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Tags star trek , teleportation

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Old 4th December 2012, 12:27 PM   #321
Edx
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
If you would take the transporter, it seems to me you must say, "No, nothing has been lost." If you wouldn't take the transporter, you must say, "Yes, something has been lost." What, exactly? Isn't it the separate material perspective which enabled the twins to have a conversation? In simplest terms, it takes two to tango -- haven't we lost one of the twins, a separate material perspective, a person?

Afaics, that's the fundamental divide. The transporter-takers don't see the second twin as another person; the transporter-rejecters do.
Because to the person that is being destroyed they are now dead, a copy isnt the same as the original. It doesnt matter if you cant tell them apart. Its a lot of rationalism to try and get away from this, its a good thing we dont have this technology!

Last edited by Edx; 4th December 2012 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 4th December 2012, 12:45 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by Edx View Post
Because to the person that is being destroyed they are now dead, a copy isnt the same as the original. It doesnt matter if you cant tell them apart. Its a lot of rationalism to try and get away from this, its a good thing we dont have this technology!
I agree; they are separate material perspectives, worthy of being preserved, no matter how similar the content of their perspectives, even if it happens to be identical (I think you misread my post; or I miscommunicated it; or both).
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:02 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
It is pertinent to your reasoning. The creature that's seeing this post right now and the consciousness it generates would never get to see Mars by using the transporter as a matter of objective fact; yet a machine that kills it while sending a copy to Mars is OK, because at least there's an identical creature that can call itself the same name somewhere in the universe.
It's because that copy on Mars will produce conscious states that are almost identical to the ones my body produced before it was disintegrated. And these states are all that matters.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
You claim not to be particularly concerned because you don't feel incredibly attached to your body as such, and that consciousness and self are just illusions; yet you must have some sort of attachment to them, because one of your conditions for participating is that there must be a "Croc411" living somewhere in the universe by the end of the experiment.
I'm attached to my current conscious state, because that is all that matters to me. I'm the sum of my memories and my personality traits and I'd like those to be preserved.

Bodies are interchangeable because the particles they consist of are interchangeable and this is a natural law.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Further you claim this to be the materialist position; but I don't see how it can be. The materialist position is that consciousness is produced by a brain; ...
Yes, biological or artificial. The thing that produces consciousness must consist of matter and/or energy on its basic level.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
... once that brain is dissolved, the consciousness it creates can't exist anymore.
Once that brain is dissolved, it will stop producing conscious states. But those conscious states might as well be produced by a copy of that brain.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
By saying that an identical (yet distinct in space and time from the original) brain can be created, ...
You move through space and time every day. Yet you don't consider yourself a different person every time you have relocated.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
... the consciousness that results will be the "same person"; this seems to suggest that consciousness has some special quality that makes it distinct from from the atoms and molecules that project it.
Of course it's distinct from the atoms and molecules it emerged from because it is just patterns of information. Is a software program distinct from the atoms of the computer it was typed on initially is running on? Sure.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This is further reinforced by your claim that as long as the atoms used to rebuild you are "facing the same way" (to simplify things), to you that's "good enough" to call them the "same" atoms and proceed with the argument as if that's true, even though it is objectively not true.
Here you leave the realm of science. We know that atoms cannot carry any information about their history. We know that they are interchangeable with each other. If that wasn't the case, it would invalidate quantum theory.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
That consciousness is a unique thing that can be "transferred" to objectively different sets of particles seems quite not-materialist to me.
Imagine the unthinkable: imagine that the particles your body (including your brain) consists of are indeed replaced over the time of your life.

You know what? That's exactly what happens ...

Last edited by Croc411; 4th December 2012 at 02:36 PM. Reason: removed bad analogy
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:03 PM   #324
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Materialism states that the material is all there is.

You claim that two things which are materially identical are not identical.

Therefore, you claim that materialism is false.
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:14 PM   #325
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Materialism states that the material is all there is.

You claim that two things which are materially identical are not identical.

Therefore, you claim that materialism is false.
They would be identical, but there is also two of them. If you destroy one of them, there there is only 1 left.

The attraction of the idea of a teleporter is that you can travel the distance quickly, if you're only being copied it doesn't matter how perfect the copy YOU arent actually going anywhere, only a copy of you is. If the transporter didnt kill you afterwards, then all you did is create a copy of you at the other end which from its perspective was transported, but thats not you. From your perspective you'd press ENERGISE and you'd still be exactly where you were, now if you then put a gun in your mouth and blew your head off, there may be a copy of "your" participial structure of atoms still walking around in the universe but you'd still be just as dead as you would be if killed yourself right now.

Last edited by Edx; 4th December 2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:40 PM   #326
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Materialism states that the material is all there is.
Which could be taken to exclude the existence of things like space-time and an object's location in it; that's why modern "materialists" tend to prefer physicalismWP (basically, a more sophisticated rewording):
Originally Posted by wiki
...everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties

Quote:
You claim that two things which are materially identical are not identical.
Identical material configurations but different locations; and as "location" is a physical property (see list of physical properties), the two things are not physically identical, and therefore, according to physicalism, not the same.

Quote:
Therefore, you claim that materialism is false.
Any version of materialism which denies location is a property is false; luckily, physicalism doesn't (in fact, physicalism explicitly makes the case that two things identical in every respect except location are still two physically distinct, separate and different things).
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:54 PM   #327
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Materialism states that the material is all there is.

