Mark Peaty wrote:
Brent: 'However, all that is needed for the arguments that appear on
this list is to recreate a rough, functioning copy of the body plus a
detailed reproduction of memory and a brain that functioned
approximately the same. That much might not be too hard. After all, as
Stathis points out, you're not the same atoms you were a week ago'
MP: Well! I'm not going to let YOU pull the levers or press any buttons
if I have to be faxed anywhere soon! You make philosophers'
copy-machines sound like props for Frankenstein's Monster or that movie
'The Fly'. Furthermore " ... memory and a brain that functioned
approximately the same" would seem to be rather less than what Bruno's
arguments about copying require.
All that Bruno's argument requires is that the copy be conscious and think it's
But my point is that, whilst the ideas
are cute, they are also nonsense any way.
It's a thought experiment - it's not supposed to be a real problem.
Most people have problems
enough living from day to day, and the only time that 'copying' of a
person really has any relevance is where surgery or prosthetic
augmentation of some kind really should be done to alleviate suffering
or prevent premature death.
As for Stathis's assertion about seemingly minor changes which commonly
occur to people's brains as they get older, like the odd little stroke
here and there, it is always a question of the facts in each case. Some
deficiencies turn out to be crucial in terms of quality of life: loosing
the use of one or two fingers could be annoying, embarrassing and on
occasion quite dangerous. Losing the ability to remember the names of
all the people you know, would likewise not be nice. On the other hand,
losing the ability to recognise things on the left side of your world,
or losing the ability to see the people you knew before as being THOSE
people such that you become convinced that the person you are with is a
substitute, now that could be very dysfunctional and very distressing. I
have seen it written that in fact most people who survive past middle
age, do in fact suffer from 'micro' strokes quite often but usually the
perceived experience is that of progressively weakened memory. Not
Alzheimer's which is a league of its own, but just difficulty
remembering certain things.
I have a devastatingly insightful analysis of this - which unfortunately has
slipped by mind (I'm 67 :) )
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