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Consciousness survives death

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Posted

... I think he even has a mathematical demonstration of how this works.

Logic, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. The basic of logic is the syllogism, consisting of a major and a minor premise and a conclusion

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Posted

The Bierce quote is hilarious. :lol: As to Wayne Stewart, I did PM him (apparently he's member wstewart here) about this discussion, but haven't heard back.

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Posted (edited)

I think Wayne Stewart and Tom Clark are geniuses.

Unless there does exist an indivisible self (homunculus) or some sort of afterlife (not likely) then this is the only possible fate of subjectivity upon death/a certain point of unconsciousness.

As a naturalist, it folds very nicely into my concept of the state of death. Previously I assumed that I would not be experiencing anymore, that I would just be in that "place" I was before birth. But now I realize that "place" I was before birth was, in fact, the body of another conscious being.

Edited by avalonesa

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Posted

Why is an after life judged to be "not likely?"

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Why is an after life judged to be "not likely?"

Just my opinion. (I mean the traditional and religious concepts of the afterlife: a continuance of my personal consciousness. This is more like a naturalistic theory of reincarnation, but yet there is no "self" to be reincarnated, if we must say there exists a self, I would call that "self": the theme of subjectivity. There is no "I" as davidm said, only variations on the one theme of subjectivity, the one "experiencer" to be analogous.)

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Has anyone noticed that the theory has a spin on evolution theory?

It is like existential passage is a hidden bonus for the subjects which are evolving.

Here is what I mean:

Let us just assume, for argument's sake, that earth is the only planet with conscious beings on it in the Universe (Ha! Quite unlikely, but anyway).

A few hundred million years ago the standard of living was quite low for the conscious beings that existed on earth around that era. Most animals were preyed upon and met ugly deaths at the hands (or should I say claws?) of the carnivores. The ones with the best lives (by best I mean maximum pleasure and minimum pain) were probably the larger carnivores (Tyrannosaurus-Rex). They didn't feel much pain (Because no predators were preying on them) and probably had a very pleasurable existence (sun bathing, gulping down whole dinosaurs whenever they were hungry). To all the other conscious species on the planet, T-Rex were like the pinnacles of evolution. (Of course the animals themselves would not know this).

Now, compare humans' lives (pinnacles of evolution today) to the lives of T-Rex (pinnacles of the past). Our standard of living is much higher (well not all of us, many people are in poverty and starving, but we can agree that our standard of living, overall, is higher than that of the dinosaurs, mainly due to our intelligence and opposable thumbs).

I say existential passage puts a different spin on evolution because those lesser evolved animals are now existing AS us, THEY have actually benefited from evolving into us by being able to exist AS us.

It is like the "one experiencer" (the theme of subjectivity) gets a bonus from evolving into more intelligent species.

Having said all of this, there still are animals of today with very low standards of living, but I would have to say the pinnacles of today (us) have a better, more pleasurable existence than the pinnacles of the past (T-Rex and others). Unless, of course, ignorance is bliss.

What does this mean for us? It means we can expect to benefit from evolving into more intelligent, more sophisticated species in the future (but yes, there is also a chance we will exist as lesser evolved animals with painful existences, or even as humans with painful existences). As a few others have already said, it is more like a lottery of who gets to exist as what.

And that is existential passage's "spin" on evolution.

When you die, don't be scared, just look forward to experiencing existence as some super-intelligent, highly evolved alien species with a very enormous birth rate!

Avalon.

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Posted

Has anyone noticed that the theory has a spin on evolution theory?

It is like existential passage is a hidden bonus for the subjects which are evolving.

Here is what I mean:

Let us just assume, for argument's sake, that earth is the only planet with conscious beings on it in the Universe (Ha! Quite unlikely, but anyway).

A few hundred million years ago the standard of living was quite low for the conscious beings that existed on earth around that era. Most animals were preyed upon and met ugly deaths at the hands (or should I say claws?) of the carnivores. The ones with the best lives (by best I mean maximum pleasure and minimum pain) were probably the larger carnivores (Tyrannosaurus-Rex). They didn't feel much pain (Because no predators were preying on them) and probably had a very pleasurable existence (sun bathing, gulping down whole dinosaurs whenever they were hungry). To all the other conscious species on the planet, T-Rex were like the pinnacles of evolution. (Of course the animals themselves would not know this).

