By John Perry
It is a checklist of conversations of Gretchen Weirob, a instructor of philosophy at a small Midwestern
college, and of her acquaintances. The conversations happened in her health center room at the 3 nights
before she died from accidents sustained in a motorbike twist of fate. Sam Miller is a chaplain and a long-
time good friend of Weirob’s; Dave Cohen is a former scholar of hers.
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Extra resources for A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality
The question of whether a person and a computer are playing chess the same way is ambiguous. I sh n has ar ed a contra osition. He argues that there is a distin uished I vel of descri tion. The Sargon-Ievel description and the assembly-level descriptions are not of equal importance. The theoretically salient description of a system or subsystem is a s�e��fi cation of its repetoire of primitive representations and the prllllitIve operations. Furthermore" it is this level of description that is the special province of psychology.
Yet ageing supervenes on the biochemical, for no organism can age without biochemical change. Marr, Dennett, Newell, Millikan and Pylyshyn have all defended the dea � . �at there are levels of psychological theory. I will begin with an IntuItIve sketch of the levels before considering qualifications problems ' and objections. makeable - and not at all in terms of the actual machinery for doing this work. These intentional specsz then, set a design task for the next sort of theorist. tbe representational-system designer.
So let's look at his suggestions. 4 Is There a Primitive Computational Level? So let us suppose our task is to specify the primitive operations of the mind. Our choice ought not to obscure genuinely psychological proces ses, by treating as a unitary step that which is complex. But nor should we treat as assembled a process that is psychologically a primitive 55 No intermediate steps The operation of transforming symbol structure A into symbol structure B is not primitive if there are representational interme diaries between A and B.