Ghosts in the Shell

In response to Bernard Garners comments responding to Benjamin Blech (

Whether consciousness is an emergent property of information flow in a neural network or whether it is somehow connected to quantum physical processes in matter and energy, the problem is the same: why and how is there subjective experience associated with the physics of matter and energy or the flow of information? David Chalmers is a respected authority on the subject of consciousness. He labels this question the “hard problem” of consciousness and is critical of the quantum consciousness ideas of Penrose.
Bernard Garners comments imply a property of consciousness that is perhaps naive, which is that ones consciousness is ego-centrically limited to a singular instantiation in the individual one believes oneself to be. Why should this be the case? It may be possible that “your” consciousness can be duplicated somewhere else. In fact, this is a more reasonable notion than the notion of the “transfer” of consciousness, which is deeply problematic. If mind uploading is ever possible, it will likely never be a transfer of mind, but rather a copy of mind and probably an inexact copy at that.

Edits added here 14Feb2017: We might conclude that mind uploading can never be an escape from our mortal frame. But then there is the “piecewise cloning paradox”. It is difficult to agree that if a single brain cell is replaced with a functionally isomorphic device your consciousness is extinguished and another instance of “you” spawned in its place. Repeating the procedure eventually results in your biological brain being replaced by a synthetic system with no break in the continuity of “you”. Yet if all your brain cells are simultaneously replicated in a discrete synthetic system, the clone experiences a continuum of “you’ness” but to then destroy your existing biological brain is clearly a death. Why are we uneasy about or resistant to escaping mortality by the second method, but not the first?

8Nov2015 Posted to


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