Now, compare humans' lives (pinnacles of evolution today) to the lives of T-Rex (pinnacles of the past). Our standard of living is much higher (well not all of us, many people are in poverty and starving, but we can agree that our standard of living, overall, is higher than that of the dinosaurs, mainly due to our intelligence and opposable thumbs).

I say existential passage puts a different spin on evolution because those lesser evolved animals are now existing AS us, THEY have actually benefited from evolving into us by being able to exist AS us.

It is like the "one experiencer" (the theme of subjectivity) gets a bonus from evolving into more intelligent species.

Having said all of this, there still are animals of today with very low standards of living, but I would have to say the pinnacles of today (us) have a better, more pleasurable existence than the pinnacles of the past (T-Rex and others). Unless, of course, ignorance is bliss.

What does this mean for us? It means we can expect to benefit from evolving into more intelligent, more sophisticated species in the future (but yes, there is also a chance we will exist as lesser evolved animals with painful existences, or even as humans with painful existences). As a few others have already said, it is more like a lottery of who gets to exist as what.

And that is existential passage's "spin" on evolution.

When you die, don't be scared, just look forward to experiencing existence as some super-intelligent, highly evolved alien species with a very enormous birth rate!

Avalon.

There are some serious problems, though, with existential passage, at least as mooted by the authors.

I of course read the bit about the guy dying and exeriencing "rebirth" as the next person born (this is not reincarnation, though, as nothing passes from individual to the next that could be incarnated again.)

What I didn't understand from the discussion was why "existential passage" failed to go to the very next thing born, rather than the next person born. Isn't it much more likely that existential passage will go from "person" to "bug"?

Also, if existential passage were true, there is everything to fear. The concept is simply horrific. Think about it. It is essentially guaranteed that sooner or later "you" will existentially pass from a genius to an imbecile; from someone with a comfortable life, to someone being tortured to death in a dictator's dungeon.

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Posted

For crying out loud, is there nothing philosophy leaves unscathed; is nothing sacred? For heaven's sake, man has already dislodged himself from the center of the universe, slaughtered God, and amid the horrors of the 20th century found himself alone and orphaned, must we go after the "I" too; I wonder if postmodernisms' attraction to "desubstantialization" is really a manifestation of an innate sadistic/masochistic desire; now that God is dead, it seems that we are just hell bent on erasing the "self" as well, and when man, this man of supposed recent invention (Foucault), is wiped away, what shall be left?

Philosophy can be cruel business; no room for fallacious appeals to pity, what a monstrosity these logical mores can be..........

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For crying out loud, is there nothing philosophy leaves unscathed; is nothing sacred? For heaven's sake, man has already dislodged himself from the center of the universe, slaughtered God, and amid the horrors of the 20th century found himself alone and orphaned, must we go after the "I" too; I wonder if postmodernisms' attraction to "desubstantialization" is really a manifestation of an innate sadistic/masochistic desire; now that God is dead, it seems that we are just hell bent on erasing the "self" as well, and when man, this man of supposed recent invention (Foucault), is wiped away, what shall be left?

Philosophy can be cruel business; no room for fallacious appeals to pity, what a monstrosity these logical mores can be..........

Well, of course, as we have previously discussed, in the first Hans Kung thread, this idea that the horrors of the 20th century proceeded from "slaughtering God" can seem to be an opinion at best, and fictional at worst. Hitler was not an atheist. And, of course, as has been pointed out, all of history is a bloody slaughterhouse, with the slaughtering in centuries past being done explicitly in the name of God. And of course, it's still being done in the name of God right now.

As for the "I", the fact is, there can seem to be really solid philosophical and scientific reasons for rejecting it as nothing but an illusion.

The claim of existential passage, as I understand it, differs from reincarnation in that no "I" passes from one life to the next. As Stewart illustrated it at his site, we can think of a bunch of islands in the ocean, and suppose they are separate nodes of conscsiousness. But if we were to drain the water, we would see that the islands are all one big land mass (one large consciousness).

So I guess the claim is that since, on death, we can't really "fall into nothingness," since this sort of talk reifies nothing, a contradiction in terms, we can expect the locus of consciousness, or experience, to somehow "shift" from one island to another.

Even if this were true, though, I don't see how, for all practical purposes, it differs much from the atheist/materialist conception that at death, "I" swtiches off, and enters permanent dreamless sleep. Even if this "existential passage" somehow takes place, it doesn't do any good from my supposed "I", illusory as it may be, for just like in the standard atheist/materialist conception, it is permanently extinguished.

