Re: Functionalism and People as Programs

From: Stathis Papaioannou <stathispapaioannou.domain.name.hidden>
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 2005 13:58:31 +1000

R. Miller writes (quoting Lee Corbin):

>>If someone can teleport me back and forth from work to home, I'll
>>be happy to go along even if 1 atom in every thousand cells of mine
>>doesn't get copied.
>
>Exposure to a nuclear detonation at 4000 yds typically kills about 1 in a
>million cells. When that happens, you die. I would suggest that is a bad
>metaphor.

Losing one atom in every thousand cells is not the same as losing the cell
itself. Cells are a constant work in progress. Bits fall off, transcription
errors occur in the process of making proteins, radiation or noxious
chemicals damage subcellular components, and so on. The machinery of the
cell is constantly at work repairing all this damage. It is like a building
project where the builders only just manage to keep up with the wreckers.
Eventually, errors accumulate or the blueprints are corrupted and the cell
dies. Taking the organism as a whole, the effect of all this activity is
like the ship of Theseus: over time, even though it looks like the same
organism, almost all the matter in it has been replaced.

--Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Fri Jun 03 2005 - 23:59:23 PDT

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