You claim that two things which are materially identical are not identical.

Therefore, you claim that materialism is false.
No. Two pennies which are materially identical are identical, but they are not both the same penny.
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:57 PM   #328
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
Identical material configurations but different locations; and as "location" is a physical property (see list of physical properties), the two things are not physically identical, and therefore, according to physicalism, not the same.
The problem of objecting to the use of the transporter is twofold.

First, you have to create a coherent concept of a "self."

Then, you have to argue that this concept is violated by the transporter but is not violated by activities you don't object to, like going to sleep at night.

The problem with your physicalism example is that it doesn't distinguish between using a transporter and taking a bus. In both cases the person has moved and therefore is no longer physically the same. Why, then, do you not argue against taking a bus? In what way does taking a bus preserve your life that using a transporter does not?
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:57 PM   #329
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
Yes I feel that this is similar to my position as well, it does seem duelistc to some degree, like the consciousness is not attached to the brain that creates it. which it must be in materialism.
No, it must not. All materialism requires is that a conscious state must have emerged from some material substrate, not a particular one. It is indeed not attached to one particular body - multiple bodies can independently produce the same state, of course.

Do you think your brain somehow attaches magical watermarks to the states it produces?
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:59 PM   #330
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
... modern "materialists" tend to prefer physicalismWP ...

Any version of materialism which denies location is a property is false...
Ooh. That's interesting. It looks like this thread might not be going round in circles for a change.
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:08 PM   #331
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Originally Posted by Jack by the hedge View Post
No. Two pennies which are materially identical are identical, but they are not both the same penny.
Exactly. To clarify things the two concepts are sometimes referred to as numerical vs qualitative identity.

Nobody usually claims numerical identity = qualitative identity, it's only in the context of consciousness that they do that (in the hopes of making some awkward problems go away).
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:17 PM   #332
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
I agree with this to an extent, that is the illusion after all, but this is just a word game. It is the brain that experiences it, saying "my brain" simply limits it to the physical body from the words are coming out of.
Brains don't experience, they process. Nick
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:19 PM   #333
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
The problem of objecting to the use of the transporter is twofold.

First, you have to create a coherent concept of a "self."
Separate materially-configured perspective.

Quote:
Then, you have to argue that this concept is violated by the transporter but is not violated by activities you don't object to, like going to sleep at night.

The problem with your physicalism example is that it doesn't distinguish between using a transporter and taking a bus. In both cases the person has moved...
No, that's your claim. Transporter-rejecters claim the original hasn't moved. A separate copy identical in all respects except location has been created.

Quote:
...and therefore is no longer physically the same. Why, then, do you not argue against taking a bus? In what way does taking a bus preserve your life that using a transporter does not?
Because I get on the bus, arrive at my location, and am not destroyed. There is no original left behind at the bus stop to imply (if we ignore location, and of course the changes wrought by the trip versus staying behind) that either the person arriving at the destination or the person staying behind at the pick-up point could be destroyed without losing anything.

In the transporter example, either the original or the copy can be destroyed with, according to those who would take it, no loss of life. Okay, to make it analogous, let's assume the same for the bus: when one twin arrives at the destination, there's another twin still at the pick-up point; since there's no loss of life whichever we destroy, let's make the chances of being destroyed 50/50 for each. Now that the bus trip is analogous to the transporter, taking the bus gets me (arriving at the destination) destroyed one out of every two trips. No thanks.

That's why I like my buses not to be transporter-analogous; and would stay off any that were (and transporters besides, of course).
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:28 PM   #334
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Originally Posted by Mijin View Post
Frankly, I think this is confused on a number of levels.

The non-existence of an inner experiencer is clearly not a prediction of materialism; the closest we can say is that the two concepts are incompatible.
Well, imo, materialism is highly incompatible with the idea that there's a little man living in your head, a la Cartesian dualism.


Quote:
But, I would dispute even that. The fact that no-one's found a way to resolve the two phenomena is not in itself proof that they are incompatible.
Sit down. Observe your inner workings. There are thoughts - correct? When attention is not on the thoughts, is there anyone there? Look. Really look.

Quote:
We could rephrase qualia as "the illusion of colour, pain etc" and it would still be a significant unsolved problem in neuroscience how the brain can generate such an illusion, how we could tell whether a given organism is experiencing the illusion, what decides on the nature of the illusion (e.g. what a bat's illusion of ultrasound is like) etc
The notion that an experiencer exists is the illusion. It's not about phenomena.

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Old 4th December 2012, 02:51 PM   #335
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Are those here claiming they would be happy to use the transporter (including of course the destruction of the "original" body/brain in the process) also comfortable with the killing of one of a newly born set of "identical twins"?

I know the newly born twins aren't as "identical" as the copy created in the mythical star trek transporter scenario but it's only a matter of degree, surely?
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:52 PM   #336
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Originally Posted by Edx View Post
Because to the person that is being destroyed they are now dead, a copy isnt the same as the original. It doesnt matter if you cant tell them apart. Its a lot of rationalism to try and get away from this, its a good thing we dont have this technology!
This is the perspective of the illusory social construct, not reality.

The brain is conditioned to behave as though there is an experiencer somehow living inside it.

Even the most basic objective examination of the facts clearly reveals that this belief is utter nonsense.