Also, as mentioned, I can't see why the locus of consciousness can't somehow "shift" to a different entity, like a bug, unless we are prepared to exclude all other organisms from having minds, which I would be disinclined to do.

Another problem is to figure out exactly what this hypothesis explains. We can say it explains away the fallacy of "falling into nothingness" -- the fallacy of reification -- but this supposed fallacy with respect to death may be just a linguistic confusion. We can just as well say that "I" ends permenantly, and avoid the linguistic reification right there. So what is the existential passage hypothesis good for? Not very much, it seems. Another problem, of course, is that if conscisouness for some reason can't "end" but merely shifts its existential location, this seems to suppose that consciousness is a permanent and immortal feature of the world, and we don't seem to have any reason at all to suppose this. But if all consciousness could end, as seems highly plausible, what then for existential passage? If consciousness would have no other conscious node or island to "pass to" if all consciousness were to end, why then should we think that it passes at all, from one conscious location to another, in the first place?

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Posted (edited)

As for the "I", the fact is, there can seem to be really solid philosophical and scientific reasons for rejecting it as nothing but an illusion.

The claim of existential passage, as I understand it, differs from reincarnation in that no "I" passes from one life to the next. As Stewart illustrated it at his site, we can think of a bunch of islands in the ocean, and suppose they are separate nodes of conscsiousness. But if we were to drain the water, we would see that the islands are all one big land mass (one large consciousness).

So I guess the claim is that since, on death, we can't really "fall into nothingness," since this sort of talk reifies nothing, a contradiction in terms, we can expect the locus of consciousness, or experience, to somehow "shift" from one island to another.

Even if this were true, though, I don't see how, for all practical purposes, it differs much from the atheist/materialist conception that at death, "I" swtiches off, and enters permanent dreamless sleep. Even if this "existential passage" somehow takes place, it doesn't do any good from my supposed "I", illusory as it may be, for just like in the standard atheist/materialist conception, it is permanently extinguished.

Also, as mentioned, I can't see why the locus of consciousness can't somehow "shift" to a different entity, like a bug, unless we are prepared to exclude all other organisms from having minds, which I would be disinclined to do.

Another problem is to figure out exactly what this hypothesis explains. We can say it explains away the fallacy of "falling into nothingness" -- the fallacy of reification -- but this supposed fallacy with respect to death may be just a linguistic confusion. We can just as well say that "I" ends permenantly, and avoid the linguistic reification right there. So what is the existential passage hypothesis good for? Not very much, it seems. Another problem, of course, is that if conscisouness for some reason can't "end" but merely shifts its existential location, this seems to suppose that consciousness is a permanent and immortal feature of the world, and we don't seem to have any reason at all to suppose this. But if all consciousness could end, as seems highly plausible, what then for existential passage? If consciousness would have no other conscious node or island to "pass to" if all consciousness were to end, why then should we think that it passes at all, from one conscious location to another, in the first place?

Davidm, most naturalistic people believe in the "I". Those that don't believe in a supernatural soul but believe in an indivisible self (as you said "the secular version of a soul") believe that some specific arrangement/pattern of atoms/genes creates the "I" (for if physical matter does not create it then what else would?). They believe they have an "indivisible self" because the "I" is all they know. Yet, even with the concept of existential passage (assuming there is no indivisible self, which is a very, very, very logical assumption) , the "I" is still all the subject can know. Simply because of the fact that each individual's brain is not physically networked to every other conscious being, we have the illusion of the "I". There is thinking, yet the thinking is just split into different physical contexts which create the illusion of a "self".

Like for instance, I am not you. Why aren't I you? Most people assume because "I" can only experience consciousness with a specific arrangement of genes/atoms/physical matter - "my" brain. Yet why would we believe this? There is no evidence for the "soul gene". There is no evidence for an indivisible self.

Consider this scenario to get you thinking:

Imagine if teleportation is possible. In order to teleport you from Earth to Mars, a copy of "you" (complete with memories etc.) is created on Mars whilst simultaneously "you" are destroyed on Earth. You have just been teleported. Since every atom of you has been destroyed in one place (Earth) and yet has been created in another (Mars) we can say you have been teleported. This is assuming what the secular advocates of the self believe in: The self is based on a specific physical arrangement of matter.

