On Thu, Jun 16, 2005 at 01:02:11AM -0700, Jonathan Colvin wrote:
> Russell Standish wrote:
> >> Nope, I'm thinking of dualism as "the mind (or consciousness) is 
> >> separate from the body". Ie. The mind is not identical to the body.
> >> 
> >
> >These two statements are not equivalent. You cannot say that 
> >the fist is separate from the hand. Yet the fist is not 
> >identical to the hand.
> Well, actually I'd say the fist *is* identical to the hand. At least, my
> fist seems to be identical to my hand.

Even when the hand is open????

>  Another example. You cannot say that a 
> >smile is separate from someone's mouth. Yet a smile is not 
> >identical to the mouth.
> Depends whether you are a Platonist (dualist) about smiles. I'd say a
> smiling mouth *is* identical to a mouth.

Even when the mouth is turned down???

> Well, to explicate, the DA suffers from the issue of defining an appropriate
> reference set. Now, we are clearly not both random observers on the class of
> all observers(what are the chances of two random observers from the class of
> all observers meeting at this time on the same mailing list? Googleplexianly
> small). Neither are we both random observers from the class of "humans"
> (same argument..what are the chances that both our birth ranks are
> approximately the same?). For instance, an appropriate reference set for me
> (or anyone reading this exchange) might be "people with access to email
> debating the DA". But this reference set nullifies the DA, since my birth
> rank is no longer random; it is constrained by the requirement, for example,
> that email exists (a pre-literate caveman could not debate the DA).

This would be true if we are arguing about something that depended on
us communicating via email. The DA makes no such argument, so
therefore the existence of email, and of our communication is irrelevant.

> The only way to rescue the DA is to assume that I *could have had* a
> different birth rank; in other words, that I could have been someone other
> than "me" (me as in "my body"). If the body I'm occupying is contingent (ie.
> I could have been in any human body, and am in this one by pure chance),
> then the DA is rescued. 


> This seems to require a dualistic account of
> identity. 

Why? Explain this particular jump of logic please? I'm not being
stubborn here, I seriously do not understand how you draw this conclusion.

> >
> >Of course a mind is not _identical_ to a body. What an absurd 
> >thing to say. If your definition of dualism is that mind and 
> >body are not identical, then this is a poor definition indeed. 
> >It is tautologically true.
> Why do you say "of course"? I believe that I (my mind) am exactly identical
> to my body (its brain, to be specific).

Really? Even when you're not conscious? What about after you've died?
What about after brain surgery? After being copied by Bruno Marchal's

>  My definition would be something 
> >along the lines of minds and bodies have independent existence 
> >- ie positing the existence of disembodied minds is dualism. 
> >Such an assumption is not required to apply the Doomsday 
> >argument. I may make such assumptions in other areas though - 
> >such as wondering why the Anthropic Principle is valid. Not 
> >dualism implies the Anthropic Principle.
> Then how can a tree be a lion without assuming that minds and bodies can
> have independent existance? Assuming dualism, its easy; simply switch the
> lion's mind with the tree's.

The question "Why am I not a lion?" is syntactically similar to "Why I
am not an ant", or "Why I am not Jonathon Colvin?". The treeness (or
otherwise) of the questioner is rather irrelevant. In any case, the
answers to both the latter questions do not assume minds can be

> >> As a little boy once asked, "Why are lions, lions? Why 
> >aren't lions ants?"
> >I have asked this question of myself "Why I am not an ant?". 
> >The answer (by the Doomsday Argument) is that ants are not 
> >conscious. The question, and answer is quite profound.
> That doesn't seem profound; it seems obvious. Even more obvious is the
> answer "If you were an ant, you wouldn't be Russell Standish. So it is a
> meaningless question".

I _didn't_ ask the question "Assuming I am Russell Standish, why am I
not an ant?" I asked the question of "Why wasn't I an ant?". Its a
different question completely.

> Switch the question. Why aren't you me (Jonathan Colvin)? I'm conscious
> (feels like I am, anyway).
> Jonathan Colvin

This one is also easy to answer also. I'm just as likely to have been
born you as born me. But I have to have been born someone. I just so
happened to have been born me. This is called "symmetry breaking".

In the ant case it is different. It is around a million times more
likely that I would have been born an ant rather than a human
being. Consequently the answer is different.

*PS: A number of people ask me about the attachment to my email, which
is of type "application/pgp-signature". Don't worry, it is not a
virus. It is an electronic signature, that may be used to verify this
email came from me if you have PGP or GPG installed. Otherwise, you
may safely ignore this attachment.

A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
Mathematics                                    0425 253119 (")
UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
Australia                                http://parallel.hpc.unsw.edu.au/rks
            International prefix  +612, Interstate prefix 02

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