemma,
especially if someone were revived via the duplicate, then the technology
came about to repair the freezing damage.  (I'd say that the original was
now twins, for whatever that is worth.)

>One case of duplicates, a bit farfeched but possible in principle, would

>have several person-constructs (I would call them instantiations) awake
>functioning just alike only in different locations. (I could imagine
>being done in the future with intercommunicating nanites who are able to

>achieve the necessary, coordinated functioning in the different 
>constructs.) This would mean, for instance, that each is perceiving and 
>feeling just alike and is unaware of any special conditions that would 
>distinguish him or her from any of the others. Now, suppose these 
>constructs are all put into suspended animation, still all identical. If
>make another copy and wake it up, then by the IP I should have
>one of these--but which one? One way to resolve the question is to
>them all, when they were awake and functioning alike, as comprising one 
>person only, though multiply instantiated. So we only have one person to
>concerned with and can say, without paradox, that that person is 
>reanimated. Objections can be raised, of course, but this position can
>defended, as I do in my book.

I'm not certain I understand the above senario correctly, but this sounds
like the science fiction concept of a group mind-- several individual
beings sharing one mind.  IIRC, in science fiction they are generally
considered one being, just with multiple bodies.  (One awarness, many
phyiscal bodies = one being.)

>>As for identity, ... that is a matter of definition.

>I agree.


Just some of my opinions,

Brian (jumping into the middle of a conversation he hasn't really been

Brian A. Stewart
Madison, Wisconsin, USA, Earth, etc.
sig.line for rent

Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
Join Juno today!  For your FREE software, visit:

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=18016