Yet the belief is so powerful, even otherwise highly rational individuals will imagine all sorts of foolishness rather than accept what is plain apparent.

Nick
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:00 PM   #337
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
Are those here claiming they would be happy to use the transporter (including of course the destruction of the "original" body/brain in the process) also comfortable with the killing of one of a newly born set of "identical twins"?

I know the newly born twins aren't as "identical" as the copy created in the mythical star trek transporter scenario but it's only a matter of degree, surely?
As this is a thought-experiment, no reason not to have them come firing out of the birth canal at the same instant, completely identical in matter and configuration (maybe hugging each other in identical manners and looking into one another's eyes), only differing in physical location. If location is really irrelevant: eeny-meeny-miny-squish! (nothing's lost, though the mother who could have sworn those were two babies coming down her pipes and not one will be a bit hard to convince; then again, we all know how irrational mums can be: just give her a sedative, she'll be fine).
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:06 PM   #338
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
Are those here claiming they would be happy to use the transporter (including of course the destruction of the "original" body/brain in the process) also comfortable with the killing of one of a newly born set of "identical twins"?

I know the newly born twins aren't as "identical" as the copy created in the mythical star trek transporter scenario but it's only a matter of degree, surely?
For a start you have to kill one in utero very early on. A lot of separation can occur before birth.

Secondarily, more psychologists these days recognize the effect that womb death has on the surviving twin.

Thirdly, the pod twin would be identical, no "matter of degree" about it.

Fourthly, the twins coexist for a period. The pod creates an identical replacement.

I don't see this example as a useful parallel.

Nick
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:41 PM   #339
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
For a start you have to kill one in utero very early on. A lot of separation can occur before birth.

Secondarily, more psychologists these days recognize the effect that womb death has on the surviving twin.

Thirdly, the pod twin would be identical, no "matter of degree" about it.

Fourthly, the twins coexist for a period. The pod creates an identical replacement.

I don't see this example as a useful parallel.

Nick
So, if there's a very minor flaw or or other limitation within the star trek transporter technology leading to a very short period of coexistence of the two bodies and/or just a few very small differences introduced in the copying process then it's not okay when we destroy the original, but if the copy is made "instantaneously" and is "absolutely identical" then everything is just fine and dandy?
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:55 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
So, if there's a very minor flaw or or other limitation within the star trek transporter technology leading to a very short period of coexistence of the two bodies and/or just a few very small differences introduced in the copying process then it's not okay when we destroy the original, but if the copy is made "instantaneously" and is "absolutely identical" then everything is just fine and dandy?
It's a thought experiment for those who consider themselves materialists.

So you replicate everything material and then look if you ate cool to travel.

You can "what if...?" If you like but for me its the original experiment I find interesting.

Nick
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:59 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
So, if there's a very minor flaw or or other limitation within the star trek transporter technology leading to a very short period of coexistence of the two bodies and/or just a few very small differences introduced in the copying process then it's not okay when we destroy the original, but if the copy is made "instantaneously" and is "absolutely identical" then everything is just fine and dandy?
And since we know from QM that exact copies are physically impossible (for the 4th & last[?] time, see: No-teleportation theoremWP), if your identical twins example is disallowed as physically impossible, then so is the transporter itself. QED. (To be a bit more explicit: if one of two copies created in one physically impossible manner [teleportation] can be destroyed no problem, why can't one of two copies created in another physically impossible manner [human birth - not that human birth itself is impossible, just impossible as a means for creating identical copies]?)
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Old 4th December 2012, 04:33 PM   #342
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Originally Posted by Edx View Post
Well it seems like you believe in magical thinking to me. If you lose a hand or foot "you're" not gone, because what makes you you is contained within your brain not your hand.

If thats how you see things, that your brain is not really where "you" are, then I can understand why you have no problem with this.
But I don't think my brain is not where 'I' am. If we're talking about the ability to take a copy of all my atoms & replicate them somewhere else, we're recreating my 'me-ness' in that other place. This thread assumes the process is possible, so given that assumption it isn't magical to assume my 'self' will experience transportation.

Originally Posted by Edx View Post
This may have something to do with you describing it as being "transported". This makes it sound like you're travelling from A to B. As it has been explained to me, nothing is being literally transported in the idea of teleportation, only copied. A is being destroyed and B is a copy of A. Being copied and being transported are very, very different.
Fair enough. I really meant the experience of having one's consciousness rebuilt elsewhere. And then went off on a tangent about separating consciousness and putting it in another type of host altogether - which is even more fanciful and probably wasn't helpful.

But I did mean transportation. That is sending information from here to there and using it to rebuild me as I was when scanned.
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Old 4th December 2012, 04:39 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
It's a thought experiment for those who consider themselves materialists.

So you replicate everything material and then look if you ate cool to travel.

You can "what if...?" If you like but for me its the original experiment I find interesting.

Nick
I think you keep dodging Nick...

I haven't managed to find a place that has the exact details of how the transporter works in the "original experiment" but it seems reasonable to me that if you are willing to go along with the basic star trek transporter fantasy, then the following variation is only a small step.

We have the transporter copy an entire room with "you" sitting inside it, and furthermore we insert a splitter into the system at the receiving end so that instead of creating only one copy of the room with you inside, we simultaneously create two identical rooms each with an identical "you" inside.

Now, quickly, randomly choose one and destroy it.

Is this okay or did we just murder someone?

