Transhumanism and Dualism

At the Foresight conference there were a lot of people enthusiastic about human enhancement and perhaps even about uploading themselves onto silicon. Many of these people also consider themselves atheists and scientists who disbelieve that there is something called a soul that is independent of the mechanics of their physical bodies.

Paul Bloom has done work that shows that most people tacitly believe in souls even if they claim otherwise. Uploaders fit the bill here. If they truly believed that their existence was physical and they valued their own lives, they would be extremely conservative about mucking with the engineering of their brains. Instead they insist on viewing their brains as some sort of prosthetic to be enhanced with technology. As we learn more about how we construct souls, we will understand better what sorts of enhancements are acceptable to those who oppose murder or suicide.

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