X-Message-Number: 4425
Date: Sat, 20 May 1995 02:27:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: Bruce Zimov <>
Subject: SCI.CRYONICS: Uploading and Cryonics

Bob Ettinger wrote:  

>Mr. Leitl also indicates that (at least some)uploading issues have beenlong 
>settled. Unless he was being ironic, this is wrong. The central issue of 
>criteria of survival is nowhere near settled. In particular, two unresolved 
>issues are outstanding:  
>1. We do not know the anatomy/physiology of the subjective circuit or the 
>self circuit--the seat of feeling and the ground of being--hence cannot say
>whether it is supportable outside of organic brains. 
>2. We have not resolved the "philosophical" isues related to duplication and 
>to continuity. 
>3. We know almost nothing about time (or spacetime), and cannot even say for 
>sure that we "survive" (in some appropriate sense) in the ordinary course of 

Right on the money! These are the three issues, and I've spent a considerable
number of years studying all three. Lately, I've been interested in the 
relation between issue 3 and issue 2. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to
eventually resolve 2 without answering 3 first.  3 actually has 2 parts:  

a. what is time?  More specifically, is it transientist or not?  To 
answer this, one must resolve McTaggart's paradox of course.  

b. if an object endures between two times, does the later occurence survive
   the endurance?  

a. and b. are related, but an answer to a. is not necessarily required to 
determine an answer to b.  This is encouraging because a. is the toughest 
issue.  Turning to b., I believe my LEGO example offers an easy 
visualization of what's at issue.  Consider 2 yellow 2x4 LEGOS connected 
in a specific pattern where 4 dots interlink. Consider the following 2 

a. Between time 1 and time 2 the LEGOS remain connected in the same 
pattern and are moved from location A to location B by a spatial 

b. Between time 1 and time 2 the LEGOS at location A are taken apart and 
exactly reassembled at location B. 

There are 2 questions:  

c. Are the LEGOS at B numerically identical to the LEGOS at A?  


d. Did the LEGOS at B survive?  

Issue 2 is raised with the same LEGO example if we leave the original 
LEGOS at location A, and take 2 more yellow LEGOS and assemble them in 
the exact pattern at location B.  

Although we cannot say too much about issue 1 without better
neuro-science, we can say that subjectivity is caused by our brain which
is a system of parts assembled in a pattern.  Note that preserving the
cause only preserves the effect (subjectivity/consciousness) if there is a
necessary and sufficient connection between cause and effect.  As it turns
out, issue 2 shows the possibility of competing causes.  The big
controversy is whether or not this competition is an issue for survival,
no matter what its relevance for qualitative identity.  

BTW, Unger's IDENTITY,CONSCIOUSNESS, AND VALUE is the only serious 
philosophical book on identity that I've seen to discuss cryonics vs. 
uploading.  All the others usually discuss uploading, transporters, and
split-brain surgery.  So, seeing cryonics discussed in the philosophical 
mainstream on the identity problem should be encouraging.  

Bruce Zimov 
> > >

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