X-Message-Number: 25016
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 16:58:47 -0800
Subject: Response to Randolfe on Mind Uploading
From: <>

Dear Randolfe,

I am glad you find my comments useful. I am also glad to see an 
immortalist who doesn't favor mind uploading---you are a rare breed 
indeed. I wish there were more of you. I fear your dissenting 
companions may as well opt for cremation instead of cryonics.

I see there is a misunderstanding between us. I suggest you re-read 
my message, but with a new view: 'soul,' as I use the term, has no 
religious connotations; instead, it refers to that part of you that 
experiences qualia.

I do not mean to use the word 'soul' in any metaphysical sense, 
except in the sense that subjectivity is 'metaphysical'. I merely 
use the word because, of all the words in the English language, its 
meaning is closer to what I have in mind than any other word (
though still very far away); and I have no desire to invent a new 

Essentially, your 'soul' is what experiences your subjective inner 
life. The sensation of red, the sensation of sound, the sensation 
of consciousness; whatever subjective thing you experience, you can 
agree, some part of you is responsible for experiencing it. This is 
your soul, and it is some portion of your brain, or at the least, 
the precise physical correlate of some portion of your brain.

Duplicating your brain will produce a duplicate 'soul'; i.e. a 
duplicate thing experiencing qualia. From the point of view of 
personal survival, a duplicate is useless. 

Now why is a concept of a soul useful? Because it defines the most 
important part of me. My memories can change, one by one if you 
will---perhaps over the course of a thousand years---and I will 
still exist, even if in some sense, I won't be the same person (of 
course, in this sense, we weren't the same people we were 10 years 
ago). Similarly, my outlook on life, my disposition, my personality,
 my value system, they can all change, but I still exist; I have 
not died. What is preserved under such gradual transformations? The 
soul. This is why it is the most important part of personal 

Yes, memories, personality, etc., are important for my conception 
of me. I must have them in order to be whole. But memories, etc. 
are not sufficient. Something having my memories is not me. 
Something having my soul, on the other hand, is me; there can be no 
duplicates of that, since by definition, a duplicate of a soul is a 
new soul, even if it has the same memories as me.

People err in insisting the brain is a 'housing' for the soul, 
which is a mere pattern, or information of some kind. To which all 
my previous arguments apply. To contradict the favorite analogy of 
the uploaders, the soul is not the software that runs on the 
hardware of the brain---the soul is the hardware.

Computers (including those running mind uploads) presumably have 
their own soul, which is merely the chip(s) out of which they are 
constructed. I expect these chips have some sort of subjective life 
of their own, at least once they reach a certain level of 
complexity; and no doubt it would differ from the subjective life 
of a human. But you cannot, by changing the input voltages to the 
CPU, somehow transfer your soul to the soul of the computer.

Your soul is your brain; the soul of the computer is its CPU, and 
never the twain shall meet.

Best Regards,

Richard R.

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