The Copy Paradox

John K Clark (
Sat, 15 Nov 1997 20:22:47 -0800 (PST)


"Nick Bostrom" <> On Fri, 14 Nov 1997 Wrote:

>human beings are not words or concepts

Obviously I agree that people are not words, but I strongly disagree with
your other statement. A concept is a mental state and I don't have mental
states, I am a mental state, or a collection of them. To distinguish one
state from another adjectives and adverbs (information) are what's important,
objects (matter) are generic and interchangeable, lots of things can make me
happy or be red or small or round or move swiftly or be intelligent or
whatever. Lots of things can be me too, it's just that right now only one
thing behaves in my way. That need not always be true.

>To say that you are a verb is to imply that you are not alive,
>because neither words nor concepts are living things.

Or it implies that our ideas about the fundamental properties that
distinguish life from non life need to be changed. Concepts (not things)
like intelligence and consciousness are more important than digestion,
at least that's my concept.

>Also, note the interdefinability of nouns, adjectives and nouns, in
>a natural (at least in the eyes of philosophers) extension of
>English: Dog=that which "dogs"=that which is "doggish".

True, and it's almost enough to give circular reasoning a bad name. Actually
I think all it proves is that definitions are not all that important and
except when doing mathematics or formal logic we seldom use them or need to.

>IMHO, if one is afraid of being mentally imprisoned by language
>patterns, one is better advised to read Carnap and W. V. Quine than
>to study this e-prime stuff.

I agree with you 100% there.

John K Clark

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