On Wed, May 31, 2006 at 07:53:35PM -0400, Jesse Mazer wrote:
> Anyway, I agree with your basic point--although practical possibility is not 
> important to philosophical thought-experiments, *logical* possibility 
> certainly is, and if there were no smooth path between me and Napoleon (or 
> Bruno or anyone else) in the phase space of all possible minds/brains, such 
> that every intermediate point on the path was a single integrated mind, then 
> Parfit's thought-experiment wouldn't work. I don't think this "island" idea 
> is very plausible given the hugeness of the space of all possible 
> minds/brains, but it can't be ruled out.
> Jesse

Huge it is, but implementation space is even huger. We don't have an
adequate theory of what arrangements of things can be conscious, but
if we limit ourselves to brains we have a problem. There are vastly
more nonconscious arrangements of neurons than conscious ones. And the
conscious states we know of are not fully contiguous either.

Anyway, the end result may well be "we don't know", but there still
seems to be some life in this thread!


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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