Would you be just as happy to go through this version (complete with one of the two copies being randomly chosen for destruction) as the original scenario?
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Old 4th December 2012, 04:57 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by blobru View Post
Another case. Imagine the two identical right-down-to-the-last-atom twins having a conversation. Something like (spoken simultaneously): "Hey, isn't this cool? You and I are exactly the same, having the same thoughts, speaking the same words at the same time, talking to each other having a conversation..." Now imagine, right at this point in twins' conversation, we destroy one of the twins. Have we lost anything?
Yes, of course: one of the twins. You assume that there are two for a significant time.

Suppose you have two cents, identical right down to the last atom. I destroy one. What have you lost? 1 cent.

Now suppose you have one cent. Within an imperceptibly short moment of time, I copy that cent down to the last atom and destroy the original. What have you lost? Nothing: you had one cent, you still have one cent. You never had two cents in any meaningful way.

Suppose you had a computer file that is somehow important to you, for example it is a photo of your grandmother. You copy it. Now you have two identical files. If you delete one, have you lost something? Yes; you lost one copy. Because for some significant period of time, you had two copies.

Now suppose you have one computer file and you are going to "move" it. You can do this in one of two ways: either by changing the name of the path so that it appears somewhere else on the disk, or by copying to another place and deleting the original. Assume that both take an imperceptibly short moment of time, and you may not even know which method the computer will use. You started with one picture of grandma, and you ended up with one picture of grandma in another place. Have you lost anything? Does it make any difference which method is used? I'd say no.

Most SciFi teletransporters are supposed to work similar to the copy and destroy method, though many presume that the destruction occurs before the reconstruction even begins, which means that at no moment in time are there ever two identical travelers.

The transporters in Star Trek are sometimes claimed to use a method more similar to the path rename; the travelers supposedly consist of the same atoms as they started with, only shifted in space. This has apparently never prevented anyone from being copied, merged with others or turned into their younger selves, but if both methods work as intended, is there any significant difference between them? I'd say no: there is one you before transfer, and one you after transfer.

If whatever in between happens in a shorter time than it takes for one neuron to signal to another, the process of consciousness stops in one place and continues in another. The same process. (In Star Trek travelers are supposedly held in a "stasis field" so that all of the processes in their bodies are halted during the visibly slow transport. I guess the effects department could only use still images for the transporter effects).
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Old 4th December 2012, 05:12 PM   #345
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
No, it must not. All materialism requires is that a conscious state must have emerged from some material substrate, not a particular one. It is indeed not attached to one particular body - multiple bodies can independently produce the same state, of course.

Do you think your brain somehow attaches magical watermarks to the states it produces?
No, the brain doesn't produce the state, it IS the state.

Two identical brains don't see out each other's eyes. Neither ever experiences the other's life past the point the duplication happened. Why would killing one of them ever change that?
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Old 4th December 2012, 05:24 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by Clive View Post
I think you keep dodging Nick...
I can understand why you would think that, given my last reply to you.

However, the original thought experiment had nothing to do with morality or ethics, and any "what if's" were expressly forbidden. This is because these concerns only distract from its central thrust, which is deep enquiry into the actual nature of self.

Derek Parfit, Reasons & Persons (1986), originally came up with it, after of course watching Star Trek. Susan Blackmore developed it for her course on consciousness at, I think, Bristol University. See #8 here for one of her versions... http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Book...activities.htm

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Old 4th December 2012, 07:05 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
If you insist on using non-standard terminology, then you don't get to complain when people say "that has nothing to do with it!"

It matters a whit how much time the whole process takes. If the whole process can be done in less time that it takes for one signal to move from one neuron to another, there is no way you can claim there are two people each with a sense of personal identity. All the processes in the body have a finite speed, so if the teleportation happens faster you would not get two separate processes but one process that starts on the sending teleporter and finishes in the receiving one.

Your choice of words betrays that time is relevant: "living" and "dying" imply processes that take some perceivable time. If the destruction process of the original is fast enough, no one experiences dying.

I suggesting seeing your imam about that.

That depends how fast the transfer happens. Let's suppose the destruction part of the transfer doesn't happen to the original, so we can look at the issue without having to consider question of "realness" or "originality". The machine is under development and the researcher testing it is not yet confident enough to have her original instance deconstructed. Instead only a copy is made and if anything is wrong with the copy it is deconstructed within microseconds. Does something that exists for only microseconds have a "functional healthy brain" ? I'd say no. How about if it exists only for femtoseconds? What if it exists for years? The time it takes matters. If the copy hasn't had time to experience anything approaching "personal identity" the original can deconstruct it without it being murder. Not so if the copy has been helping around in the lab for 12 years.
I was afraid I'd dropped out of the conversation completely, but luckily you seemed to have ducked out for a few days too.

If I freeze your consciousness, disassemble you and NOT create a clone, you are still dead, aren't you, regardless of how long it takes?
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Old 4th December 2012, 07:33 PM   #348
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
The experiencing you talk about here is the illusion, as Nick has already stated.

The only "you" that there is is your current you, your conscious state at a given space-time coordinate. And it only lasts for a fraction of a second, consider it gone as soon as your conscious state changes by a single bit.
I don't believe that's true; I think it's playing semantic word games. A complex object (such as an organism) can have parts of it changed and yet remain a continously-existing object.

