• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
  LongeCity
              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans


Adverts help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. To go ad-free join as a Member.


Photo
* * * - - 3 votes

Death is ...


  • Please log in to reply
272 replies to this topic

Poll: Death is ... (368 member(s) have cast votes)

Death is ...

  1. Oblivion (168 votes [47.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 47.32%

  2. A Portal Mystery (4 votes [1.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.13%

  3. A Chance to Roam the Earth (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. Another Chance at Reincarnation (13 votes [3.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.66%

  5. My Ticket to Nirvana (6 votes [1.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.69%

  6. A Gateway to Heaven or Hell (10 votes [2.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.82%

  7. A Transition to Another Simulation (7 votes [1.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.97%

  8. A Bridge to Another Realm (15 votes [4.23%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.23%

  9. I Honestly Don't Know (120 votes [33.80%])

    Percentage of vote: 33.80%

  10. I Don't Know and I Don't Care (12 votes [3.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.38%

Vote Guests cannot vote
⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#61 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 30 November 2003 - 09:50 PM

Originally quoted by Sophianic
So does this mean that the person whose 'true' destiny is to become a doctor (to use your example) cannot change what he or she did yesterday if he or she decided to go on the public dole?

People often change their minds about many things. A child may decide to become an astronaut one day and a firefighter another day. What that child actually becomes is the child's true destiny, no matter how many changes of mind may have occurred on the way to that final destination. Destiny within a finite life span is rather fuzzy. For example, a highly skilled physician may suffer severe brain damage in a motorway collision and spend all remaining years of life on the public dole. I like your term "perpetual cosmology" because it expresses the idea of ultimate indestructibility. There are a variety of perpetual cosmologies. In some varieties of perpetual cosmology, everything is so random that destiny is totally fuzzy because there is no permanent resolution of anything. In these directionless perpetuities, infinite life spans result as everyone goes through birth, life, and death an infinite number of times. Death in these cases is simply the endpoint of each segment of life, somewhat like each day of life is ended with a night of sleep, but without any physical continuity between segments. Biblical cosmology is an example of a perpetual cosmology in which destiny is very well defined due to resolution of everything to perfect permanency. In Biblical cosmology, we are powerless to fix our destiny by our own devices because only God can guarantee an infinite future. If we ignore Biblical cosmology and talk about maintaining an infinite thread of life by our own devices, then things get quite interesting. Medical technology has advanced to the point of successfully extending the lives of some people quite significantly. Modern medicine has never yet extended anyone's life to 150 years. However, scientific knowledge has advanced so far that it is rather easy to believe that we have the potential to develop technology to the point of extending lives to millions of years. Still, millions of years is only an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span. Scientists now estimate the age of the universe to be about 12.5 billion years. This too is only an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span. To maintain a continuous infinite life span by our own devices requires infinite luck. One fatal error irreversibly breaks the thread of life at an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span. The challenges of survival keep growing as the universe decays. I would be very interested in hearing a proposal from anyone on how we could survive radical decay of the universe by our own devices and keep on going into a continuous infinite life span. Some may be happy to settle for a life span of a hundred, a thousand, or even a million years. For me, anything less than infinite is totally unacceptable.

#62 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 03 December 2003 - 05:10 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: People often change their minds about many things. A child may decide to become an astronaut one day and a firefighter another day. What that child actually becomes is the child's true destiny, no matter how many changes of mind may have occurred on the way to that final destination. Destiny within a finite life span is rather fuzzy. For example, a highly skilled physician may suffer severe brain damage in a motorway collision and spend all remaining years of life on the public dole.

The difficulty I have with this analysis is that if I peg my 'true' destiny as being this or that, is my life essentially over when I fulfill it? This, in spite of the fuzzy nature of detours and setbacks.

I like your term "perpetual cosmology" because it expresses the idea of ultimate indestructibility. There are a variety of perpetual cosmologies. In some varieties of perpetual cosmology, everything is so random that destiny is totally fuzzy because there is no permanent resolution of anything. In these directionless perpetuities, infinite life spans result as everyone goes through birth, life, and death an infinite number of times. Death in these cases is simply the endpoint of each segment of life, somewhat like each day of life is ended with a night of sleep, but without any physical continuity between segments.

In the perpetual cosmology that I envision, I retain a sovereign consciousness in a form that allows me to live, love, learn and work in tandem with others. We create our own purpose on the basis of what we have available to us, and if needs be, create or establish all of the necessary conditions to perpetuate ourselves in a universe without end. If any one of us should die, s/he is lost forever.

Biblical cosmology is an example of a perpetual cosmology in which destiny is very well defined due to resolution of everything to perfect permanency. In Biblical cosmology, we are powerless to fix our destiny by our own devices because only God can guarantee an infinite future. If we ignore Biblical cosmology and talk about maintaining an infinite thread of life by our own devices, then things get quite interesting.

