Continuity Identity Theory
Continuity identity theory
Image from Steve Bowers
The theory that "I" am the same person as various future and past selves with whom I am physically and temporally continuous. Continuity Identity theory supposes that consciousness is a continuous process, and must continue to exist in a particular physical body and cannot be copied or transferred. (see also Pattern Identity theory).

Followers of Continuity Identity theory believe that a human consciousness cannot be uploaded, and cannot be transmitted to a distant location for re-embodiment through engeneration. Any attempt to upload a human consciousness only produces an entirely new individual which is only a copy of the original consciousness, and no actual transfer of consciousness occurs.

In the case of destructive uploading, adherents of Continuity Identity theory consider the destructive scan is in fact an act of murder. Some adherents of continuity identity are prepared to accept gradual uploading as a true transfer of consciousness, since the process occurs within a single individual over time; while others reject it, saying that the change in processing substrate is too radical to permit continuous existence.

Any subsequent copying of an individual uploaded by gradual methods is considered to be the creation of a new individual, and therefore does not involve a transfer of consciousness.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg, amended by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 24 September 2001.