Uploads, Faxes, and You: Can Personal Identity Be Transmitted?

American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (3):233–250 (2021)
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Abstract. Could a person or mind be uploaded—transmitted to a computer or network—and thereby survive bodily death? I argue ‘mind uploading’ is possible only if a mind is an abstract object rather than a concrete particular. Two implications are notable. One, if someone can be uploaded someone can be multiply-instantiated, such that there could be as many instances of a person as copies of a book. Second, mind uploading’s possibility is incompatible with the leading theories of personal identity, insofar as these assume the mind is a concrete particular. Moreover, because David Chalmers (2010; 2012; 2014) defends mind uploading without construing minds as abstract, I show Chalmers’ argument to be unsound.
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Archival date: 2021-08-19
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