X-Message-Number: 27618
From: "Valera Retyunin" <>
Subject: To Daniel Crevier  --  Platonic Forms and Mountain Spirits
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 08:46:40 +0300

>My point is that the mountains don't have to move. Deciding whether I am 
>the same person as the one who will wake up tomorrow is a bit like deciding 
>whether Mount Washington is part of the Appalachians. We could redefine the 
>Appalachians to stop just short of Mount Washington, and give the rest of 
>the range another name. It wouldn't move the mountain.

Now you sound quite rational to me. You then surely realise that you
and your biological clone or computer simulation would be like two
physically different mountains. The clone/simulation wouldn't help you
survive unless you believed you were not a mountain but a mountain
spirit (pattern of a mountain?) able to relocate at will to another
suitable habitat.

>There is a well established philosophical tradition behind this point of 

You mean Plato's "motionless, timeless, and absolutely real" forms,
and onwards? If you rely on this tradition for your survival, it's no
surprise you have stopped worrying about uploading. You should forget
uploading altogether - you're an abstract and eternal pattern already,
of which your brain is merely an imperfect copy.
>A fairly recent example is Daniel Dennett's book "Consciousness Explained". 

Thank you for your literary advice. I'll certainly give the book a go
when I feel the need for a final, definitive explanation of

>Another exposition of it is in Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind". 

This sounds more and more Platonic...

>I believe Marx and Engels had interesting things to say about it, although 
>I am less familiar with their work 

I haven't read anything by them, and have a very vague idea of what 
they could have said about brains being vessels for conscious 
patterns. What I know is that a majority of people who have regarded 
themselves as those two gentlemen's followers, are or were hardened 
patternists. They would definitely consider your clone or simulation 
to be you as long as it was able to perform your social function.

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