On Thu, 22 Apr 1999, Gilles HENRI wrote:
(note: I wrote)
> The point is that a human brain implements some digital
> >computations. An analog system is perfectly capable of implementing
> >digital computations; usually only for a certain set of initial
> >conditions. The basic unit which is associated with consciousness
> >is one time step of such a computation. To reproduce a particular
> >observation - which you can call 'you' - you only need to implement the
> >given computation by any means.
> The question I raise is: how do you define different implementations of the
> same person vs implementations of different persons (or thinking machines)?
You don't. At least, you don't have to, but could for practical
purposes. It's not a fundamental distinction.
> If you meet somebody who insures you
> that he is you, would you believe him and if not, why?
It depends on the definition you use. If he is implementing the
same conscious computation as me, then he's the same as me in that sense.
(And this is the one that's involved in the duplication thought experiment.)
But he's not me in the sense that there are still two of us. If he's just
implementing ones that are very closely related to mine, such as my future
self would do, or my counterparts in other MWI 'worlds' would do, then
he's close enough to me for many practical purposes. For legal purposes
(e.g. property rights), he's not me.
> You seem to adopt a very large definition of "consciousness" (any
> computation?) and "you" (any reproduction of any computation that you made
> at any time?). As any definition, it is perfectly respectable. But it does
> not fit into what is usually meant by these words in the all day life.
No, only a conscious computation counts. Most computations have
no consciouness, presumably. And no, it has to be the one I'm making now
- so I'm a different person now than in the past, technically. And yes,
it is different, because technical applications require precise
definitions that describe the new way of thinking.
- - - - - - -
Jacques Mallah ([EMAIL PROTECTED])
Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
My URL: http://pages.nyu.edu/~jqm1584/