Do we die every time we go to sleep?

Follow-up to: On Mind Uploading and Personal Identity

On my last post I explained why I think going through a destructive procedure to upload your brain into a machine is akin to suicide. Yes, one entity equivalent to you will be born but you will die, so from a egoistic perspective you should not go through the procedure. Then it started to dawn on me a rather disturbing ideia: do we go through an analogous procedure every time we go to sleep? Let’s compare both cases.

1. Mind Uploading

What I’m trying to figure out is if A is the same as C after A’s brain is scanned, destroyed and A’s mind uploaded to a machine. Here’s what’s happening in this case:

  1. A is conscious;
  2. A gets unconscious while going through the scan procedure (B);
  3. C appears on the other side, thinking that she is A;
  4. C is not A;

In other words, A dies and C gets born thinking she is A.

2. Sleep

What happens when we go to sleep?

  1. A is conscious;
  2. A gets unconscious while going through the sleep procedure (B);
  3. C appears on the other side, thinking that she is A;
  4. C is not A ?;

In other words, when A’s goes to sleep she dies and C gets born in the morning thinking she’s A. I feel a little weird writing this publicly, but I’ll bite that bullet.

To make the ideia more intuitive imagine that after you (A) went to sleep last night someone killed (B?) you (without waking you up) and swapped you with another person (C) equivalent to you: same body, same memories, etc. When this person (C) wakes up in the morning she will have no ideia what happened and will think she is you (A)! In fact, this could happening every night and we would never know. And I think something analogous really happens every night.

Summing up, I think that every day we are a new conscious entity that will die when going to sleep and that the entity that wakes up the next day will be under the illusion the she’s been living for a long time.

(I don’t think dreams are problematic to the argument, they could be interpreted as another A → B → C sequence: we (A) go to sleep, get unconscious (B), and wake up in the dream (C))

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