Massimo Pigliucci is doing an interesting series of posts on his philosophical positions.
In the first part  of this ambitious (and inevitably, insufficient) essay I sought to write down and briefly defend a number of fundamental positions that characterize my “philosophy,” i.e., my take on important questions concerning philosophy, science and the nature of reality. I have covered the nature of philosophy itself (as distinct, to a point, from science), metaphysics, epistemology, logic, math and the very nature of the universe. Time now to come a bit closer to home and talk about ethics, free will, the nature of the self, and consciousness. That ought to provide readers with a few more tidbits to chew on, and myself with a record of what I’m thinking at this moment in my life, for future reference, you know.
I find myself agreeing with most of Massimo’s positions. I agree with his quasi-realist stance on morality (see my morality posts for details), and his position on free will compatibilism.
Until a few months ago, I have to admit that I would not have agreed with him on consciousness, that is I thought there was a good chance that it was an illusion, or at least our common intuitions about it were. After reading Michael Graziano’s ‘Consciousness and the Social Brain’, I’ve changed my views. I now think consciousness is a real thing and that it is a model of the attentional state of the brain.
However, I do think his skepticism of mind uploading is unwarranted. If the mind indeed arises from physical operation of the brain, I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t eventually be possible to analyze that physical operation and recreate it, either physically or in a virtual environment. Even if consciousness ends up requiring wet chemical reactions, it still seems like something we’d eventually be able to recreate, although at that point you might refer to it as engineered life rather than uploading.
Now, I do think there is plenty room for skepticism that it’s going to happen in 20 years and lead to a transcendent “rapture of the nerds” singularity, but I see that as a separate issue from us eventually being able to record, store, and re-instantiate our minds. It might be centuries before it’s possible, but short of substance dualism or some other ghost in the machine mechanism being true, I think humans will eventually do it. (Assuming we don’t drive ourselves extinct first.)