Re: [UPLOADING] Is an exact duplicate "me"?

Harvey Newstrom (
Mon, 20 Jul 1998 20:34:08 -0400

"Peter C. McCluskey" <> writes:
> You can probably come up with a different concept of consciousness
> for which these causal connections aren't equivalent (involving continuity of
> some aspect of consciousness), but I have yet to hear a clear version of
> this that is consistent with most people's concept of identity.

No, you are presuming a viewpoint that I don't have. I have no requirement to remain conscious, as long as I don't stay unconscious forever.

> Can you clarify what features you
> value in the biological Harvey Newstrom that will exist 24 hours from now
> that might be missing from a copy, without using subjective classifcations
> such as "it's me" or "it's perceptions are my perceptions"?

I make no such claim. The copies are identical. Any feature that one has, the other has as well. I have no doubt that both copies are equally "me" or equally the same by any scientific measurement. I merely claim that they are not the same individual. If you let them, they will both go out and lead two similar but different productive lives.

> Do you mean anything by the word "transfer" here? I think that if you
> could translate this last sentence into something that is potentially
> falsifiable, we might be able to make some progress.

A transfer move a single object from one location to another. A copy leave the original object in the original location, but creates an identical object in a new location. I am distinguishing between an upload procedure that results in one copy, and a duplication procedure that results in two copies.

> But given your
> current formulation, I'm unable to tell whether you want something
> unverifiable (did your soul or vital force get transferred?) or whether
> scientific analysis can potentially answer your concerns.

You quoted my first paragraph where I rejected the claim that consciousness would "jump from the original to the copy when the original is destroyed" because "I see no scientific basis for this." I have always insisted on scientific analysis and reject claims that are not falsifiable.

> How about imagining a process that disassembles X% of the atoms in
> your brain and puts them back where they were a microsecond later.
> Is the resulting person you or is it someone else?
> Does the value of X matter? Does it matter if some of the atoms are
> replaced by equivalent atoms from somewhere else?

No problems here. Even if the atoms are grossly out of position, but the macro structure of cells are still replicated, I have no problem. I think you are trying to address viewpoints that I do not hold.

I think you are assuming, like others have, that my position is that they copy is not "me" because it is somehow different. This has never been my position. It is a misunderstanding, probably due to my own inability to explain myself. The original is "me". The copy is "me". They are identical and both are equally "me".

My only objection has been the killing of the original. This is not based on any fault in the copy. It is because I want the original to continue to live. I believe "Harvey Newstrom" is a viable person capable of great things in the future. If you duplicate "Harvey Newstrom", there are now two "Harvey Newstroms". I think both of them can be great. Left alone, they will both grow, experience and evolve. Killing one of them because he is "no longer required" or "not sufficiently unique to contribute anything new", is murder just as it would be to kill any person for these kinds of reasons. I think duplicated people have the same rights as any person.

This is what I mean when I say they are not the same person. Left to their own volition, they will go off experience different lives and act independently. I don't want either one of them killed. If the intent is not to duplicate people, then I suggest we find a way to move consciousness without duplicating it. Once we create independent and viable beings, I don't think we should go back and kill them.

I hope this clarifies my position.

Harvey Newstrom                                   <>
Author, Engineer, Entrepreneur,              <>
Consultant, Researcher, Scientist.           <ldap://>