Minds and Machines 25 (1):17-36 (2015)

If a brain is uploaded into a computer, will consciousness continue in digital form or will it end forever when the brain is destroyed? Philosophers have long debated such dilemmas and classify them as questions about personal identity. There are currently three main theories of personal identity: biological, psychological, and closest continuer theories. None of these theories can successfully address the questions posed by the possibility of uploading. I will argue that uploading requires us to adopt a new theory of identity, psychological branching identity. Psychological branching identity states that consciousness will continue as long as there is continuity in psychological structure. What differentiates this from psychological identity is that it allows identity to continue in multiple selves. According to branching identity, continuity of consciousness will continue in both the original brain and the upload after nondestructive uploading. Branching identity can also resolve long standing questions about split-brain syndrome and can provide clear predictions about identity in even the most difficult cases imagined by philosophers
Keywords Personal identity  Uploading  Consciousness
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DOI 10.1007/s11023-014-9352-8
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Ethics of Exponential Life Extension Through Brain Preservation.Michael A. Cerullo - 2016 - Journal of Evolution and Technology 26 (1):94-105.
Mind-Upload. The Ultimate Challenge to the Embodied Mind Theory.Massimiliano Cappuccio - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (3):425-448.
Against Branching Identity.William Bauer - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (4):1709-1719.

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