And even if one accepts that premise, it doesn't explain why one of your conditions is that something which is under the "illusion" that it is you must continue to exist. You might "acknowledge" that your consciousness technically can't exist for longer than a fraction of a second, but you're still not going to offer to be killed in order to help alleviate overcrowding unless a "recent copy" of you is made first.
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Old 4th December 2012, 09:04 PM   #349
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
It's because that copy on Mars will produce conscious states that are almost identical to the ones my body produced before it was disintegrated. And these states are all that matters.

Those states are all that matters to what, exactly?

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
I'm attached to my current conscious state, because that is all that matters to me. I'm the sum of my memories and my personality traits and I'd like those to be preserved.

You are not the sum of your memories, and your personality traits don't actually exist; these things, along with the entire "you" concept, are illusions, little electrical sparks combined with chemical processes. There's nothing unique about them; what merits preservation?

Even in the abstract, our memories are constantly changing, and not only in the sense that new ones are being produced; but in that our historical inner record of the past is changing over time so that we end up remembering something that will be vastly different from the actual event the memory references. Eventually, you will completely forget. So what's the difference if we just make that forgetting happen instantly, rather than allowing that to happen over time?

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Once that brain is dissolved, it will stop producing conscious states. But those conscious states might as well be produced by a copy of that brain.

Similar states might be produced by a similar brain; but it's physically not the same brain, therefore they're not the same states. The consciousness produced by that original brain's particles stops existing because the brain stops existing.

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
You move through space and time every day. Yet you don't consider yourself a different person every time you have relocated.

That's because the same contiguous organism travels en-masse, including the brain which creates the consciousness. There is continuity. Whereas, despite its name, the transporter doesn't actually "transport" anything to anywhere. It destroys something in one place and builds something in a different place.

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Of course it's distinct from the atoms and molecules it emerged from because it is just patterns of information. Is a software program distinct from the atoms of the computer it was typed on initially is running on? Sure.

Consciousness is a process, it is not like a computer program at all. A computer program is a specific arrangement of certain physical structures within the computer and that's it. It is not an actual process that arises from the structures. When your computer "interacts" with a program, all it does is use a mechanism to detect this arrangment and translate it into a language you can read. You can control which specific arrangements the computer is currently reading, or control how it translates them, or use the mechanism to create or change specific arrangments; you can even direct the mechanism to use certain of the arrangements as working instructions - but there's the key: the structures don't do anything with themselves. A third party - you - must manipulate them.

Consciousness, on the other hand, spontaneously arises due to the natural processes that take place in certain configurations of matter. There's no third party manipulating the matter and doing things with it, or directing it to work.

This difference is profound enough that I'm going to reject that consciousness can be treated as analogous to a computer program; there's no evidence they work the same way.

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Here you leave the realm of science. We know that atoms cannot carry any information about their history. We know that they are interchangeable with each other. If that wasn't the case, it would invalidate quantum theory.

They don't need to carry information about their history; if a third person observer is there to watch the atoms that used to make up your body scattered and sifted incoherently into a big tank, it becomes an objective fact that the atoms in the copy are not the same because the actual atoms can literally be pointed at, still sitting on Earth.

Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Imagine the unthinkable: imagine that the particles your body (including your brain) consists of are indeed replaced over the time of your life.

You know what? That's exactly what happens ...
But it happens slowly enough that the processes of the organism (including the production of a continuous consciousness) are not interrupted.

Hypothetical scenarios such as that "the replacement happens within a unit of Planck time" aren't convincing to me; because whether it's for a unit of Planck time or a year, the process is interrupted for a quantifiable amount of time. It definitely and objectively stops. As long as it's mathematically possible for an observer (in the scientific sense of the term; I'm not talking about a specific human with or without special equipment here) to observe the original organism be deconstructed - to me that's "death". My consciousness evolved to serve a function, which is to help keep the organism it arose in alive. That's my consciousness' biological imperative.

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Old 5th December 2012, 12:42 AM   #350
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
Suppose you had a computer file that is somehow important to you, for example it is a photo of your grandmother. You copy it. Now you have two identical files. If you delete one, have you lost something? Yes; you lost one copy. Because for some significant period of time, you had two copies.

Now suppose you have one computer file and you are going to "move" it. You can do this in one of two ways: either by changing the name of the path so that it appears somewhere else on the disk, or by copying to another place and deleting the original. Assume that both take an imperceptibly short moment of time, and you may not even know which method the computer will use. You started with one picture of grandma, and you ended up with one picture of grandma in another place. Have you lost anything? Does it make any difference which method is used? I'd say no.
You seem to tie a lot of this to the time it takes. From a computer standpoint, it's much preferable to reassign the file to a new location rather than copy it and delete, as a copy can become corrupted and even if one bit flips there can be unrecoverable damage done (such as in a compressed executable). ETA: Sometimes you cannot just reassign (if the file is going to a new medium for instance) in which case you have to copy it. But if the file is just being moved on the same medium, then definitely it's better for both speed and file integrity to keep it where it was and just point to the new location. But I digress.

Pursuing this time concept. What if you were teletransported from one place (dematerialized, the data stream takes a fraction of a second to transfer to a second place, where you are then reconstructed). Have you died? What if that took a day to transfer the data? A year? You're still a pattern, total data is there, and eventually a copy will be recreated from that data and the data tossed. So, that's ok from a materialistic standpoint because the numbers still match up, right? Or has the difference in time caused this to suddenly matter because for a time the numbers didn't match up, or rather for a time there was only a data representation of you and not an identical copy.

