X-Message-Number: 23816
References: <>
Subject: Re: David Pizer [Unique Awareness Sensor Theory]
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 2004 15:40:22 -0400


I like your UAS theory, but I don't think it really works.  I like it  
because it supports all of the intuitions that I have about uploading,  
teleportation to Mars (ie. duplicates), and the like.  Intuitively, I  
won't be the upload, and neither will I be the duplicate walking around  
mars who thinks he is me.  (for any who are unfamiliar with the mars  
example, see "the teleportation conundrum" at  
articleID=2004-01-22-3 for a description).  In a strong emotional way,  
I feel like that (if I were to be vaporized and one of them created), I  
would not have survived.

However, upon further reflection, the UAS theory seems to be just an  
extension (albeit a very good one) of the somatic theory of personal  
identity.  This theory states that you are (or have survived as) some  
future being just in case you share some measure of bodily (physical,  
muscle/bone/protein/neural) continuity with that being.  That being  
said, UAS is subject to similar types of arguments.

For example, consider the following thought experiment:

Using a fully developed molecular nanotechnology (or something of the  
sort), we manufacture an atom-for-atom duplicate of one neuron in your  
UAS.  After it is completed, we excise the original UAS neuron and  
replace it with the duplicate.  Did you survive?

(A) If the answer is no, then you are a remarkably fragile thing, and  
probably die (ie. fail to survive) many times in the course of your  
natural lifetime (my understanding is that it is quite normal for a  
small number of brain cells to kick the bucket every so often).  In  
this case the terms "die" and "survive", as we are using them, become  
irrelevant to the question we are actually asking: "Will I survive in  
the same sense that I currently survive day-to-day?"

(B) If the answer is yes, then what happens if we replace one brain  
cell every day (or hour, or minute) until the whole UAS is replaced.   
If you survived each individual neuron replacement, then you must have  
also survived the whole replacement of the UAS.  In this case, it is  
not the the specific chunk of "brain-meat" that matters (since you now  
have an entirely new chunk, but still survived).

If you want to keep going with the UAS theory at this point, you can  
say that what matters is something about how the brain-meat functioned  
that was independent of the specific atoms that composed it (as long as  
they were arranged in the right way).  However, this gets us into  
trouble again with Mars teleportation and duplicates, so it's not a  
solution as of yet.

This question (or personal identity, or criteria for survival) is an  
extremely difficult one.  No one seems to have any good answers.   
Again, my intuitions take me along lines similar to this UAS theory,  
but, unfortunately, logic says otherwise.  And we must admit that our  
strong identification of personal survival with some sort of physical  
survival may just be an evolutionary hold-over.  We would be pretty  
useless at living if we did not normally equate survival with physical  
survival (ie. "Sure I'll jump off the cliff for $50.  After all, only  
my physical body will be harmed").  Consequently, the "real" answer  
about survival may be very unintuitive.

Eric Morgen

Quoting David Pizer <> Message #23811

Subject: Memories are not the most important part of "you"
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2004 17:23:50 -0700

A Philosophical Look at Memories and Survial of the Individual
From:  David Pizer

The recent discussions about memories on Cryonet are more evidence for  
the conclusion I have been arguing (on the philosophical nature of  
identity survival that is concerned with survival of a person) for the  
last 20 years.  --- that conclusion is:  Memories are not the most  
important thing that makes you you.  The most important thing about you  
is your ability to feel awareness.  Each person *is* a unique awareness  
sensor.  This thing (UAS) is a part of your brain and it is made of  
brain meat.  It is the central part of any person and all the rest of  
the brain and body are accessories of it.  It exists over time in  
specific space, therefore it is a one and only.

This leads to an important conclusion --  that the ONLY way for a  
person to survive is to save his UAS (unique awareness sensor).  One  
cannot survive by creating a so-called duplicate, (in fact it is  
impossible to really duplicate a specific UAS),  nor can one survive by  
uploading or downloading.  Nor can one survive by only saving DNA or  
only saving memories.  The only way to survive is for your brain to  
survive (the part of your brain that senses awareness).  So if you are  
really serious about survival, at the present time your only option is  
to have your brain saved, and at present the only way to do  that  
(should you be unfortunate enough to suffer legal death) is through  

If you want eternal life (if that is even possible because physical  
immortality alone is not enough, we need the universe to also be or  
become eternal - which I also have an argument below that it is) you  
are going to need for your UAS to become an un-aging hunk of living  
tissue.  Reversing aging should not be very hard to do in the next  
couple hundred years.  Once that is done, you then need to get this  
hunk of tissue to the safest place in the universe.  After that you  
merely need to work with other UAS's to keep the universe from winding  
down.  You should have billions of years to work on that problem.

So I hope I have laid out an interesting plan for those who want to  
live forever.  If any part of this interests you, then I suggest you  
check out the Society for Venturism.  This is the religion for those  
who think they want to live forever.

David Pizer

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