```X-Message-Number: 2696
Date:  Thu, 21 Apr 94 22:13:03
From: < var s1 = "PERRY"; var s2 = "alcor.org"; var s3 = s1 + "@" + s2; document.write("<a href='mailto:" + s3 + "'>" + s3 + "</a>"); >
Subject: CRYONICS Cryonics Philosophy

To Heather Johnson, Bob Ettinger and anyone else interested in the
issues of identity, survival, etc. as they occur in cryonics. This is a
subject I have long been interested in too, and have spent some time
over. In this connection I am working on a book, and also a
mathematical paper, which I hope to expand, eventually, into another
book. Here I'll try to address some points raised in messages #2693
(Johnson) and #2694 (Ettinger)--of course I'm being highly selective
here; much more is worth saying but time is limited. First, let's look at
#2693.

> Identity is a tough issue [...] In mathematics identity is ambiguous--
one can
> say 2=2 or 1/2 = 4/8, the former implying something closer to identity, the
> latter something more like equality. I make the distinction because identity,
> it seems to me, involves sameness to the extent of even a shared spatial
> property, (which implies that the things you are originally trying to
> establish as identical are, in reality, the same entity) while equality

> suggests that there exist _two_distinct_entities_ (i.e., they do not share the
> spatial property) which are intimately related. Thus, it would seem that for
> for an individual to die and be revived as an _identical_person, she would
> not merely have to meet the criteria of possessing the same remembered
> experiences as her former self, but must possess every property which
> is essential to her personhood.
>
> Here's the rub- what exactly are those "essential" properties? [...]

For me, "identity" in a mathematical sense is not the important issue.
Arguably, it would be impossible to achieve and absurd to insist upon.
Every instant your physical structure is changing in at least minor
ways. The question of whether the revived individual is sufficiently the
"same" as to REALLY be the same individual as before can also be
raised about more routine things, such as waking from sleep. In many
ways the latter is like our anticipated resuscitations from the frozen
state. Less time involved with normal sleep, less high tech., however,
possibly *more* not fewer changes. Over the course of a sleep cycle,
there are changes in the "identity" of the atoms of your body (this
happens every time you draw a breath and exhale). When you wake
up you are not totally the same as before you slept, though most of us
don't worry over it. It's true that, percentage-wise, most of the atoms
are still the same; however we can consider a less trivial example
based on Oliver Sachs' books such as *Awakenings*. I've heard that
nearly all your atoms are replaced with different, though similar atoms
after ten years, as a consequence of normal cell metabolism, repair,
etc. Suppose we imagine someone who has been in a coma for 20
years and then regains normal consciousness. Is that the "same"
person, with a different collection of atoms, or a different, though
similar, individual? According to my way of thinking, that person
should be considered the same (ignoring changes due to aging, etc.),
and the atoms do not matter at all, assuming that the new atoms are
the same (equality-wise, not identity-wise), and they are arranged in
the same pattern, or nearly so. In the case of the cryonics patient
though, the atoms *would* be the same. No metabolism would occur
even if you "slept" a century or more. You would be more "identically"
the same (except for repairs, rejuvenation, etc., which might be
forgone if desired) than after 8 hours of sleep. Personally, I'll take the
repairs and simple improvements and not worry if I am not the "same"
down to the very atoms, as long as I come out *better*. I realize the
"coming out better" might be carried to the extreme of putting a really
different person in my place, which I do not advocate. Every change is
not equivalent to replacement of your self with a different individual,
however.

I'll look at Ettinger's message (#2694) next.

> 1. The "information paradigm" is definitely wrong. The map is not the
> territory; isomorphism is not necessarily enough. Being (or life-as-
> we know it, LAWKI) is not characterized by the ability to converse
> (Turing), or by an input-output correlation. These can exist in a machine
> or system that has no subjectivity. Intelligence does not imply feeling, nor
> vice versa.

I think the main worry addressed here is that a device that looks like a
person, and outwardy seems like one in every respect, could be
constructed which might have no feeling, or even awareness as we
normally interpret it. Perhaps it is just a very well-crafted automaton, a
super-duper computer with no more of what we normally think of as a
personality, than a computer of today. This worry could in theory be
extended to the case of something that clearly is mimicking the
function of every individual neuron in a real person's brain. On some
level, though, it seems inescapable that duplication of personlike
behavior does result in a "real" person. If, for example, we copy a
person down to the level of atoms--using real atoms--and create a
functioning duplicate, the copy must be just as capable of feeling,
awareness, etc. as the original. (It is interesting too that this should be
true even though the atoms themselves do not possess feeling or
awareness, by any usual criteria.) I think too that probably feeling and
consciousness could exist in some material construct that is
significantly different from biological organisms of today, though the
precise details are unclear. Isomorphism is "not necessarily enough"
but not necessarily inadequate either; it depends on what level of
isomorphism we are talking about. I'm not sure what the proper level
must be to guarantee a true person, and particularly, a specific
person, but surely this is something that is knowable, besides being a
fascinating topic.

There is another point worth raising here, in connection with cryonics.
To me the question of "survival" has at least two distinct aspects that
are often confused. One is conservation of the personality, the other,
expression of the personality. For conservation, I think the
a person, as far as I am concerned that's all you need to "reinstate"
them. In cryonics we hope that frozen remains contain, if not all the
information that was originally present, at least enough so that the
person can be reconstructed without significant deficits, or at least
with nothing worse than the changes that are consistent with recovery
from an illness by today's standards. For me, though, the same prospect
of resuscitation would exist from a description of my frozen remains
down to the subatomic level, say, as from the actual remains
themselves. I am not much troubled by the thought that this would
allow two or more versions of "me" to exist simultaneously. (Dealing
with this issue in full however, would take us too far afield, so I
postpone it for now.)

Then there is the issue of expression of the personality, which is what
we wish to do information captured in frozen remains or other
sources.
The information must be used in such a way as to result in a certain
type of physical system, one we can reasonably regard as a
continuation of a person. The system should exhibit feeling,
awareness, etc. It should pass simple tests such as telling us it *is* the
person we think it ought to be, and should convincingly behave like
that person. Perhaps there is much more that ought to be required.
Again, I am not sure how one would or should judge, in general, if