RE: Functionalism and People as Programs

From: Lee Corbin <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jun 2005 10:36:16 -0700

R. Miller writes

> Lee Corbin wrote:
> >Stephen writes
> >
> > > I really do not want to be a stick-in-the-mud here,
> > > but what do we base the idea that "copies" could
> > > exist upon?
> >
> > It is a conjecture called "functionalism" (or one of its close variants).
> "Functionalism," at least, in the social sciences refers to the proposition
> that everything exists because it has a function (use).

Well, that is *not* at all the meaning of the term in philosophy. To
put it simply, "if it behaves like a duck in every particular, it is
a duck".

> I notice that many people seek refuge in the "no-copying" theorem of
> QM. Well, for them, I have that automobile travel also precludes
> survival. I can prove that to enter an automobile, drive it somewhere,
> and then exit the automobile invariably changes the quantum state of
> the person so reckless as to do it.
> >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.

Well, my numbers, above, are *entirely* different from yours. One in a million
cells is a *terrible* loss. But one atom? There are 10^14 atoms per cell.
(And 10^14 cells in a typical human.) I would stick with my numbers.
But in case you are somehow right, and that each cell would be wrecked
by the loss of a single atom, my point can be made by relaxing the
numbers: replace what I've written by "I'll be happy to teleport even
if 100 trillion atoms are destroyed: a whole cell, gone".


P.S. Thanks for the interesting fact that death of 1/10^6 cells kills one.
Received on Sat Jun 04 2005 - 13:35:15 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:10 PST