Charles Goodwin wrote:


> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Saibal Mitra [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> >
> > As I have written before, a person is just a computation being
implemented
> > somewhere. Suppose that the person has discovered that he suffers from a
> > terminal ilness and he dies (the computation ends). Now in principle the
> > person in question could have lived on if he wasn't diagnosed with this
> > terminal ilness. Somewhere in the multiverse this person exists. Some
time
> > ago I wrote (I think on the FoR list) that the transformation from the
old
> > dying person to the new person is a continuous one. The process of death
> > must involve the destruction of the brain. At some time the information
> > that the person is dying will be lost to the person. The person might
even
> > think he is 20 years old while in reality he is 92. Anyway, the point is
> > that his brain had stored so much information that adding new
information
> > would lead to an inconsistency. By dumping some of the information, the
> > information left  will be identical to the information in a similar
brain
> > somewhere else of a younger person, free from disease.
>
> Hmm.....and this is a simpler theory, with more explanatory power, than
that people are just material objects which eventually wear
> out?

People are material objects, but the materials out of which people are made
don't matter.

If your neurons were replaced by artifiicial ones that would function in the
same way, would you not be the same person?

You would answer any question in the same way as the original version of you
would. I conclude that it is the computation that is performed by your brain
that generates you. The materials don't matter. I could just as well
generate you by a primitive analog computer. What matters is the computer
program that is running on the machine, not the machine itself.

If you believe that all possible universes exist (universes that can be
generated by a computer program), then you ``always´´ exist in some
universe, because, by definition, you are a computer program.

So, I would say that you will always find yourself alive somewhere. But it
is interesting to consider only our universe and ignore quantum effects.
Even then you will always find yourself alive somewhere, but you won't find
yourself becoming infinitely old (see above). Because this is a classical
continuation of you, it is much more likely than any quantum continuation
that allows you to survive an atomic bomb exploding above your head.

Saibal

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