Yes, they do. Quite interesting, indeed. Which leads me to wonder whether you seriously entertain the thought of maintaining an infinite thread of life by our own devices.

Medical technology has advanced to the point of successfully extending the lives of some people quite significantly. Modern medicine has never yet extended anyone's life to 150 years. However, scientific knowledge has advanced so far that it is rather easy to believe that we have the potential to develop technology to the point of extending lives to millions of years. Still, millions of years is only an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span. Scientists now estimate the age of the universe to be about 12.5 billion years. This too is only an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span. To maintain a continuous infinite life span by our own devices requires infinite luck. One fatal error irreversibly breaks the thread of life at an infinitesimal fraction of an infinite life span.

"Luck favors the prepared mind." Luck becomes incidental for a sentient, conscious, intelligent life form governed by purpose in a universe devoid of purpose. Any fraction of time is an infinitesimal fraction in an infinite life span.

The challenges of survival keep growing as the universe decays. I would be very interested in hearing a proposal from anyone on how we could survive radical decay of the universe by our own devices and keep on going into a continuous infinite life span.

Your perception that the universe decays is an interpretation that may be guided by a limited amount of knowledge about what consciousness in relation to the universe is ultimately capable of effecting in the quest for everlasting life in this world. A proposal to survive radical decay (if our interpretation of how the universe is thought to end holds up) is made by R. Michael Perry in his book, Forever For All.

Some may be happy to settle for a life span of a hundred, a thousand, or even a million years. For me, anything less than infinite is totally unacceptable.

Agreed, but key questions remain: Where? When? How? I would answer as follows: Here. Now. By whatever means possible.

Always a pleasure,

#63 Bruce Klein

  • Guardian Founder
  • 8,794 posts
  • 242
  • Location:United States

Posted 22 December 2003 - 06:12 AM

Similar poll created at the Brights Forum here (should be interesting).

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Advertisements help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. [] To go ad-free join as a Member.

#64 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 24 December 2003 - 02:57 AM

A majority in the Imminst poll voted for oblivion. An even greater majority in the Brights Forum voted for oblivion. What is oblivion? A person's mind is confined to a certain structure within space-time. Most materialists may assume that destruction of that structure places the person into a state of permanent oblivion. However, such a destruction cannot change the fact that reality contains a structure within the world lines of space-time in which the person's mind ‘was' fully functional. Is time the only dimension involved in a status of oblivion? Does not space as well as time figure into a person's oblivion status? Could a person be in a state of consciousness on the Earth and, at the same time, be in a state of oblivion on Mars? For that matter, is a person in a state of oblivion everywhere in the universe except for the few cubic inches in which the person's brain resides? We need a good, working definition of oblivion.

Mike Perry's materialist UI (unboundedness and interchangeability) concept would appear to me to make permanent oblivion impossible. Although I am not a materialist, I would agree that UI is the least speculative of all materialist assumptions. Here is what I see as some logical consequences of a materialist UI. With UI, everyone would have an infinite existence. The effect of successful life extension efforts would be to increase the probability density of a particular person's mind within an unbounded reality.

#65 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 26 December 2003 - 10:17 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: A majority in the Imminst poll voted for oblivion. An even greater majority in the Brights Forum voted for oblivion. What is oblivion?

Good question.

A person's mind is confined to a certain structure within space-time. Most materialists may assume that destruction of that structure places the person into a state of permanent oblivion. However, such a destruction cannot change the fact that reality contains a structure within the world lines of space-time in which the person's mind ‘was' fully functional.

True.

Is time the only dimension involved in a status of oblivion? Does not space as well as time figure into a person's oblivion status?

If it does, what (where) would the connection be?

Could a person be in a state of consciousness on the Earth and, at the same time, be in a state of oblivion on Mars?

Interesting notion. By what standard? Omnipresence?

For that matter, is a person in a state of oblivion everywhere in the universe except for the few cubic inches in which the person's brain resides?

Oblivion, by definition, is absolute. No exceptions.

We need a good, working definition of oblivion.

I agree.

Mike Perry's materialist UI (unboundedness and interchangeability) concept would appear to me to make permanent oblivion impossible.

Yes, it would, if you accepted that information about someone is sufficient to preclude oblivion. I do not accept this, however.

Although I am not a materialist, I would agree that UI is the least speculative of all materialist assumptions.

But does the nature of speculation admit degrees of 'speculativeness'?

Here is what I see as some logical consequences of a materialist UI. With UI, everyone would have an infinite existence.

Yes and no. Yes, everyone would have an infinite existence via resurrections that would establish psychological connectedness. No, if psychological continuity is severed.

The effect of successful life extension efforts would be to increase the probability density of a particular person's mind within an unbounded reality.