Assuming you believe in an "I" which is created by some physical arrangement of matter then you can accept that in this scenario you have effectively been teleported. Ok?

But what if the teleportation went wrong? Your Earth self was not destroyed and yet your Mars self was still made. Which one is you?................

Can you see the fallacy? There are now two "yous". The question "Which one is you?" makes no sense because there is no "you". The self is an illusion.

If the Earth "you" were to die soon after the "mistake" in teleportation, the Mars "you" is still living. So have "you" died? Well yes (the Earth "you" died), but "you" are still experiencing existence on Mars. Therefore, the subjectivity of the "you" who died on Earth would be relocated into the Mars "you" who lives. So the Earth "you" who just died is now on Mars. In the end, the teleportation has still worked. The only difference is that instead of you simultaneously being created (on Mars) and destroyed (on Earth), there was a delay in the destruction of your Earth "self". The teleportation did end up working. You are now experiencing existence on Mars, when only a split-second ago you were experiencing existence on Earth. Since people say the self is based on something physical then we must agree that, since the two beings are exact copies, subjectivity MUST relocate from one self to the next.

Remember: Existential Passage dispenses with the idea of an indivisible self. There is no such thing. It is an illusion. Given this, we can see that subjectivity is able to relocate to any conscious being, not just ones with the exact same physical arrangement of matter (specifically in the brain) as "you" (as I demonstrated in the above "teleportation example").

There is only "thinking" like you have said earlier. (You made a very good point about changing: "I think, therefore I am" to "There is thought, therefore I am.") There is only "the theme of subjectivity" and us conscious beings are all variations on it.

Another problem, of course, is that if conscisouness for some reason can't "end" but merely shifts its existential location, this seems to suppose that consciousness is a permanent and immortal feature of the world, and we don't seem to have any reason at all to suppose this. But if all consciousness could end, as seems highly plausible, what then for existential passage? If consciousness would have no other conscious node or island to "pass to" if all consciousness were to end, why then should we think that it passes at all, from one conscious location to another, in the first place?

It is only an immortal feature in a subjective sense, not in an objective sense. Yes, there probably were times when there were no conscious beings in the Universe. But do not imagine consciousness as some "supernatural" thing which was hanging around waiting to be put into a subject. As I have demonstrated above (teleportation scenario) we have a lot of reason to believe that subjectivity can relocate and we also have alot of reason to believe that it is not restricted between relocating into subjects of the exact same physical makeup as each other (because the "indivisible-self" based on a specific arrangement of matter is most likely an illusion). So when you say consciousness "passes", do not think that something literally moves from one subject to the next. You should be able to see, very clearly now, that existential passage is the most plausible theory of the fate of subjectivity upon death.

Yes it may be horrific, but at least there will be some good lives, who knows, maybe there is some highly-evolved alien species out there that has an extremely high birth rate (in order to constantly be "fed" passages) which enjoys a pleasurable existence for all of its life. And yes, I do believe that all conscious beings are include. Existential passage favours all conscious beings.

You say it may be scary being a beetle, but how are we to know, perhaps life as a beetle is very pleasurable. (A note on this, beetles may not be on the level of consciousness that existential passage assumes. There must be a line between conscious and non-conscious life, perhaps beetles are just non-conscious automata? Who knows?) I can't wait to be a super-intelligent alien, yes there may be some painful existences, but there will be some great, pleasurable ones too.

Edited by avalonesa

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I'd just like to throw down against your assumption that "secular advocates of the self" believe that the self is definable by a specific arrangement of matter.

I am as atheist as they come, but I firmly believe that the self would not survive the teleportation process as described, for the exact reason you give. Not only is it imaginable that the earth self survives, but even if it were properly destroyed there is no bar to imagining that the information used to create the new 'you' on mars, could simply be used again, to churn out a small army of people with the exact same configuration of matter in their body and brain. No, none of them would be 'you' and I see no way of avoiding this.

So what is it that makes a consciousness, if it is not a configuration of matter? Wellp, I just have to man up and admit that I don't know. But no shame there, cos I'm pretty sure no-one knows. I think the answers hidden in the 'hard problem' of consciousness, that being possibly the single most notoriously unanswered question in philosophy. We (all people ever) can barely claim the credit of having made some minor inroads into it's solution. It appears to be a fundamental mystery, it may in fact be forever beyond our understanding. I wonder if the answer to how free will works is hidden in there as well.

