X-Message-Number: 23374
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 06:57:22 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: Re: Paul Wakfer's reply

To Paul Wakfer with a little bit for Mike Perry:

I agree that some kind of reconceptualization has become appropriate.
However I think we need to go further than just redefining "death"
(and with it, "life", and the various other subparts you presented in
your message). If you listened to what I was saying about Tupac Amaru
you will notice that I was doing exactly that.

To repeat, he was revived with very little memory of his past. He WAS
given the information he needed to make his way in the society in 
which he was revived, together with whatever was known about the 
people from which he came.

A person came into existence (yes, I would agree that people can
exist or not exist, but watch out: Peter Pan does not exist; we're not
talking about life or death here). By meeting others who have completely
forgotten years out of their lives (particularly the years in which
we now spend our whole lives --- unless we live to more than 100)
he came to see that he was no more a person revived with little
information than they were.

And people can learn and have experiences. That learning and those
experiences are important but make them no more a person than someone
who lacks any such previous experiences. People do not "die" or come
close to it, nor do they become especially alive depending on their
experiences. Yes, there is a range of experiences that people can
have, and usually we don't want to lose them. But even if you lose
ALL your experiences (say through a bad failure of your suspension
which forced you to be recreated from whatever information remained)
you become a live person after your re-creation. And so far as you 
retain any fragments of information at all about your past, you are
the SAME person. If someone else is created with even more of your
past memories (not that a humane society would do that) then you
become a kind of second-order version of the original, but still
remain a person. What would a HUMANE society do? If they somehow found out
how to discover further past memories you had, they would offer them
to you rather than create someone different.

I will note here that I am not discussing any subjective continuity
you may feel with your past versions. I would hardly deny feelings
of such continuity, but I can only point out that if you're recreated
with some of your memories you're going to feel that continuity. 

At one point you say that doing such recreation from the memories
of others and any other signs of your past which remain would use
only a minuscle part of the information in your brain. I agree that
it would not match the amount of information you have about your
past life, but at what stage does its LOSS imply that you have
not been revived? I'm saying that there is no such stage. You and
others can rightly regret that loss, but you remain a person 
and the survivor of your original.

And of course is someone is created (as I would expect someday)
with NO memories of their past, but as an adult (babies here come
into existence as instances of this, save that they're not adults)
then you are a new person. Welcome to the club.

          Best wishes and long long life to all,

               Thomas Donaldson

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