On Mon, May 29, 2006 at 07:15:33PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> I don't see why you are so sure about the necessity of passing through
> non-functional brain structures going from you to Napoleon. After all,
> there is a continuous sequence of intermediates between you and a
> fertilized ovum, and on the face of it you have much more in common
> mentally and physically with Napoleon than with a fertilized ovum.
> However, technical feasibility is not the point. The point is that *if*
> (let's say magically) your mind were gradually transformed, so that your

We need to be a bit more precise than "magically". In Parfit's book he
talks about swapping out my neurons for the equivalent neurons in
Napoleon's brain. Sure this is not exactly technically feasible at
present, but for thought experiment purposes it is adequate, and
suffices for doing the teleporting experiment.

The trouble I have is that Napoleon's brain will be wired completely
differently to my own. Substituting enough of his neurons and
connections will eventually just disrupt the functioning of my brain.

Perhaps there is some other way of passing through functioning brain
states, but not in the way Parfit describes it. Perhaps there is a way
going through a sequence of brains states to when I was an embryo,
then reversing the process via developing Napoleon's brain. But would
each stage be conscious? It is still debatable whether children under
the age of 12 months are conscious (eg in the sense of being
self-aware), let alone the mind of a foetus.

All I can say is that things are definitely more subtle than Parfit was

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