And please forgive me, I'm not trying to argue a point, I'm just trying to understand your viewpoint on this.

Last edited by Jomante; 5th December 2012 at 12:57 AM. Reason: Clarified point about the files
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Old 5th December 2012, 03:46 AM   #351
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
The experiencing you talk about here is the illusion, as Nick has already stated.

The only "you" that there is is your current you, your conscious state at a given space-time coordinate. And it only lasts for a fraction of a second, consider it gone as soon as your conscious state changes by a single bit. Once you acknowledge that, concepts like "I will not experience life through its body" stop making sense because you do not ever experience anything (-> illusion) - you will be gone after a microsecond (WARNING: pulled that number out of my ass) in any case. "You" are a single snapshot of a conscious state.

From there on, all that matters are degrees of similarity. How similar to my current me will be the conscious state this body (or a copy) will produce at time x from now? How much of my current memories and personality traits will be preserved?

Our intuitive on-off notion of this is me and that isn't me does not make sense anymore. The only on-off relationship that remains is if some conscious state exists or not, everything else boils down to degree of similarity.
Wow this thread has moved on some since I've had chance to reply. :-) Apologies if I'm saying something that has been replied to already.

Well I think that Experience = Process so when I say experience I simply mean the brain processing the information fed to it. I am in no doubt that the copy will be in every way just as much me as the original, it will think the same, if you assume a deterministic brain, or it will think very similarly, if you assume non deterministic. non of this matters though because its still not the same brain, identical but not the same. they would have to be the same for me to use the transporter.

For example if you could do the copy and remain conscious during the procedure, so that you could ask the copy on earth; "can you see mars?" if you could do this and get the answer "yes" then the transporter would be fine as far as I'm concerned. For something to be the same, what happens to one must happen to the other. (quantum entanglement perhaps?)

Why should a brain not care that it is about to cease functioning? I think we think the same thing; that a copy is made and that the original dies. but for some reason you don't care that an individual has died, is that right?
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Old 5th December 2012, 03:49 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Brains don't experience, they process. Nick
Nick, I think I answer this in the post above this one, thanks.

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Old 5th December 2012, 06:35 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
Yes, of course: one of the twins. You assume that there are two for a significant time.

Suppose you have two cents, identical right down to the last atom. I destroy one. What have you lost? 1 cent.

Now suppose you have one cent. Within an imperceptibly short moment of time, I copy that cent down to the last atom and destroy the original. What have you lost? Nothing: you had one cent, you still have one cent. You never had two cents in any meaningful way.
Except objectively. Your argument is that if I can't perceive something exists then it isn't destroyed. But though I may not realize I had that second cent to lose, that doesn't mean it hasn't been lost, objectively, to the universe, regardless of whether I realize it or not, right? There are things happening all over the universe that are imperceptible to me. Do you want to argue that they're not really happening? Because according to this logic, which I will now call the Principle Fallacy of Subjective Ontology, they're not. (Btw, apologies for my use of the phrase "have we lost anything?" in the bit you quoted; I meant what have we lost [objectively], not what have we lost from our limited human point-of-view, which objectivity always trumps; a better phrasing would have been "what has been lost?")

Quote:
Suppose you had a computer file that is somehow important to you, for example it is a photo of your grandmother. You copy it. Now you have two identical files. If you delete one, have you lost something? Yes; you lost one copy. Because for some significant period of time, you had two copies.

Now suppose you have one computer file and you are going to "move" it. You can do this in one of two ways: either by changing the name of the path so that it appears somewhere else on the disk, or by copying to another place and deleting the original. Assume that both take an imperceptibly short moment of time, and you may not even know which method the computer will use. You started with one picture of grandma, and you ended up with one picture of grandma in another place. Have you lost anything? Does it make any difference which method is used? I'd say no.
Okay, this is a somewhat different analogy, i think. Let's see: "moving" computer files may be done in two ways: copying the file physically from one sector to another, or renaming the path to the file. Does it make any difference which method is used? Subjectively, as a computer user, not really; subjectively, as a computer programmer, yes (or it should at least, if I'm a good one); objectively, of course (the universe never misses anything: the method used determines the physical state of the computer). So I'd disagree. It may not make any difference to the user, but it certainly does to the physical state of the computer.

Quote:
Most SciFi teletransporters are supposed to work similar to the copy and destroy method, though many presume that the destruction occurs before the reconstruction even begins, which means that at no moment in time are there ever two identical travelers.
Though objectively a destruction has occurred; kind of significant, especially to the being being destroyed ("being being" -- awkward wording, but fits this thread).

Quote:
The transporters in Star Trek are sometimes claimed to use a method more similar to the path rename; the travelers supposedly consist of the same atoms as they started with, only shifted in space. This has apparently never prevented anyone from being copied, merged with others or turned into their younger selves, but if both methods work as intended, is there any significant difference between them? I'd say no: there is one you before transfer, and one you after transfer.
But there's the rub: is there "a traveler" to make the trip once his or her atoms have been torn apart? Objectively, we have a person that's been torn apart right down to the level of atoms; then, those atoms (which are now rearranged into and exist as a beam) are fired through space; then those atoms are reassembled into a material configuration identical to that of the destroyed "traveler", but objectively not the destroyed traveler, because s/he was destroyed before the trip took place (the trip being the teleporting of his or her atoms; objectively, the "traveler" doesn't take the trip, the beam does; "though they said he was beaming upon arrival at StarBase 7" - sorry, bad joke).