Nevertheless, here I am, a complete atheist who doesn't believe for a second that the precision of the configuration of matter in my brain is what makes me uniquely me.

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Posted

If anything in the law of conservation of mass is true then whatever we are becomes something else

and we dont even have to agree with it!

I think it should be renamed the law of transformation of mass

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Posted

Why's that?

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Posted

Hi Timoty, whys that what?

the assertions should be reasonably self explanatory...

I don know why things are why they are... that would be another q...

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Well not really. I figure you and me tend to approach such matters quite differently. Nothing wring with that o'course, but I can't see anything in the law of conservation of mass that implies that anything necessarily becomes anything else. I was interested in why you thought so is all.

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Posted (edited)

Well not really. I figure you and me tend to approach such matters quite differently. Nothing wring with that o'course, but I can't see anything in the law of conservation of mass that implies that anything necessarily becomes anything else. I was interested in why you thought so is all.

Okay Tim

lets try to go through this as efficiently as possible

please point me to the definition of the law of conservation of mass

that you consider valid, so that we can discuss the respective logical inferences that can be derived from it in relation to the topic of this thread. (your choice of weapon)

Edited by Pgalaxy

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davidm, my intention was not to enter in to a debate of the source of the evil acts committed by modern man; I feel, in all honesty, that whole debate, the "what's more responsible for the greater evils, theism or atheism" was and is a frivolous distraction, the fault is my own. I was just lamenting the loss of cherished beliefs: philosophy has a way of destroying some of them.

I do believe that in discussing the "I" there is a real disconnect between the philosophical and the existential, to quote (lengthily) William Barrett:

"This fact of persisting identity is so large and overwhelming a part of our common experience that it is hard to understand why modern philosophy has passed it by. Philosophers have written about the self as if the greater part of our experience were spent in a lonely chamber, in solitary introspection, hunting for a fugitive and ghostly identity. In fact, however, most of us live amid friends and family, where the reality of personal identity is so bedrock a fixture of our world that we hardly even single it out for special comment. We know and are known by our intimates, and in the course of everyday life we do not take this phenomenon of persisting identity as puzzling. Why, then, should it have been turned into so puzzling a matter by the philosophers?

In Kant's case, the puzzle comes from his epistemological doctrine. According to this Kantian doctrine, we know the appearance of things, but the thing-in-itself remains hidden from us. Of this table before me, for example, so familiar and common place, I know many aspects, but of the thing-in-itself, the table in and of itself, I remain ignorant. And the same state of affairs would hold for the mind as a persisting identity. We are familiar with aspects of that self, indeed there is nothing in our experience that is closer to us than our self, but of the self as a Ding-an-sich, thing-in-itself, we have no intellectual grasp. I have no clear-cut intellectual concept of this I who am I twenty four hours a day. Thus at the center of the self there is a hole and a mystery. Our soul is unknown to us.......

The cautious critical philosopher (Kant) has leaned here a little too much towards the skepticism of David Hume. Consequently, there is a blurring of the epistemological and the existential: the requirements of strict knowledge on the one hand and the urgent claims of existence on the other. To acknowledge the reality of something, I do not need a full and complete theory of it. Otherwise most of the furniture of our daily world would have to be declared as questionable reality. Mind is real, the conscious self is real, and they are real in those aspects in which they disclose themselves to us, even if we have no ultimate or complete theory about their nature."

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I'd just like to throw down against your assumption that "secular advocates of the self" believe that the self is definable by a specific arrangement of matter.

I am as atheist as they come, but I firmly believe that the self would not survive the teleportation process as described, for the exact reason you give. Not only is it imaginable that the earth self survives, but even if it were properly destroyed there is no bar to imagining that the information used to create the new 'you' on mars, could simply be used again, to churn out a small army of people with the exact same configuration of matter in their body and brain. No, none of them would be 'you' and I see no way of avoiding this.

So what is it that makes a consciousness, if it is not a configuration of matter? Wellp, I just have to man up and admit that I don't know. But no shame there, cos I'm pretty sure no-one knows. I think the answers hidden in the 'hard problem' of consciousness, that being possibly the single most notoriously unanswered question in philosophy. We (all people ever) can barely claim the credit of having made some minor inroads into it's solution. It appears to be a fundamental mystery, it may in fact be forever beyond our understanding. I wonder if the answer to how free will works is hidden in there as well.

