Identity Philosophy and Human Copying

by phil on Sunday Nov 18, 2012 3:23 AM

This is Part 4 of 4 in a series of posts sparked by the Kurzweil's You 2 thought experiment.

If we lived in a world where temporary human copies were a necessity of teleportation or mind-uploading, then we would have to trust that our discarded version (d-version) would adhere to a vanishing pact. We would have to believe that after the grace period (whether it's 1 minute or 24 hours), we would willingly let ourselves die so that the canonical version (c-version) could live on unencumbered by our presence.

Whether or not you're willing to accept a vanishing pact depends on your philosophy of identity. In my case, for example, I am liable to accept the vanishing pact, even if I was tempted with a 24-hour grace period as a d-version. This is because I identify heavily with my work. I would feel that whatever legacy I have would suffer by having the threat of competition with a renegade d-version, or ronin, running around. As a result, as the d-version, I would willingly commit seppuku.

But this is based on my identity philosophy. Other people may identify more with the rolling thunder of their experience. They might not care much about their body of work or constellation of relationships, but rather they might have a plain thirst for continued being, and therefore would refuse to vanish.

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