Quote:
If whatever in between happens in a shorter time than it takes for one neuron to signal to another, the process of consciousness stops in one place and continues in another. The same process.
The process of consciousness is not the person though, just a subset of the activities of the local material system we call "the person". The process of consciousness is a description and property of the local material system, not something separate from it that can be abstracted and transferred (according to physicalism, that is; in some ontologies, idealist or spiritual ontologies, it can; but not under physicalism). Destroy the local material system, and all its properties vanish too, necessarily. Creating an identical material system somewhere else one of whose local properties is consciousness of whatever the destroyed material system would have been conscious of the instant after its destruction is just that, creating an identical material... [bla bla bla] ...instant after its destruction: two separate processes occuring in two separate systems. Sure, if you ignore the material destruction and recreation, it might seem like they are one continuous process, when we imagine them as a continuous subjectivity; but that's the Fallacy of Subjective Ontology again; objectively, they are two separate processes, belonging to two separate material systems, which for two separate moments in spacetime happened to be identically configured. That's all.

Quote:
(In Star Trek travelers are supposedly held in a "stasis field" so that all of the processes in their bodies are halted during the visibly slow transport. I guess the effects department could only use still images for the transporter effects).
Yeah, that "stasis field" is a neat trick; in sci-fi, if you need some magic, just give it a sciency-sounding name and don't sweat the details. That seems to have been the case with the teletransporter. We know it can't work in our universe (5th & last time, promise; see: No-teleportation theoremWP) unless QM and the uncertainty principle (among other things) is wrong; so what sort of physics does a working transporter entail in the Star Trek Universe, and is it even consistent? (So far, afaics, no.) As a thought experiment, how does it bear on our notions of "consciousness", "identity", etc.? Well, these are extremely subtle and tricky concepts (I'm certainly still doing my best to puzzle them out, and try - despite ego and wanting to be right darnit all the time! - to stay open to conflicting points-of-view which might revise or at least make me think harder about my own; and yours have made me think harder, so thanks); the teletransporter exercise is as good a starting-point as any I've come across for really digging into and discussing them.
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Old 5th December 2012, 07:50 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by Croc411 View Post
Imagine the unthinkable: imagine that the particles your body (including your brain) consists of are indeed replaced over the time of your life.

You know what? That's exactly what happens ...
Thats not the same as we're talking about. (Although we are talking in hypotheticals)

If there was some way to allow your body to exist in two different places in space at the same time, where the particles in your body were being literally transported over the distance, then it can be analogous to your body's particles replacing particles all the time.Unless you have an entirely different system of teleportation to what Im talking about, all you're doing is scanning the person and making an exact copy somewhere else. That is not at all the same thing.

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Old 5th December 2012, 01:08 PM   #355
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Originally Posted by phunk View Post
No, the brain doesn't produce the state, it IS the state.
No, the configuration of the atoms in the brain are the state, not the brain matter itself.

Originally Posted by phunk View Post
Two identical brains don't see out each other's eyes. Neither ever experiences the other's life past the point the duplication happened. Why would killing one of them ever change that?
Of course. That's why I said conscious states, not brains. A conscious state is a snapshot of the informational content of your nervous system. This includes all the sensory input that hits the nerve endings at the very moment the snapshot is taken.

So when two different bodies share the same conscious state, of course their respective environments must be identical and of course they will most probably diverge immediately. Meaning: the next pair of conscious states the respective bodies produce (let's assume after one Planck time) won't be the same anymore.

So, obviously neither experiences the other's life.
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Old 5th December 2012, 01:18 PM   #356
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
I don't believe that's true; I think it's playing semantic word games. A complex object (such as an organism) can have parts of it changed and yet remain a continously-existing object.
Really? In a totally objective way? Show me!

BTW, I'm not talking about an organism, but about the configuration of the particles in the nervous system of that organism.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
And even if one accepts that premise, it doesn't explain why one of your conditions is that something which is under the "illusion" that it is you must continue to exist. You might "acknowledge" that your consciousness technically can't exist for longer than a fraction of a second, but you're still not going to offer to be killed in order to help alleviate overcrowding unless a "recent copy" of you is made first.
Because all I care about is the degree of similarity. Did you not read the rest of my post you quoted here?
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Old 5th December 2012, 02:00 PM   #357
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Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
Well I think that Experience = Process so when I say experience I simply mean the brain processing the information fed to it.
The issue for me is that the term "experience" tends to lead to more dualistic thought. It suggests an "experiencer" - someone who is having the experience. Processing and processor do not do this to the same degree. The tendencies towards dualism are less.

Quote:
I am in no doubt that the copy will be in every way just as much me as the original, it will think the same, if you assume a deterministic brain, or it will think very similarly, if you assume non deterministic. non of this matters though because its still not the same brain, identical but not the same. they would have to be the same for me to use the transporter.
At a subatomic level your brain is not the same brain it was a nanosecond ago. I don't find myself so bothered by this.

Quote:
Why should a brain not care that it is about to cease functioning?
A brain is a computer. It has been programmed repeatedly through layers of biological, mental and cultural evolution to resist death. This is why it does it - because over time natural selection dictates that certain traits become dominant. Otherwise it couldn't give a toss if it died or not, just as your pc is not bothered if you switch it off.

