X-Message-Number: 27587
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006 11:01:14 EST
Subject: once more, identity

Francois writes in part:
>think Robert's mathematical definition of identity 
He meant Richard's.
>in no circumstances can A 
become B or B become A. That's Objective  Identity
Actually, the "quantitative solution" applies here. A and B are the same in  
the sense, and to the degree, that they are the same, and that's all there is 
to  it. Two pennies are the same in the only important sense, viz., that they  
have the same buying power  (or can be used in flipping coins, I suppose,  or 
used to short a circuit, etc.). They are also different in many obvious  
>Subjective Identity is the internal perception of being a certain  
>individual and not another. Memories, feelings, desires, personality  
>the general shape, sounds , smells and other attributes of one's  body all 
>contribute to the creation of that sense of self. This is  really what we 
>want to preserve when we are talking about prolonging  life.
No--memories etc. are important, but not the essence. And we are not  defined 
by an internal perception of being a certain individual. The essence of  
being is just the presence or capability of feeling, subjective experience,  
Since objective characteristics of qualia are not yet known, we cannot say  
for sure whether silicon or other inorganic substrate could sustain them. But 
it  is reasonably clear, for reasons I won't repeat today, that any computer 
similar  in principle to those of today could not be conscious, no matter how 
convincing  its conversation.
The bottom line--my tentative conclusion--is that a quale (a physical  system 
or phenomenon in the brain) may be something like a standing wave. In any  

case, it is  not point-like, but has extension in space and time. This  implies
overlap between earlier and later qualia, hence between earlier and  later 

manifestations of the "same" person, which would (at least in part)  validate 
sense of continuity.
Leaving aside issues of quantum entanglement etc., copies of people do  not 
share identity, except for limited purposes as viewed by others.
Robert Ettinger 

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