That is, if some or most of the details of a person's life and mind could be instantiated at some future time. But if there is no psychological continuity between 'me-1' and 'me-2,' do I endure?

I would say "no."

#66 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 28 December 2003 - 12:52 AM

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
Oblivion, by definition, is absolute. No exceptions.

If oblivion is absolute and there are no exceptions, then why are we not in a state of oblivion here and now?

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
If it does, what (where) would the connection be?

The connection would be like the connection with time. John F. Kennedy was born on 29 May 1917 and died on 22 November 1963. A materialist may say the John F. Kennedy was in a state of oblivion from the origin of the universe to 1962 and from 23 November 1963 to as long as the universe continues to exist. In this way, time boundaries are placed on John F. Kennedy's existence. People from the distant past influenced the life of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy continues to influence many people long after his death. However, his life on Earth is bounded in a single segment of about 46 years of time. Time is one dimension. Why not describe the boundaries of a person's existence with four spacetime dimensions instead of just one dimension? For example, John F. Kennedy never existed on Mars, although the timing of space craft probing Mars had much to do with his vision for space exploration.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
But does the nature of speculation admit degrees of 'speculativeness'?

Here is a rather trivial example. It is certainly less speculative to speculate that a cure for at least 99.44% of all cases of cancer will be discovered within the next thirty years than to speculate that this will be accomplished within the next thirty days. Both statements are highly speculative, but the degree of speculativeness is obviously different.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
That is, if some or most of the details of a person's life and mind could be instantiated at some future time. But if there is no psychological continuity between 'me-1' and 'me-2,' do I endure?

I would say "no."

In an unbounded materialist reality, there is certain to be an infinite number of places in which all of the details of any person's life and mind will be instantiated to an amazingly high degree of accuracy.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
Yes, it would, if you accepted that information about someone is sufficient to preclude oblivion. I do not accept this, however.

I do not think Mike Perry regards information about someone as being sufficient in itself to preclude oblivion. The information would need to be applied to properly organise a network of qualifying structural elements to bring the person into a state of consciousness. The principle of interchangeability permits some degree of freedom in substituting one type of structural element for another, provided that functionality is preserved or enhanced. This is all that is required in a materialist philosophy. Dualism changes the picture radically. Material structures are not sufficient to constitute the identity of a person because the supernatural spirit is essential to that identity. The idea of a supernatural spirit is an anathema to a materialist.

⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#67 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 28 December 2003 - 02:20 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: If oblivion is absolute and there are no exceptions, then why are we not in a state of oblivion here and now?

I said, and I quote: "Oblivion, by definition, is absolute" (emphasis added). Every definition has a context ~ the definition of oblivion included. The question remains: what is that context?

I propose the following definition of oblivion:

Oblivion: n., a permanent and total absence of awareness, memory and concern that obtains from the death of a person, both for the person who dies and for the persons affected by that death.

From this definition, death does not equal oblivion (strictly speaking). Oblivion obtains from death if certain criteria are met, viz., if the absence of awareness, memory and concern that obtains from the death of a person, both for the person who dies and for the persons affected by that death, is both permanent and total.

How could this absence be temporary? If someone dies and is placed in cryonic suspension, that absence (for the one who died or de-animated ~ a distinction must be made here) could be temporary if a future revival is successful, and a certain minimum of awareness, memory and concern is restored. How could this absence be partial? If someone dies and is survived by loved ones, the absence of awareness, memory and concern can only be partial until such time that the survivors (and their loved ones) cease to remember (i.e., be aware and concerned).

Moreover, if your work is influential, and you die, your work becomes an object of study; if your work is seminal, not only does your work become an object of study, you become an object of study. You also become an object of study if you acquire notoriety. In this context, I maintain that oblivion obtains the moment you become an object of study in history. For Aristotle, Copernicus, Newton or Einstein, oblivion obtained the moment they became objects of study. Upon death, many of us do not even become objects of study.

I will now address your post.

Clifford Greenblatt: John F. Kennedy was born on 29 May 1917 and died on 22 November 1963. A materialist may say [that] John F. Kennedy was in a state of oblivion from the origin of the universe to 1962 and from 23 November 1963 to as long as the universe continues to exist. In this way, time boundaries are placed on John F. Kennedy's existence.

First, let's be clear that oblivion is not a state, but an absence. A state implies presence. If I ever referred to oblivion as a state (and I belief that I have), then I was mistaken. Second, oblivion must make reference to the experience of awareness, memory and concern as key elements of contrast in order to be defined. For the materialist formulation, oblivion applies only after death ~ only after the formation of awareness, memory and concern has had a chance to exist in the first place. It makes no sense to speak of oblivion before the birth of a person when that person has not even had a chance to live.