Nevertheless, here I am, a complete atheist who doesn't believe for a second that the precision of the configuration of matter in my brain is what makes me uniquely me.

No, Timothy. They would all be "you". Just like if you were to go to sleep, have your entire body and brain disassembled atom by atom and then built up again only to awaken moments later, you would awake as yourself. There is no reason to think otherwise. The atoms don't even need to be the ones that were previously "making you". Just the same types of course. It would follow: sleep>disassembled>reassembled>wake , and you would awake just as normal, as yourself. So what is wrong with the teleportation example? Why do you not agree that teleportation would be possible?

Remember, if there is no "self", if it is just an illusion, then existential passage MUST happen when conscious subjects pass a certain point of unconsciousness. I believe the self is an illusion. I do not believe a specific arrangement of matter creates my indivisible consciousness. It just seems that way, but it sounds crazy when you think about it. There is no self, there is only thinking. The self is an illusion.

Which means existential passage would most definitely happen.

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No, Timothy. They would all be "you". Just like if you were to go to sleep, have your entire body and brain disassembled atom by atom and then built up again only to awaken moments later, you would awake as yourself. There is no reason to think otherwise. The atoms don't even need to be the ones that were previously "making you". Just the same types of course. It would follow: sleep>disassembled>reassembled>wake , and you would awake just as normal, as yourself. So what is wrong with the teleportation example? Why do you not agree that teleportation would be possible?

I believe there is a self and why not. Also that I am individual. There's no way to understand the teleport-clones being 'me', without a single consciousness inhabiting several bodies at once, which even if possible, is not what is being proposed in the example. Rather, each of the 'port clones is themselves an individual, so if there is no way to distinguish a particular one as being the original (and it seems there isn't), then none of them are.

Would I still be me if my atoms were disassembled and reassembled? Maybe maybe not. Consciousness is a thing that is understood by no-one, even a little bit, so this kind of question is naturally hard to answer beyond a suspicion or guess. But in a case where there is no way to establish the continuity of a unique individual self, such as 'port clones, it's clear enough to answer in the negative.

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Remember, if there is no "self", if it is just an illusion, then existential passage MUST happen when conscious subjects pass a certain point of unconsciousness.

Why?

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Remember, if there is no "self", if it is just an illusion, then existential passage MUST happen when conscious subjects pass a certain point of unconsciousness.

Why?

"The objective facts are that TC has a last experience, then sometime later TC/rad has a first experience. But despite the lack of personal subjective continuity, despite the fact that we may decide at some point on the continuum of change, (in memory, personality, and body) that TC no longer exists to have experiences, experience doesn't end for him, that is, there is no onset of nothingness. What we have instead is a transformation of the subject itself, a transformation of the context of awareness, while experience chugs along, oblivious of the unconscious interval during which the transformation took place. It's not that TC/rad's experience follows TC's in the sense of being connected to it by virtue of memory or personality, but that there is no subjective interval or gap between them experienced by either person. This is expressed in the fact that TC/rad, like TC, feels like he's always been present. However radical the change in context, and however long the unconscious interval, it seems that awareness--for itself, in its generic aspect of "always having been present"--is immune to interruption. "

Davidm, if you want to contact Mr Stewart or Mr Clark I can give you their e-mail addresses. I have recently been discussing EP with Mr Stewart, Mr Clark seems to be quite busy as I have only received one e-mail from him as of yet.

Am I allowed to post e-mail addresses on here?

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I believe there is a self and why not. Also that I am individual. There's no way to understand the teleport-clones being 'me', without a single consciousness inhabiting several bodies at once, which even if possible, is not what is being proposed in the example. Rather, each of the 'port clones is themselves an individual, so if there is no way to distinguish a particular one as being the original (and it seems there isn't), then none of them are.

Would I still be me if my atoms were disassembled and reassembled? Maybe maybe not. Consciousness is a thing that is understood by no-one, even a little bit, so this kind of question is naturally hard to answer beyond a suspicion or guess. But in a case where there is no way to establish the continuity of a unique individual self, such as 'port clones, it's clear enough to answer in the negative.

Ok, what if you were asleep and were cloned during your sleep? Which one do you awaken as? Why think you are the original and the clone is some other self?

Because there is no self! There is only thinking. No self, the self is an illusion. Of course there is no way to prove these things, but we can take fairly logical guesses.

