View Full Version : What is the Essense of a human being
12-12-2002, 02:43 PM
This is my first post here so bear with me.
What makes an individual the person you love, care, know about? A soul is so ethereal and intangible so we cannot go there. Is it the collection of their memories, the way they move thru years of instinct and development, their way of reasoning. Is it their mind?
If it were that, then wouldnt it be true if you can transfer that mind into another body (lets say a clone or a very sophisticated computer) would that not still be the same person you know, love and cared about?
Hypothetically, if you had a loving daughter whose body was mangled beyond repair in an accident and if we could transfer her mind completely into another body, would she still be your daughter, even tho not one part of her has any genetic relationship to you? and what of her original body?
12-12-2002, 03:13 PM
Try reading some Kurzweil (http://www.kurzweilai.net/index.html?flash=1). He covers this alot. Here (http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?main=/articles/art0533.html) is a good conversation about what it takes to preserve a human (in the context of later reanimation - cryonics) and avoid "false reanimations".Now one could even raise this issue (of a false reanimation) if the reanimated person does have the exact CNP of the original. One could take the philosophical position that this is still a different person. An argument for that is that once this technology is feasible, you could scan my CNP (perhaps while I'm sleeping) and create a CNP-identical copy of me. If you then come to me in the morning and say "good news, Ray, we successfully created your precise CNP-exact copy, we won't be needing your old body and brain anymore," I may beg to differ. I would wish the new Ray well, but feel that he's a different person. After all, I would still be here.
So even if I'm not still here, by the force of this thought experiment, he's still a different person. As you and I discussed at the reception, if we are using the preserved person as a data repository, then it would be feasible to create more than one "reanimated" person. If they can't all be the original person, then perhaps none of them are. This isn't just some intellectual puzzle with no real world ramifications. As we try to extend the lives of people in new and daring ways, we must know what has to be preserved to maintain the illusion (or reality) of self. No one wants to be destroyed while a copy lives on happily. We're coming up on this stuff quick as a species.
The matter becomes a great debate (as opposed to a technical puzzle) when the religious posit, with no evidence mind you, that there is a "soul" or some other such thing which can NEVER be known. Something that is not a physical process. Magic basically. This seems foolish to me. Even if there are things we have not discovered, surely they work some way. If there is a god and he does something, surely he must have done it, which means it is possible to do, which means it can be known. I don't agree with the idea that something can be done without there being a way to do it. Even if there is a soul, it must have qualities, traits, and if it is there, with proper tech, we will detect it.
12-12-2002, 03:17 PM
By the way . . . Welcome to the SDMB!!!
12-12-2002, 03:18 PM
I believe you've outdone yourself, DJ. Do you pick your nose on city buses to see how people react? ;)
12-12-2002, 03:21 PM
Is that a thinly veiled trolling accusation? Tsk tsk. Wrong forum.
12-12-2002, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by dalovindj
By the way . . . Welcome to the SDMB!!!
Thank you very much!
In retrospect, transferring the mind would be akin to transferring the soul and I am sure certain religious pundits would take exception to that as another example of mans arrogance to usurp God's power.
Another sticky situation is if in the process of transferring minds, the side-effect is actually just duplicating the memories from one body to another. Would we have duplicated the soul as well?
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