Clifford Greenblatt: People from the distant past influenced the life of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy continues to influence many people long after his death. However, his life on Earth is bounded in a single segment of about 46 years of time. Time is one dimension. Why not describe the boundaries of a person's existence with four spacetime dimensions instead of just one dimension? For example, John F. Kennedy never existed on Mars, although the timing of space craft probing Mars had much to do with his vision for space exploration.

JFK may continue to influence many people, but in the absence of awareness, memory and concern, JFK would merely be an object of study in history. Obviously, loved ones still remember him, but when they cease to do so (after more than several generations, say), oblivion will obtain for JFK in spite of the fact that his influence will no doubt extend beyond that period of time.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
But does the nature of speculation admit degrees of 'speculativeness'?

Clifford Greenblatt: Here is a rather trivial example. It is certainly less speculative to speculate that a cure for at least 99.44% of all cases of cancer will be discovered within the next thirty years than to speculate that this will be accomplished within the next thirty days. Both statements are highly speculative, but the degree of speculativeness is obviously different.

I would disagree. In the absence of evidence, both statements are equally speculative. Speculation is made in the absence of evidence. It appears you're drawing on certain facts to put forth statistical evidence for the support of certain probabilities. Only with evidence, can we speak of degrees of certainty: possibility, probability and contextual certainty. Moreover, possibility is not speculation; a statement of possibility requires at least some evidence.

Clifford Greenblatt: In an unbounded materialist reality, there is certain to be an infinite number of places in which all of the details of any person's life and mind will be instantiated to an amazingly high degree of accuracy.

But this statement ignores the role of awareness, memory and concern in the context of maintaining psychological continuity. If the details of my life and mind are instantiated elsewhere (an infinite number of times, say), what connection do these instantiations have with who I remember myself to be and with those who remember me (both with the appropriate concern at the appropriate times).

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
Yes, it would, if you accepted that information about someone is sufficient to preclude oblivion. I do not accept this, however.

Clifford Greenblatt: I do not think Mike Perry regards information about someone as being sufficient in itself to preclude oblivion. The information would need to be applied to properly organise a network of qualifying structural elements to bring the person into a state of consciousness.

Sufficient in itself? No, of course not. Even if the details of someone's life and mind are returned to multiple states of consciousness in multiple persons at different stages of a person's previous life, psychological continuity is not preserved ~ only degrees of psychological connectedness between and among replicas with respect to the original person. I maintain that oblivion still obtains for the original person if psychological continuity is not preserved.

Clifford Greenblatt: The principle of interchangeability permits some degree of freedom in substituting one type of structural element for another, provided that functionality is preserved or enhanced. This is all that is required in a materialist philosophy.

Not necessarily. Psychological continuity is essential in a materialist formulation. The principle of interchangeability is certainly applicable to resurrecting persons as objects of study in history, but as far as I can see, that's as far as it goes.

#68 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 29 December 2003 - 10:51 AM

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
I would disagree. In the absence of evidence, both statements are equally speculative. Speculation is made in the absence of evidence. It appears you're drawing on certain facts to put forth statistical evidence for the support of certain probabilities. Only with evidence, can we speak of degrees of certainty: possibility, probability and contextual certainty. Moreover, possibility is not speculation; a statement of possibility requires at least some evidence.

The speculation of which I originally wrote concerned the concepts of unboundedness and interchangeability. These concepts are not based on empty phantasies but on much scientific evidence. On a very simple level, any hydrogen atom is interchangeable with any other. Replacing a deuterium atom with a hydrogen atom in a living organism is an enhancement because it is more stable. On the other hand, replacing deuterium atoms with hydrogen atoms in a nuclear fusion device would be highly detrimental to the nuclear fusion process. Unboundedness is the more speculative part of UI, but this too is based on much scientific evidence. Unboundedness in itself is very strongly supported by scientific evidence, but various ideas about unboundedness are based on much weaker evidence. For example, the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics is a theory which implies unboundedness. MWI does an excellent job of explaining quantum mechanical phenomena, but there are better explanations.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
But this statement ignores the role of awareness, memory and concern in the context of maintaining psychological continuity. If the details of my life and mind are instantiated elsewhere (an infinite number of times, say), what connection do these instantiations have with who I remember myself to be and with those who remember me (both with the appropriate concern at the appropriate times).

You are placing much emphasis on psychological continuity. Psychological continuity is a logical consequence of a materialist interpretation of unboundedness. First, consider the MWI. In this theory, a person may die in some worlds but would continue to live in another worlds that split off from a common world before the person's death. If psychological continuity is not obvious here, please let me know why. As I mentioned earlier, the MWI is backed by much evidence from quantum mechanics but there are better explanations for quantum mechanical phenomena. The materialist concept of an infinite multiverse is based on much stronger scientific evidence than MWI and it accomplishes the same purpose for immortality. The only reasonable alternative to the infinite multiverse is a supernatural creation. All the worlds that would occur in the MWI would also occur in the infinite multiverse, but they would occur independently, rather than by a splitting off process.

