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In response to comment by [deleted] on Timeless Identity
Comment author: someonewrongonthenet 01 October 2013 02:51:03AM *  0 points [-]

Because the notion of "me" is not an ontologically basic category and the question of whether the "real me" wakes up is a question that aught to be un-asked.

I'm a bit confused at the question...you articulated my intent with that sentence perfectly in your other post.

Hrm.. ambiguous semantics. I took it to imply acceptance of the idea but not elevation of its importance, but I see how it could be interpreted differently.

and, as TheOtherDave said,

presumably that also helps explain how they can sleep at night.

EDIT: Nevermind, I now understand which part of my statement you misunderstood.

I'm not accepting-but-not-elevating the idea that the 'Real me" doesn't wake up on the other side. Rather, I'm saying that the questions of personal identity over time do not make sense in the first place. It's like asking "which color is the most moist"?

You actually continue functioning when you sleep, it's just that you don't remember details once you wake up. A more useful example for such discussion is general anesthesia, which shuts down the regions of the brain associated with consciousness. If personal identity is in fact derived from continuity of computation, then it is plausible that general anesthesia would result in a "different you" waking up after the operation. The application to cryonics depends greatly on the subtle distinction of whether vitrification (and more importantly, the recovery process) slows downs or stops computation. This has been a source of philosophical angst for me personally, but I'm still a cryonics member.

More troubling is the application to uploading. I haven't done this yet, but I want my Alcor contract to explicitly forbid uploading as a restoration process, because I am unconvinced that a simulation of my destructively scanned frozen brain would really be a continuation of my personal identity. I was hoping that “Timeless Identity” would address this point, but sadly it punts the issue.

The root of your philosophical dilemma is that "personal identity" is a conceptual substitution for soul - a subjective thread that connects you over space and time.

No such thing exists. There is no specific location in your brain which is you. There is no specific time point which is you. Subjective experience exists only in the fleeting present. The only "thread' connecting you to your past experiences is your current subjective experience of remembering them. That's all.

Comment author: AFinerGrain 03 October 2017 01:54:37AM 0 points [-]

I always wonder how I should treat my future self if I reject the continuity of self. Should I think of him like a son? A spouse? A stranger? Should I let him get fat? Not get him a degree? Invest in stock for him? Give him another child?

Comment author: AFinerGrain 03 October 2017 12:45:06AM 1 point [-]

I've always been half-way interested in LessWrong. SlateStar, Robin Hanson, and Bryan Caplan have been favorite reading for a very long time. But every once in a while I'd have a look at the LessWrong, read something, and forget about it for months at a time.

After the rework I find this place much more appealing. I created a profile and I'm even commenting. I hope one day I can contribute. But honestly, I feel 200% better about just browsing and reading.

Great job.

Comment author: potato 24 April 2012 01:58:14AM *  23 points [-]

That's not semantics, it's syntactics.


(Get it? Cause that is a minor semantic issue.)

Comment author: AFinerGrain 03 October 2017 12:05:59AM 0 points [-]

People say, "no pun intended" because they don't want to be held responsible for the terrible pain puns cause.

Comment author: AFinerGrain 02 October 2017 11:52:39PM 0 points [-]

I originally learned about these ideas from Thinking Fast and Slow, but I love hearing them rephrased and repeated again and again. Thinking clearly often means getting in the cognitive habit of questioning every knee-jerk intuition.

On the other hand, coming from a Bryan Caplan / Michael Huemer perspective, aren't we kind of stuck with some set of base intuitions? Intuitions like; I exist, the universe exists, other people exist, effects have causes, I'm not replaced by a new person with memory implants every time I go to sleep...

You might even call these base intuitions, "magic," in the sense that you have to have faith in them in order to do anything like rationality.