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"The objective facts are that TC has a last experience, then sometime later TC/rad has a first experience. But despite the lack of personal subjective continuity, despite the fact that we may decide at some point on the continuum of change, (in memory, personality, and body) that TC no longer exists to have experiences, experience doesn't end for him, that is, there is no onset of nothingness.

As I indicated -- and I think the above is from Clark's site, right? -- Clark seems to think that existential passage solves the problem of reification -- the idea that we "pass into" nothingness, which is self-contradictory, since nothing is not a state into which we could "pass." But, as I have also indicated, I believe this "pass into nothingness" business is just a linguistic confusion. It can be repaired by saying, "TC ceases to exist." Then there is at least one less thing for this existential passage idea to explain.

What we have instead is a transformation of the subject itself, a transformation of the context of awareness, while experience chugs along, oblivious of the unconscious interval during which the transformation took place. It's not that TC/rad's experience follows TC's in the sense of being connected to it by virtue of memory or personality, but that there is no subjective interval or gap between them experienced by either person. This is expressed in the fact that TC/rad, like TC, feels like he's always been present.

I'm not quite sure what Clark means by this sense of "always been present." I certainly don't feel as though I have always been present. I'm darned sure I was not present in, oh, 1342, and many other years besides.

However radical the change in context, and however long the unconscious interval, it seems that awareness--for itself, in its generic aspect of "always having been present"--is immune to interruption."

I think I've got the concept that they are putting forth -- after all, I read their works and started this thread, ages ago! -- but in the final anlysis it seems rather empty to me. What's it really mean? We already know that concisousness as a whole survives the death of any particular person -- else we wouldn't have conscious entities reading the obits of dead ones!

What I get from this is that I am supposed to understand that upon death, I "go to sleep" but then without any conscious interval I will "wake up" as a new conscious entity, but this conscious entity is not, well, me! So this isn't reincarnation.

But what is it? As I've said, to all intents and purposes, it seems completely indistinguishable from the old fashioned materialist/atheist sense of looking at things: I die. Someone else is born after I die.

Davidm, if you want to contact Mr Stewart or Mr Clark I can give you their e-mail addresses. I have recently been discussing EP with Mr Stewart, Mr Clark seems to be quite busy as I have only received one e-mail from him as of yet.

Am I allowed to post e-mail addresses on here?

Wayne Stewart was/is a member here, but I hazily recall he had some dispute here and then stopped posting. You're welcome to invite him back or Tom Clark. I'd be more than happy to discuss with both of them this idea, especially seeing as how I started the thread. As to posting e-mail addresses, if their addresses are public on their sites, I see no problem with that, or you can just link to their e-mail addresses at their respective sites.

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Posted (edited)

Wayne Stewart can be contacted at: waynestewart@mbdefault.org

Thomas Clark can be contacted at: twc@naturalism.org

"I die, someone else is born after I die" assumes that "you" are not the "someone else", because they assume that the "you" exists. By "you" I mean an indivisible self/a core consciousness/a soul/some "soul gene". They assume there is an indivisible self.

Tom Clark and Wayne Stewart are arguing against this and then explaining the implications of there being no indivisible self. Yes TC ceases to exist, but he is still experiencing existence as TC/rad.

TC's experience > TC/rad's experience

------------experience------------->

There is no difference. TC/rad is different from TC, yes, yet he carries on the experience that TC had. He IS "TC's experience". TC IS experiencing as TC/rad.

Do you understand that?

Also, when people say "I will cease to exist/I'll be in that place I was before birth" they assume there is an "I", an indivisible self. When really, that "place" "they" were before birth was a different conscious being's body.

Edited by Hugo Holbling

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Posted

Because there is no self! There is only thinking. No self, the self is an illusion. Of course there is no way to prove these things, but we can take fairly logical guesses.

It would be worth agreeing on a definition of what one means with 'self', which could contribute to divergent opinions on this. In psychology, the self is one thing.

In vedic science, the Self is the universal consciousness, absolute, beyond space time, so called Atman in Sanskrit or thereabouts, and the individual self is a subset thereof within a spatio/temporal bracket, which make is relative, finite, mortal. when the temporal slot exhausts itself ergo perishes because this is the nature of its existence, the self is reabsorbed into its matrix, like a river that flows into the sea (which makes the prospect of death just another reason to party). I dont expect you to buy any of this at face value, but I have found this so far the most plausible theory.

Its worth going through the vast literature about self before negating outright its existence, duh...

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