There must exist a ''high level'' program that specifies a person in terms
of qualia. These qualia are ultimately defined by the way neurons are
connected, but you could also think of persons in terms of the high-level
algorithm, instead of the ''machine language'' level algorithm specified by
the neural network.

The interpolation between two persons is more easily done in the high level
language. Then you do obtain a continuous path from one person to the other.
For each intermediary person, you can then try to ''compile'' the program to
the corresponding neural network.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jesse Mazer" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, May 30, 2006 02:29 AM
Subject: Re: Reasons and Persons

> Russell Standish wrote:
> >
> >
> >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
> > > (let's say magically) your mind were gradually transformed, so that
> >
> >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.
> I agree that Parfit's simple method would probably create a nonfunctional
> state in between, or at least the intermediate phase would involve a sort
> split personality disorder with two entirely separate minds coexisting in
> the same brain, without access to each other's thoughts and feelings. But
> this is probably not a fatal flaw in whatever larger argument he was
> because you could modify the thought experiment to say something like
> assume that in the phase space of all possibe arrangements of neurons and
> synapses, there is some continuous path between my brain and Napoleon's
> brain such that every intermediate state would have a single integrated
> consciousness". There's no way of knowing whether such a path exists (and
> course I don't have a precise definition of 'single integrated
> consciousness'), but it seems at least somewhat plausible.
> Jesse
> >

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