On Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 10:31:16AM -0700, "Hal Finney" wrote:
> Russell Standish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
> > If computationalism is true, then a person is instantiated by all
> > equivalent computations. If you change one instantiation to something
> > inequivalent, then that instantiation no longer "instantiates" the
> > person. The person continues to exist, as long as there remain valid
> > computations somewhere in the universe. And in almost any of the many
> > worlds variants we consider in this list, that will be true.
> That's true, but even with the MWI, making an instantiation cease to
> exist decreases the measure of that person.  Around here we call that
> "murder".  The moral question still exists.  I don't see the MWI as
> rescuing functionalism and computationalism.
> What, after all, do these principles mean?  They say that the
> implementation substrate doesn't matter.  You can implement a person
> using neurons or tinkertoys, it's all the same.  But if there is no way
> in principle to tell whether a system implements a person, then this
> philosophy is meaningless since its basic assumption has no meaning.
> The MWI doesn't change that.
> Hal Finney

There is no way to tell if a given system implements a person
REGARDLESS of whether functionalism is true or not.

The best we have is some kind of Turing test - if it walks and quacks
like the only person we know (ourself), it is a person and if it doesn't then
there is little benefit in assuming that it is a person.


*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
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