Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

shminux comments on Timeless Identity - Less Wrong

23 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 03 June 2008 08:16AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (244)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread. Show more comments above.

Comment author: shminux 01 October 2013 06:28:16AM -1 points [-]

Ironically...the (area 10) might actually be replaceable. I'm not sure whether any personalized memories are kept there - I don't know what that specific region does but it's in an area that mostly deals with executive function - which is important for personality, but not necessarily individuality.

What's the difference between personality and individuality?

Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 01 October 2013 09:29:20AM *  1 point [-]

In my head:

Personality is a set of dichotomous variables plotted on a bell curve. "Einstein was extroverted, charismatic, nonconforming, and prone to absent-mindedness" describes his personality. We all have these traits in various amounts. You can some of these personality nobs really easily with drugs. I can't specify Einstein out of every person in the world using only his personality traits - I can only specify individuals similar to him.

Individuality is stuff that's specific to the person. "Einstein's second marriage was to his cousin and he had at least 6 affairs. He admired Spinoza, and was a contemporary of Tagore. He was a socialist and cared about civil rights. He had always thought there was something wrong about refrigerators." Not all of these are dichotomous variables - you either spoke to Tagore or you didn't. And it makes no sense to put people on a "satisfaction with Refrigerators" spectrum, even though I suppose you could if you wanted to. And all this information together specifically points to Einstein, and no one else in the world. Everyone in the world a set of unique traits like fingerprints - and it doesn't even make sense to ask what the "average" is, since most of the variables don't exist on the same dimension.

And...well, when it comes to Area 10, just intuitively, do you really want to define yourself by a few variables that influence your executive function? Personally I define myself partially by my ideas, and partially by my values...and the former is definitely in the "individuality" territory.

Comment author: shminux 01 October 2013 04:49:14PM -1 points [-]

OK, I understand what you mean by personality vs individuality. However, I doubt that the functionality of BA10 can be described "by a few variables that influence your executive function". Then again, no one knows anything definite about it.