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Old 5th December 2012, 02:35 PM   #358
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Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Those states are all that matters to what, exactly?
They are all that matters when determining if I can consider my identity to continue or not.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
You are not the sum of your memories, and your personality traits don't actually exist; these things, along with the entire "you" concept, are illusions, little electrical sparks combined with chemical processes. There's nothing unique about them; what merits preservation?
My memories and my personality traits are all I care about. They define what I call "me", totally. I don't care if they emerge from this body or another.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Even in the abstract, our memories are constantly changing, and not only in the sense that new ones are being produced; but in that our historical inner record of the past is changing over time so that we end up remembering something that will be vastly different from the actual event the memory references. Eventually, you will completely forget.
Absolutely, yes. That's what I'm saying all the time.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
So what's the difference if we just make that forgetting happen instantly, rather than allowing that to happen over time?
Because I can then enjoy the illusion of experiencing a lot more conscious states, ones I haven't experienced before.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
That's because the same contiguous organism travels en-masse, including the brain which creates the consciousness. There is continuity. Whereas, despite its name, the transporter doesn't actually "transport" anything to anywhere. It destroys something in one place and builds something in a different place.
So the end result is the same. What the hell makes you believe how you got to that end result could in any way matter?

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
Consciousness is a process, it is not like a computer program at all. A computer program is a specific arrangement of certain physical structures within the computer and that's it. It is not an actual process that arises from the structures.
A process? Process is purely a human concept, completely arbitrary and subjective. There is no analogy to it in the real world, it's just a tool to help us making models. The world is quantized, remember? So it is fundamentally incompatible with the concept of a continuous process.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
When your computer "interacts" with a program, all it does is use a mechanism to detect this arrangment and translate it into a language you can read. You can control which specific arrangements the computer is currently reading, or control how it translates them, or use the mechanism to create or change specific arrangments; you can even direct the mechanism to use certain of the arrangements as working instructions - but there's the key: the structures don't do anything with themselves. A third party - you - must manipulate them.
The "third parties" are the natural laws and causality. And they always are, computer or human. Or do you really believe in the concept of free will?

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
This difference is profound enough that I'm going to reject that consciousness can be treated as analogous to a computer program; there's no evidence they work the same way.
So you disagree with computationalism. Fine. I strongly agree with it, but I will not debate that with you here. This thread is not the right place.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
They don't need to carry information about their history; if a third person observer is there to watch the atoms that used to make up your body scattered and sifted incoherently into a big tank, it becomes an objective fact that the atoms in the copy are not the same because the actual atoms can literally be pointed at, still sitting on Earth.
The point is that the end result is the same (transportation via destruction or not). And since the particles cannot carry information about their history, the way you got to the end result cannot make a difference.

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
But it happens slowly enough that the processes of the organism (including the production of a continuous consciousness) are not interrupted.

Hypothetical scenarios such as that "the replacement happens within a unit of Planck time" aren't convincing to me; because whether it's for a unit of Planck time or a year, the process is interrupted for a quantifiable amount of time. It definitely and objectively stops.
There are no processes in nature on the fundamental level, see above.

Checkmite, am I right in assuming that you would never agree to go under general anaesthesia? Because you know what happens to your consciousness then ...

Originally Posted by Checkmite View Post
My consciousness evolved to serve a function, which is to help keep the organism it arose in alive. That's my consciousness' biological imperative.
Sure, but that doesn't mean we could not ignore it under certain circumstances.
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Old 5th December 2012, 02:45 PM   #359
Croc411
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 97
Originally Posted by Thunderchief View Post
I think we think the same thing; that a copy is made and that the original dies. but for some reason you don't care that an individual has died, is that right?
No, I don't think we think the same thing. I cannot respond in detail now, hopefully tomorrow.
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Old 5th December 2012, 03:00 PM   #360
Edx
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,429
Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
At a subatomic level your brain is not the same brain it was a nanosecond ago. I don't find myself so bothered by this.

Not the same thing as what we're talking about. Its really very simple.

If we are working from the principle that the teleporter isnt transporting anything only scanning and sending information for a copy to be built somewhere else, then as I see it there is no difference from the perspective of the person using the teleporter to someone who just decided to kill themselves without using the teleporter. There may be a copy of you walking around, and no one may be able to tell the difference and from its own perspective it really did wake up in a new place after pressing "ENGAGE" on the machine, but you're still dead and just as dead as someone who blew their heads off because you didnt actually get transported anywhere, only copied somewhere. The only difference is that guy who shot himself's conciousness and exact configuration of matter doesnt exist anymore in the universe.

If you could create an exact copy of you right now, would you be happy to kill yourself because your copy lived on? I doubt it.

If you can teleport something like a dog, it may be perfectly fine to you, because to you see it as exactly the same. But from the perspective of the dog (if had that much cognitive ability) it died. You seem to be looking at this like a "god" might see things rather than from your own personal perspective, saying that because a copy of the dog was created it doesnt matter. Well it certainly would matter to the original dog that's now dead! With this scenario everything is relative, and for YOU, you'd be dead and it doesnt matter if there's 10 copies running around you wont ever think again even if your copy will.

I find it hard to understand why this is so difficult

Last edited by Edx; 5th December 2012 at 03:17 PM.
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