Edited by Clifford Greenblatt, 29 December 2003 - 11:33 AM.


#69 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 04 January 2004 - 07:24 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: The speculation of which I originally wrote concerned the concepts of unboundedness and interchangeability. These concepts are not based on empty phantasies but on much scientific evidence.

Actually, Unboundedness and Interchangeability are considered principles. In other words, general truths about the nature of the world. If there is some evidence to support them, as some claim, how can they at the same time be speculative? Are they not tentative rather than speculative? And if so, how can something tentative be viewed as a principle, which implies truth, i.e., meets some standard of correspondence between identity and identification?

Clifford Greenblatt: ... the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics is a theory which implies unboundedness. MWI does an excellent job of explaining quantum mechanical phenomena, but there are better explanations.

I understand that MWI is one of many interpretations (not a theory) that tries to explain anomalies from data gathered to support quantum theory. And it may not even be the correct one. Evidence can be put forward to support a claim, but if the claim is false, the evidence becomes redundant.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
But this statement ignores the role of awareness, memory and concern in the context of maintaining psychological continuity. If the details of my life and mind are instantiated elsewhere (an infinite number of times, say), what connection do these instantiations have with who I remember myself to be and with those who remember me (both with the appropriate concern at the appropriate times).

Clifford Greenblatt: You are placing much emphasis on psychological continuity. Psychological continuity is a logical consequence of a materialist interpretation of unboundedness. First, consider the MWI. In this theory, a person may die in some worlds but would continue to live in another worlds that split off from a common world before the person's death. If psychological continuity is not obvious here, please let me know why.

Supposing MWI to be a correct interpretation of the anomalies from data gathered to support quantum theory, psychological connectedness is obvious here, but psychological continuity is not. Pattern-survival (physical or mental) is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for my survival in toto. If I die, I am gone forever, regardless of any effort that might be made to resurrect the details of my history at some future date, and regardless of any continuation of my person that does not take account of my capacities for awareness and reflection, both with respect to their contiguity in space and their continuity in time.

⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#70 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 08 January 2004 - 01:41 AM

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
Supposing MWI to be a correct interpretation of the anomalies from data gathered to support quantum theory, psychological connectedness is obvious here, but psychological continuity is not. Pattern-survival (physical or mental) is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for my survival in toto. If I die, I am gone forever, regardless of any effort that might be made to resurrect the details of my history at some future date, and regardless of any continuation of my person that does not take account of my capacities for awareness and reflection, both with respect to their contiguity in space and their continuity in time.


I think this is a point where the dualism vs materialism issue needs to be injected. In an Immortality Institute article, Marc Geddes refers to the book ‘Consciousness Explained', by philosopher Daniel Dennett. He says that the book presents convincing evidence that consciousness involves nothing supernatural. The idea of survival by means of AI is based on pure materialism. It applies the interchangeability principle to the extreme of claiming that computers could be designed and programmed to be truly conscious. This idea is promoted in Paul Almond's article at http://imminst.org/f...&f=67&t=1540&s= . In a materialistic view of life, there is no exact personal identity, but a very good physical approximation of a person is essentially the person. In an infinite multiverse, excellent physical approximations of any person would exist in infinite places. In fact, excellent approximations of our entire universe would exist in infinite places.

The dualism position cannot accept physical identity as being sufficient for true personal identity. The supernatural spirit is absolutely essential to personal identity. The dualism position affirms the principle that extension of physical life maintains continuity of true identity. Extension of physical life is something that is within our ability. In fact, life extension is a fundamental responsibility of medical science. When the continuity of physical life is broken, we have no means of restoring a person ourselves, but God can do this by means of supernatural resurrection. The ultimate in nanotechnology may actually succeed in perfectly reconstructing a person physically, but would not at all ressurect the person spiritually.

Edited by Clifford Greenblatt, 08 January 2004 - 02:50 AM.


#71 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 10 January 2004 - 07:19 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: I think this is a point where the dualism vs materialism issue needs to be injected.

In OPAR (chapter 1, pp. 30-36), the author examines the nature of idealism and materialism as rejections of the basic axioms of an objectivist metaphysics. Both idealism and materialism are the unfortunate byproducts of cartesian dualism, where the former favors a strictly mentalistic view of the world and the latter favors a strictly materialistic view of the world. Ultimately, I think the real issue is cartesian dualism and its devastating effects on the philosophical enterprise up to the present day.

In an Immortality Institute article, Marc Geddes refers to the book ‘Consciousness Explained', by philosopher Daniel Dennett. He says that the book presents convincing evidence that consciousness involves nothing supernatural.

Eyal Mozes provides a critique of Dennett's Freedom Evolves, calling into question his assumptions about free will, determinism, compatibilism and the concept of memes. After reading it, you might be inclined to question Dennett's credibility on these issues. The critique is so devastating for Dennett, it's almost frightening.

