On Thu, 27 Aug 1998 00:04:46 -0400 "John Clark" <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
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>Randall R Randall Wrote:
>>So how many neurons must be in different states
>>to constitute having a "different" person?
>I don't know, I strongly suspect a precise point does not exist
>and the transition is gradual, but things without a precise
>transition point can still be as different as day and night,
>for example, the difference between day and night.
>>If *any* change is sufficient, then the person who inhabited
>>this body half a second ago is dead.
>Any change is not sufficient, a huge change is sufficient. The
>difference between expecting to die any minute and not having
>that experience is huge.
I am not sure that it is. I have been in situations (car accidents, etc) where I thought I was about to die, and I am not certain that I was appreciably different after them, than I would have been had I not had that experience.
>>I certainly am not having the same thoughts now as
>>I was an hour ago, yet am I not the same person?
>There is no one correct answer, it's a matter of opinion and
>apparently the opinion of the Randall R Randall of right now is
>that he is the same person he was an hour ago. Unfortunately
>the much more important opinion of the Randall R Randall of an
>hour from now on the subject is not available.
To say that Randall-minus-an-hour's opinion is better than mine, you must first *assume* that we are not the same person. I would agree that if you had a copy from an hour ago, it wouldn't be the same person, but this seems to me to result purely from the fact that there are observably *two* of the person.
>Thought experiment: I made a copy of you an hour ago, one I let
>go to live his normal life (it doesn't matter if it's the copy or the
>original), the other one I chain to a time bomb set to go off in
>one hour. BANG. Were you that poor fellow who just got blown up?
>If so then you must be able to tell us what it was like to be
>chained to the bomb watching the clock slowly move to the
>zero hour, but you can't, you know nothing about it.
This leads to the conclusion that when people have amnesia, someone *died*.
Just to clear things up, let me rephrase what you seem to be saying: Two perfectly identical (at the neural level, anyway) people are not two people, but one. However, if they diverge as much as a normal person changes in one hour, the loss of that hour constitutes death (e.g. if you kill one).
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