Re: Mind/Body dualism What's the deal?

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 06:42:06 MDT

On Wed, Aug 15, 2001 at 10:26:42PM +1000, Russell Blackford wrote:
> The belief that
> uploading is associated with mind/body dualism is one of the common and
> important mistakes made by external commentators on transhumanist and
> cyberpunk ideas. I hear it often from lazy literary academics who think they
> can critique all these ideas with the banal insight that it is all Cartesian
> dualism. Ho, hum.

Exactly! And even if it was Cartesian dualism, they would still
have to deal with the issue: will it work? The first upload is
going to be a significant philosophical experiment.

I wonder how much the separation of hardware and software was
inspired by dualism, and how much was engineering benefits.

> Off topic, but glancing at your other e-mail, I'm damned if I know what to
> make of Donna Haraway and other such "cyborg" or "posthuman" theorists. To
> me, they're barking up the wrong tree, not realising that the important
> issues for the new century relate to the *literal* possibilities of
> enhancement, extreme longevity, etc. All this stuff about the cyborg as a
> kind of analogue or symbol for the identity politics of feminism, gay rights
> etc, is beside the point. Mind you, I am all in favour of social diversity,
> experiments in living, etc, so I strongly support the "rights" ("rights
> talk" is nonsense on stilts but reasonable shorthand here) of gays, polys
> and so on. But that is within a worldview where I also want freedoms that
> will enable radical enhancements of the body - quite literally.

Isn't this a rather general problem, the mistaking of reality for
symbols (and symbols for reality)? It seems to be more common in
the more symbol-oriented academic disciplines, and given the
distance between the two cultures it is even easier to mix them up
when looking across the chasm - humanists seeing science and
engineering concepts as symbols rather than reality, and scientists
getting upset about the apparent total relativism of

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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