The idea of survival by means of AI is based on pure materialism. It applies the interchangeability principle to the extreme of claiming that computers could be designed and programmed to be truly conscious. This idea is promoted in Paul Almond's article at ...

If 'pure' materialism obtained, then the claim that computers could be designed and programmed to be conscious would be the same as saying that they could be designed and programmed to be given the appearance of consciousness. The IP is useless to me if I can't remain conscious.

In a materialistic view of life, there is no exact personal identity, but a very good physical approximation of a person is essentially the person. In an infinite multiverse, excellent physical approximations of any person would exist in infinite places.

In rejecting dualism, and therefore idealism and materialism, one can subscribe to a metaphysical naturalism that includes an objective defense of free will. Consequently, any attempt to duplicate or replicate a person (a la materialism) fails if one views identity, not in a dualistic sense, but in a naturalistic sense that includes a treatment of personal continuity (mental and physical) through an objective defense of free will.

The dualism position cannot accept physical identity as being sufficient for true personal identity. The supernatural spirit is absolutely essential to personal identity.

And neither can the objectivist position accept it as sufficient. But unlike dualism, this position does not require a supernatural spirit to affirm a unified conception of physical and psychological identity.

The dualism position affirms the principle that extension of physical life maintains continuity of true identity.  Extension of physical life is something that is within our ability. In fact, life extension is a fundamental responsibility of medical science. When the continuity of physical life is broken, we have no means of restoring a person ourselves, but God can do this by means of supernatural resurrection. The ultimate in nanotechnology may actually succeed in perfectly reconstructing a person physically, but would not at all ressurect the person spiritually.

Yes, I can see how the dualistic position would have difficulty accepting a materialistic approximation of personal identity as being sufficient for the continuation of a person's identity. From an objectivist perspective, a materialistic approximation of identity is inadequate because the objective perspective views 'agent causation' as integral to both consciousness and identity.

#72 Clifford Greenblatt

  • Member
  • 355 posts
  • 4
  • Location:Owings Mills, MD

Posted 12 January 2004 - 01:02 AM

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
Eyal Mozes provides a critique of Dennett's Freedom Evolves, calling into question his assumptions about free will, determinism, compatibilism and the concept of memes. After reading it, you might be inclined to question Dennett's credibility on these issues. The critique is so devastating for Dennett, it's almost frightening.

I have questioned Daniel Dennett's views on the basis of the little I know about them. I am grateful that you have recommended a thorough critique of it.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
If 'pure' materialism obtained, then the claim that computers could be designed and programmed to be conscious would be the same as saying that they could be designed and programmed to be given the appearance of consciousness. The IP is useless to me if I can't remain conscious.

I am in total agreement with this.

Originally Quoted by Sophianic
In OPAR (chapter 1, pp. 30-36), the author examines the nature of idealism and materialism as rejections of the basic axioms of an objectivist metaphysics. Both idealism and materialism are the unfortunate byproducts of cartesian dualism, where the former favors a strictly mentalistic view of the world and the latter favors a strictly materialistic view of the world. Ultimately, I think the real issue is cartesian dualism and its devastating effects on the philosophical enterprise up to the present day.


I have not yet read any materials on objecitvist metaphysics, so I will have to delay any comments about it until I learn about it. Thank you for the reference you have recommended. For the meanwhile, I have made some comments below concerning dualism and supernatural entities. Also, I do not believe in a subjective reality. The only things I regard as subjective are vague descriptions of objective reality.

Much criticism against dualism may be due to confusion concerning the mind. In the time of Descarte, so little was known about the central nervous system that the mind may have been regarded as nonphysical. Given the present day knowledge of the central nervous system and psychology, it is essential to distinguish between the mind and spirit. I would define the mind as being physical and the spirit as being a real but nonphysical entity that is intimately associated with the physical mind for the entire life span of the physical mind.

There is much confusion concerning supernatural entities. Some religions claim that rocks and trees have spirits. I regard these ideas as erroneous. Supernatural entities are integral to objective reality but they are impossible to investigate by any scientific means. I do not believe that we have come anywhere near the end of scientific potential. I believe that scientific accomplishment to this date is still tiny compared to the possibilities for future advancement. However, there are major things about objective reality that will always be radically far beyond the scope of scientific investigation. These are the things I would label as being supernatural.

#73 Sophianic

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest Immortality
  • 197 posts
  • 2
  • Location:Canada

Posted 13 January 2004 - 03:34 PM

Clifford Greenblatt: I do not believe in a subjective reality. The only things I regard as subjective are vague descriptions of objective reality.

