X-Message-Number: 18044
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 10:34:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: CryoNet #18039 - #18042

david pizer <> wrote:

"3. The dicussion assumes that there are two ways that
the person can be reanimated sometime in the future:  

Option One - his/her original brain is repaired and

Option Two - his/her original brain is copied and the 
original is destroyed in the process, but the copy
brain is reanimated.  (Some people in cryonics think
that this is the only way it can be done)."

I believe there may be additional options which are
essentially gradations between the two you propose.

The questions can be looked at in another view:

Is the essence of being a specific person only the
pattern or information, or is the essence of being the
specific person some specific material neurons that
have the material quality of awareness as an intrinsic
part of their neuron firing process.

MY hunch is that *I* am a hunk of a very specific
brain, my brain.  I agree that if a duplicate of the
information about the construction of my brain
were created into a brand new brain, the new brain
would *think* it was me. But I don't know if it would
*be* me?   

I believe Bob Ettinger long ago offered a thought
experiment in which a single neuron in your brain is
replaced by an artificial neuron which functions
identically to the orginal. Just one little neuron. Is
it still you? Most people would probably say yes. How
about two neurons? How about 10? At what point in the
replacement process, David, would it no longer be
"you"? When 10% of your neurons had been replaced? ...

So what is the essential difference if I eventually
replace all of your original neurons over an extended
period of time or whether you fall asleep and I
replace them all at once then wake you up? The end
result is the same. I think the difference is the
average person would feel more comfortable with the
extended procedure because they would have a greater
sense of continuity of self as they slowly went
through the procedure. The radically abrupt aspect of
an overnight procedure is more difficult to cope with.

But the relevance of duplicates to this forum in my
mind is this; even if I am reanimated with purely
original neurons that are repaired by nano or
whatever, the future of my "self" is at considerable
risk as long as I use this soft, squishy substrate we
call the brain.  If I intend on living indefinitely, I
had better replace my highly vulnerable neurons with
something substantially more durable. In short, I must
eventually duplicate or die.

The other philosophical point of interest here is the
question of whether the "self" is something that we
will always want to preserve. For all we know, the
"self" may not be as revered a concept in the future
as it is now. After all, transcending the ego is
already an ideal state among several cultures.

Scott Badger

"Vita Perpetua"

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