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Personal Identity and Uploading

By Mark Walker, Richard L. Hedden, Chair Advanced and Philosophical Studies


Objections to uploading may be parsed into substrate issues, dealing with the computer platform of upload and personal identity. This paper argues that the personal identity issues of uploading are no more or less challenging than those of bodily transfer often discussed in the philosophical literature. It is argued that what is important in personal identity involves both token and type identity. While uploading does not preserve token identity, it does save type identity; and even qua token, one may have good reason to think that the preservation of the type is worth the cost. 1. Uploading: prospects and perils You arrive at one of the thousands of kiosks run by the late twenty-first century’s largest corporation: U-Upload. With some trepidation you step into the superscanner. There is a slight hum as it inventories the molecular building blocks of your brain. Your brain is destroyed in the process, but you are not dead – or so the marketing materials from U-Upload claim. For information about the building blocks, along with a general program that describes the fundamental laws of molecular interaction, is uploaded to the shiny new robotic brain you purchased (Sandberg and Boström 2008). For your friends and family, a few terrifying moments pass before the robotic body stirs. To their relief, your first words are: “It’s me.

Year: 2013
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