Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 03 Dec 2009, at 23:12, Brent Meeker wrote:
Exactly.  It is the magical "I" that is swapped.

That "I" is magical. It is like swapping both the mind (or 1-I) and the body (or 3-I).
Eventually this is the reason why absolute sample of the observer moment does not work, and we need relative self self-sampling. Which neither with QM (without collapse) or just digital mechanism is obvious to derive.

The mind can swap its body for brain or another
??  You mean "or brain"?

Yes, I meant "a mind" (a first person, a soul; or the "(Bp & p) of some Lobian program") can swap its body or brain for another body or brain. Sorry.

, or survive through a digital back-up. Rigt?
This mean the notion of "I" still make sense.
But it doesn't make sense to swap two minds and their bodies (i.e. perspectives).  That's just interchanging positions and isn't generally thought to affect who is who - although read Stanislau Lem's "The Star Diaries".  And if you suppose the mind is embodied in the brain or digital machine then swapping minds with Stathis implies swapping the essential aspects of the brain or machine.

Yes. As usual with mechanism, you can identify, in a first approximation, the mind with the (running) software. It is the same with a computer. You can swap the physical hard disk, but if you want your "computer" to "keep its mind", you have to reinstall its software, and its initial configuration, with all the data.

Both the 1-I, and the 3-I makes sense, it is the link between them which is "magical", and made harder to figure out than people usually believe, like with the identity thesis, physical supervenience, etc.

Now, when you see that people have some difficulty to understand thought experience without amnesia, thought experience with amnesia are perhaps premature. I am not sure. It depends on your familiarity with such kind of thought.

I'm not sure what "thought experience with amnesia" is, but taken rigorously it sounds impossible.

I was alluding to some discussions we had when discussing the movie "the prestige", or when discussing the Saibal Mitra backtracking. 
The question is this, and is addressed to the people who already accept an artificial brain in the usual conditions which are supposed to be perfect (right substitution level, competent doctor):  would you still say yes to the doctor if he tells you that, after the reconstitution of your brain, you will lose the memory of one day, or of one week, or one year, or of your entire life, etc.

By thought experience with amnesia, I meant a thought experience which involves a partial or a total amnesia. Not only this is possible, but this happens in "real life" rather often, for example in car accidents, or in war head injuries.  Some drug (for example salvia divinorum) can generate severe (but temporary) amnesia, and can help to make "real" some of those thought experiences.
Those thought experiences are not needed to understand that the physical reality and physical sensations emerge from numbers addition and multiplication, for example, but may be useful to tackle the identity problem "why I am I", "who am I really?", etc.  (cf soulcatcher☠ question)

In general I try to avoid them. When we discussed the prestige movie, we talk about this. I said, in a conversation with Quentin Anciaux, that IF you believe that you can survive with a "total amnesia", THEN you are expanding a lot the variety of the possible form of the computationalist immortality.

That's what I meant by impossible.  If there is no memory at all, then I don't see how the construct we refer to as "you" can even be identified.

If you make the experience of remembering having been nothing less and nothing more than a universal (Löbian) machine, you can know (or imagine) that you are already immortal. You can live the experience of being the static consciousness, out of time and space, of the universal (digital) person, and intuit that time and space are a construction of your mind. Some "slow sleep" (non REM) dream state can lead to similar experiences, and I suspect that Plato, Plotinus, Kant and Descartes (and probably many others) lived things like that.

I thought it was impossible to live that and to be able to come back from such an experience, but it happens that with salvia divinorum, some subject can live the experience of quasi-total amnesia, where not only you forget which human you are, but you can forget what a human is, what time is, what space is, and yet, retrospectively, after coming back, you realize that despite having forgot everything, you were still conscious, and you were still considering you as a living entity of some sort.
I've not had that experience, but I might try it.  I think though that even in such a state one must have some short-term (~second) memory to have a human kind of consciousness.  Obviously you now have memories of what it was like.  I have known people with severe Alzheimer's disease who seemed merely reactive and apparently had no memory, even short term.  I don't think they were as conscious as my dog or the fish in my pond.


Some people are terrified by such experience, other enjoy it or find it interesting. It helps indeed to realize the contingent nature of particular memories and the "illusion" of identity. I don't recommend it, unless it is legal in your state and you are pretty curious on the functioning of the brain, and the nature of your identity. People who don't like metaphysical vertigo should be very cautious (always begin by the leaves, and then increment the concentration with extracts very slowly---do the contrary of what people shows on youtube!). Well, they should be very cautious with UDA too, I guess.



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