Re: Personal Identity and Ethics

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2009 17:19:27 +1100

2009/2/21 Stephen Paul King <>:
> Hi Stathis,
> A question : Is is incorrect of me to infer that the psychological
> criterion of personal identity discussed in Shoemaker's book and, by your
> statement below, used by a predominance of members of this list is one that
> treats conscious self-awareness as an epiphenomena arrising from a Classical
> system and that it is, at least tacitly, assumed that quantum effects have
> no supervenience upon any notion of Consciousness?
> While I welcome the rejection of notion of "Souls" which are in
> principle non-verifiable, could we be endulging in meaningless chatter about
> computerizing consciousness if we do not first determen that consciousness
> is a purely classical epiphenomena? After all we are repeatedly told that it
> is the classical view of the Universe and all within it is a theory long ago
> refuted.

The psychological criterion of personal identity is, or should be,
agnostic on the question of how consciousness is actually generated.
It says simply that if I am destroyed here and a copy of me with the
same psychological properties is created there, then I will suddenly
find myself there. It is possible to accept this criterion but deny
that the right sort of psychological properties could be duplicated in
a computer, or by any physical means at all if there is a supernatural
element involved in consciousness. What I find incoherent is the idea
that the psychological properties might be able to be duplicated but
nevertheless there is no continuity of identity because the soul
cannot be duplicated.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Sat Feb 21 2009 - 01:19:38 PST

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