Objectively speaking, reality is existence as perceived by consciousness. Existence exists, and in essence, consciousness is the faculty for perceiving that which exists. Objectivity is the product of a relationship between existence and consciousness. This product requires volition, which requires subjective experience to monitor your focus from moment to moment. Without focus, subjectivity, and volition, you are little more than an automaton at the mercy of whim and circumstance.

Clifford Greenblatt: Given the present day knowledge of the central nervous system and psychology, it is essential to distinguish between the mind and spirit. I would define the mind as being physical and the spirit as being a real but nonphysical entity that is intimately associated with the physical mind for the entire life span of the physical mind.

I would define the mind as mental ~ a product of matter ~ an emergent phenomenon that depends wholly on the brain, but accessible through introspection. I would define the spirit as naturalistic ~ the part of me capable of a spiritual response from a cognitive context that gives rise to feelings and states of mind that take you beyond the concerns of your ego (and refresh you). Again, accessible through introspection, which I view as a valid form of perception.

Clifford Greenblatt: Supernatural entities are integral to objective reality but they are impossible to investigate by any scientific means ... there are major things about objective reality that will always be radically far beyond the scope of scientific investigation. These are the things I would label as being supernatural.

Tom Clark wrote an essay, Spirituality Without Faith, that touches on what I see as the proper view of science in relation to the supernatural. He explores, for the most part, what it would mean to naturalize spirituality, but also examines the problems with traditional spirituality with its acceptance of the supernatural. I find that this essay clarifies many issues of importance to those who aspire to everlasting life in this world. There are, however, two serious flaws with Naturalism: it denies free will and (as a consequence) it takes a fatalistic view of life with respect to the prospect of immortality.

#74 lightowl

  • Guest, F@H
  • 767 posts
  • 5
  • Location:Copenhagen, Denmark

Posted 09 July 2004 - 04:26 AM

I Honestly Don't Know and I wont have it. ;)

Mostly because I have a strong feeling it actually is oblivion.

#75

  • Lurker
  • 1

Posted 09 July 2004 - 10:34 AM

Consider:

a) what happens when you sleep, when you take an anesthetic, when you get knocked out, when you're in a coma and when you're in a coma with nil measurable brain activity.

b) 1% of your brain being removed every day in a way leaves you without trauma except for the absence of neurons - the locations are randomly selected. On what day do you cease?

Assuming that we can still experience brain function in the absence of a brain is a matter of faith and not of science.

--

The greatest irony of all time is that a species whose selective adaptation has resulted in an enormous capacity for cognition and abstraction - transcends instinct and becomes aware of its own mortality. Desperately seeking to understand a purpose that does not exist. Filling the gaps in the best way it can.

Our victory must not only be over death for he is but the obedient servant of a greater enemy - evolution herself.

Edited by prometheus, 19 July 2004 - 04:56 AM.


#76 tous

  • Guest
  • 78 posts
  • 0

Posted 15 August 2004 - 03:31 AM

Ok....now with the way your refering to oblivion I have to say that not what I'd ment for my vote..... They should have had on the poll .....An absolute, unresolveing, irrevisble and unequivical end to all that is you.

My loved one are gone.... there consious is not everywhere or nowhere.... they exist not in time or space only in thought and memory... there is no spirit beside me.... nor soul above.... all that was them is now with the worms.

#77 tous

  • Guest
  • 78 posts
  • 0

Posted 15 August 2004 - 03:32 AM

Ok....now with the way your refering to oblivion I have to say that not what I'd ment for my vote..... They should have had on the poll .....An absolute, unresolveing, irrevisble and unequivical end to all that is you.

My loved one are gone.... there consious is not everywhere or nowhere.... they exist not in time or space only in thought and memory... there is no spirit beside me.... nor soul above.... all that was them is now with the worms.

⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#78 Infernity

  • Guest
  • 3,322 posts
  • 11
  • Location:Israel (originally from Amsterdam, Holland)

Posted 16 January 2005 - 04:33 PM

Unequivocal - oblivion.
Not even that! More like- never was and never will be, nothing mattered, nothing matters and never will matter... completely NOTHING! Oblivion of everything, exactly like you knew before you were born, so will after you die.
Life doesn't worth living for if the end is waiting, that same terrible ultimate end - death.

~Infernity

Edited by infernity, 17 January 2005 - 11:08 AM.


#79 Trias

  • Guest
  • 270 posts
  • 0

Posted 16 January 2005 - 06:18 PM

Unequivocal - oblivion.
Not even that! More like- never was and never will be, nothing mattered, nothing matters and never will matter... completely NOTHING! Obivion of everything, exactly like you knew before you were born, so will after you die.
Life doesn't worth living for if the end is waiting,  that same terrible ultimate end - death.

