(urth) Babbie

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Thu Mar 19 11:52:29 PDT 2009

I have to comment that this schema easily allows for the copying of persona/whatever by machines in the first place. I don't believe that machines could copy souls. Machines are the opposite of souls and could never capture them, I'd think. And there would be the theological implications. (Again, haven't heard from the Pope on this but I imagine he'd be pretty ticked off.)

Electromagnetic brainwave patterns, however, present no difficulty whatsoever. Scan'em in, scan'em out, put'em on a floppy. In fact, you'd have to work harder to convince me that any Wolfean characters actually have souls at all than that their psyches could not be replicated and merged.


Message: 3
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:09:03 +0000
From: Chris P <rasputin_ at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Babbie
To: <urth at lists.urth.net>
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Part of this discussion started with some reflections on identity. I mentioned that there is a "simple" view where each self is a "soul", thought of as a (perhaps eternal) substance that undergoes various changes; it is a single, indivisible unit. There is also a "complex" view in which we think of the self as comprised as various components - your memories, your traits, your vital interests, etc. On this view I am only partially still the same person I was when I was in love with my college sweetheart: one is prone to say things like "I was a different person then." And if I think of myself as (mostly) a different person now than then, there are obviously varying degrees along the way. This is not as marginal or purely literary way of talking as it seems - it's part of why we have a statute of limitations, and why we are inclined to not hold an elderly adult responsible for things they did when they were a child. We referred in that discussion, roughly, to the collection of 
 little pieces that make up such an identity as a "psyche".

Most of us waver back and forth between different ways of talking about personal identity without noticing it. Different situations make each seem much more relevant and true than the other. What makes James's (and possibly Wolfe's) theory a little hard to work with and keep a grip on is that it forces us to actually hold both views at once. That doesn't make it wrong, just that there are going to constantly be points of the text where you want to look at it either one way or the other but not both. So I have never been able to go much further with this theory, as good of a theory as I think it is.

My gut inclination, as an aside though, has always been that there is a point at which Horn has definitely left the combined entity (both psyche and soul, whichever way you want to look at it; though if you think of it as the psyche you could say that there are some remnants).

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