Re: Are we simulated by some massive computer?

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 22:23:41 +1000

On 29 April 2004 Bruno Marchal wrote:

>At 23:16 28/04/04 +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>>There is a single idea underlying much of the confusion in discussions of
>>personal identity: the belief in a soul.
>>I use this term for a quality or substance which resides in a person
>>throughout his life and is somehow responsible for his identity, and which
>>(here is the problem) is not captured by a complete description of the
>>person's physical and psychological state. Often, it is a hidden
>That's a nice definition of the soul, quite similar to the provable
>of the "first person", once we will define it precisely (in the Thaetetus
>way). And comp will
>entails, *as a theorem*, the existence of the soul, then!

Actually, I didn't mean to use "soul" as a synonym for consciousness or
subjective experience, which is why I said it was something not captured by
a complete description of a person's physical *or psychological* state.
Subjective experience differs from other empirical data in that it can only
be fully understood in a first person context, but I do not see why this
should disqaulify it from being a fit subject for scientific study.
Cognitive psychologists write rigorous scientific papers of which they are
very proud, and they seem to have replaced the behaviourists (who thought
consciousness was at best unimportant and at worst non-existent) in most
academic psychology departments.

What I meant by "soul" was something beyond reason or empirical fact,
whether of the first or the third person variety; something magical or
supernatural, in other words.

Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Fri Apr 30 2004 - 08:26:56 PDT

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