~Infernity



Infernity dear, I find your reasoning vastly to my liking! [thumb]

#80 stevethegreat

  • Guest
  • 34 posts
  • 0
  • Location:Doesn't really matter

Posted 16 January 2005 - 07:18 PM

Oblivion of course, but is it all that bad?
I have not been bored of life, I am too young to feel such a thing, in fact I want not to die either, just to learn more and more things of how things works. However we are not in state to say how oblivion is, if it is bad or good. If we take as granted that more than 50% of our lives are bad times, oblivion is preferable; the problem is that we don't know if this situation will change or remain the same. So we must fight against death to see how things will turn, to see if the loss of our beloved was a bad thing or maybe .... good for them

#81 Gina Miller

  • Guest
  • 15 posts
  • 0
  • Location:Seattle

Posted 22 May 2005 - 10:09 PM

Oblivion for now, but I hope with advanced technologies, not forever. Gina

#82 melange_deluxe

  • Guest
  • 4 posts
  • 0

Posted 14 June 2005 - 06:59 AM

We all have a kind of idea what Death is, though it is more visual.
It's the ending. It's when to all those around us we stop, and decay.
The rituals of death, whatever they are - are performed in many cases.
Whatever harmony of physics that keeps us a 'living being' - that is active, and adaptive is finally not in enough order to maintain us as an entity.
What ever perception that makes us distain death, and cultivates effort towards avoiding it might be the best one.
Death is the last behavior of the human being, as an entity, instead of matter.


Dictionary Definition
DEATH n.
1. The act of dying; termination of life.
2. The state of being dead.
3. The cause of dying: Drugs were the death of him.
4. A manner of dying: a heroine's death.
5. Death A personification of the destroyer of life, usually represented as a skeleton holding a scythe.
6. Bloodshed; murder. Execution.
7. Law. Civil death.
8. The termination or extinction of something: the death of imperialism.

Etinger's various definitions are worth considering.
“Clinical Death”: it is the cessation of heartbeat and breathing. (the most common)
“Biological Death”: the state from which resuscitation of the body as a whole is impossible by currently known means. (as defined by Dr. A. 5. Parkes) Although a frozen body considered dead by this definition is considered alive as soon as the means exist to resuscitate it.
“Cellular Death”: refers to irreversible degeneration of the individual tiny cells of our bodies.
“Legal Death”: changes with law
“Suspended Death”: the condition of a biologically dead body which has been frozen and stored at a very low temperature, so that degeneration is arrested and not progressive. The body can be thought of as dead, but not very dead; it cannot be revived by present methods, but the condition of most of the cells may not differ too greatly from that in life.

- MelangeDeluxe
melange_deluxe@hotmail.com


⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#83 Infernity

  • Guest
  • 3,322 posts
  • 11
  • Location:Israel (originally from Amsterdam, Holland)

Posted 14 June 2005 - 09:07 PM

Melange, what's death To You?
Heh, you can seek for the term "death" on Wikipedia and get all about what's that. But what applies to you?

~Infernity

#84 Matt

  • Guest
  • 2,838 posts
  • 146
  • Location:United Kingdom
  • NO

Posted 14 June 2005 - 09:47 PM

I assume it's very very likely to be oblivion

but I voted " I honestly don't know "

maybe we are in a simulation... :)

#85 Infernity

  • Guest
  • 3,322 posts
  • 11
  • Location:Israel (originally from Amsterdam, Holland)

Posted 15 June 2005 - 01:31 PM

Heh well Matt, since nothing is for sure, it is possible, but so not reasonable...
I mean, everything is possible, but I *believe* death is simply an oblivion if I follow my logic... I used the term *believe* and not *know* since this is obviously under an argument, but when I think of it- everything is, so it doesn't really matter. You know what I mean. I think we honestly know nothing, the smartest thing we can do actually comprehend that...

You know, death in religion is just a beginning of another life. They're hopeless really hehe.

Yours truthfully
~Infernity

#86 tous

  • Guest
  • 78 posts
  • 0

Posted 04 August 2005 - 12:30 AM

The real question here is what is after death really - not what is death.

Death is an end to all that is. No more pie.

#87 justinb

  • Guest
  • 726 posts
  • 0
  • Location:California, USA

Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:01 PM

Nothingness forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever....

Personal Extinction Forever.

#88 caver

  • Guest
  • 45 posts
  • 0
  • Location:St. Louis, MO, USA

Posted 29 October 2005 - 02:37 AM

Yep worm food, nothing more.

⌛⇒ MITOMOUSE has been fully funded!

#89 caston

  • Guest
  • 2,132 posts
  • 23
  • Location:Perth Australia

Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:49 PM

If the universe really is infinite wouldn't our consciousness eventually be re-assembled albeit without our memories?

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Advertisements help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. [] To go ad-free join as a Member.

#90 Athanasios

  • Guest
  • 2,616 posts
  • 163
  • Location:Texas

Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:16 PM

I am surprised that there arent more "dont cares". I am a dont care. I dont care what death is, life is too short!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users