X-Message-Number: 3724
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 1995 12:25:04 -0500
From: "Bruce Zimov" <>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS: Re: Uploading 

 (Joseph J. Strout) writes:
>Clearly this is ridiculous (is in not?), so I must wonder what is
>intended by the "subjective circuit".  
Of course. Clearly, there is no homunculus, "little man", in the head.
No one suggested there was. The wake state is not a homunculus, and
its our numerically identical wake state we're after when we say 
"subjective circuit".
Now, the brain stem regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and the question
about brain structures supporting the "circuit" side of subjectivity
falls into 2 camps, cortical only, or cortico-reticular.  The EEG studies
on undercutting the cortex of dogs may lead to a cortical only view.
Either way, the answer will involve a network topology of some sort.
On memory, though the hippocampus appears to hold long-term memory,
the connectionist view is that it holds it in the weights of the
synapses, or any other micro-structures that can be said to have
an effect on neuro-transmission, be they micro-tubules inside the
membrane, or glial support mechanisms.  Also, Hebbian learning  
encourages nerve growth changes to the topology.  The more implicit
knowledge you speak of, would be held with similar mechanisms, only
cortical, hence implicit and not affected by the removal of the
It makes sense to suppose that genetically, a basic topology is
put in place by embryological development of the brain. This topology
is sufficient for a wake/sleep cycle, so in the newborn, before the
2 year old burn-in and cognitive development, we have a subjective
circuit.  We have to ask whether or not a brain at this level, when
maintaining specific memories and traits are not important, can be
On memory swapping, I said:
>> In this case, rather than being transferred to the other
>> body, you would in fact, be staying in your own body and just thinking
>> you were the other person, even to the point of believing you had
>> transferred since that's how it seemed to you.  
Here we are imagining a case where we transfer the deltas only, that is
all the topological and weight changes (that is all our memories, traits,
etc.) and use them to modulate a separate basic embryologically pre-
determined topology, which by virtue of its sleep/wake cycle already
has a "subjective circuit".
You write:
>Conclusions: (1) when discussing personal identity, we must consider all
>the brain's functions, rather than just explicit memory; (2) whatever
>"subjective circuit" really means, it's in the brain somewhere, and
>there's no reason to imagine that it won't be transferred by a
>full-brain upload.
In transferring the subjective circuit, the whole problem comes when we 
consider whether or not the "transfer" we speak of is just merely 
a "copying".  In this last case, we have gained nothing by the "transfer"
except the minor consolation that another individual, qualitatively
identical to us, will continue.  
Bruce Zimov

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