Neuropsychism, Neurochauvinism

biont brain
Image from Bernd Helfert

Neuropsychism, sometimes known as neurochauvinism is a set of related philosophical beliefs, all sharing the basic premise that mentalities arising from biont-style neural brains are qualitatively superior to those which do not, such as digital software entities.

There is a wide spectrum of beliefs within the neuropsychist position, varying from that of the most extreme hu supremacist groups, who hold that only naturally evolved biobrains posses true consciousness while all others (even those of provolves or neogens) are automata, to that held by some extremist vec groups, who hold that their synthetic neural brains are more 'perfected' than those of either barely conscious bionts or software based wannabes, to the more liberal and inclusive view of the pansophont neuropsychists, who teach that any neural-based mentality, natural or synthetic, is superior. How they treat beings who arise from the emulation of neurological brains by software-based systems also varies. Some might consider them to occupy a middle ground, while others treat them as "just another computer program". Some neuropsychist philosophers of the less liberal persuasion refuse to acknowledge software based AI, and refer to it instead as SI, or "simulated intelligence".

The exact nature of this superiority is often described by such terms as "authenticity", "immanence, imminence, and eminence", "fluidity" and "naturalness". Most agree that it is a quality that is difficult to clearly put into words since mind itself still retains something of an ineffable quality even after millennia of study.

While some adherents believe that these judgements only apply when comparing minds within the same toposophic level others believe the comparisons remain valid across all toposophic levels.

One of the few universal beliefs among neuropsychists is that the mentalities created through the use of mind-state backups or uploading are not the same persons as the original. They agree with some non-neuropsychist philosophies that the mind is inextricably bound to particular ensembles of matter with just the right set of properties both structural and dynamic. What they add to this is the placement of the various types of mind into a hierarchical structure so that a software analogue of a particular real world brain cannot, by definition, be a true iteration or continuation of the original. (Critics point out that this last line of reasoning tends to beg the question.) However, some do use information stored in mind-state backups in case of the need to repair non-fatal brain trauma.

They have a related view regarding changing one's mental substrate. While most believe this practice does not provide true continuity of being, some allow for it if there is a one-to-one incremental replacement of neurons with neurodes (artificial neurons) or vice versa. Some in this latter group require that each individual neuron or neurode be incrementally transformed.

Belief in neuropsychism is independent of belief in a soul or spirit.

Neuropsychism does not preclude the development of distributed minds as the existence of group minds and various polysomatic bionts and vecs will attest. There are even rumors of neuropsychists among the lesser archai who use comm wormholes to construct their brain's neural architecture. Neuropsychist philosophies do not preclude the use of non-neural style sensory, memory, and intelligence augmentation, aids, and prosthetics so long as the locus of consciousness remains tied to a neural based brain.

While neuropsychist beliefs are most commonly associated with bionts in the nearbaseline public consciousness, there are in fact a number of vec and aioid groups and clades that hold such beliefs. One interesting example is the Encephalonephelai, or Ensefs. The foglets of these u-fog based entities serve as neurodes for the purpose of constructing their mentality in addition to their more conventional function as massively parallel processing units that manage somatic coordination and interneurode signaling routes.

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  • Biochauvinism - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The prejudice that biological systems have an intrinsic superiority that will always give them a monopoly on self-reproduction and intelligence over aioids and mechanoids. Many radical anthropist and bioprimist groups are biochauvinist to a greater or lesser extent.
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Text by Terrafamilia

Initially published on 06 March 2006.