energy in your hair

swears

preppy-kei
So you get in the teleporter, it sends an exact copy of you to the moonbase.
But you're still here on earth.

"What went wrong?" you ask the technician.

"Oh, don't worry. Sometimes there's a slight time delay, you'll disintegrate within the next few minutes."
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
I guess you could sum up my position as follows: if two systems are physically identical, right down to the quantum level, then they are interchangeable; it makes no sense to talk about 'this one here' and 'that one there'.
I'm inclined to agree here. Except...
So if you insist that there is nonetheless a difference, then you either need to appeal to some unknown sub-quantum theory of physics, or posit a non-physical (spiritual, metaphysical...) difference.
Not necessarily non-physical. For instance when we make a copy can we be sure we are accurate in all dimensions? For instance, the ones we don't really know about. Might
these not appear to us as metaphysical?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
So you get in the teleporter, it sends an exact copy of you to the moonbase.
But you're still here on earth.

"What went wrong?" you ask the technician.

"Oh, don't worry. Sometimes there's a slight time delay, you'll disintegrate within the next few minutes."

Nah, the teleportation of the original can't happen without the destruction of the original (any more than you can still be in possession of a parcel you've already sent to someone), so it'd be instantaneous. There's a sort of 'conservation of information' principle going on, somehow.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Not necessarily non-physical. For instance when we make a copy can we be sure we are accurate in all dimensions? For instance, the ones we don't really know about. Might
these not appear to us as metaphysical?

Yeah, I suppose, but that's what I mean by 'unknown physics'.
 

swears

preppy-kei
Nah, the teleportation of the original can't happen without the destruction of the original, so it'd be instantaneous. There's a sort of 'conservation of information' principle going on, somehow.

That's what the manufacturers would have you believe, but mine's always playing up.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
That's what the manufacturers would have you believe, but mine's always playing up.

There's a 'Treehouse Of Horrors' episode of The Simpsons where Homer acquires a magic hammock that he can't get in without immediately falling out of, but every time he does it, there's two of him. The clones start jumping in an cloning themselves, so soon there's an army of Homers, only some of the clones are imperfect; there's a weird-looking proto-Homer from the Tracy Ullman Show era, and a Peter Griffin from Family Guy, which I thought was a fair enought dig.
 

turtles

in the sea
@Swears: on the fiction front, I would highly recommend reading some greg egan, specifically "Permutation City" and this collection of short stories. He approches it more from the computer angle rather than cell-replacement, but he has all sorts of things with people having exact clones of their minds and such, and if i remember right he has at least one short story that's about the same kind of process described in the second thought experiment posted above. Good mind-bending stuff.
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
Nice one turtles, I think that's the book I was trying to remember. Something about blue crystals...
That's what the manufacturers would have you believe, but mine's always playing up.
Can you guess what the (first) twist in 'The Unteleported Man' is? ;)
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Nice one turtles, I think that's the book I was trying to remember. Something about blue crystals...

Can you guess what the (first) twist in 'The Unteleported Man' is? ;)

Ooh, lessee....is it that the unteleported MAN is actually a WOman?

Am I close?
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
This is more or less what PKD's 'The Unteleported Man' is about, although if I remember right there's a bit of a nasty twist to it.

It's also a famous thought experiment in philosophy and it's bugging me that I can't remember who formulated it.

Putnam?

Searle?

Ayer? (j/k)
 

swears

preppy-kei
This is a good one, classic new wave sci fi:

It all started when Captain Nathan Hansard of 'A' Artillery Company, Camp Jackson/Mars Command Post was sent to Mars. A fault in the instantaneous transmission of matter transmitter created two of him: one went to Mars as scheduled, while a 'ghost' stayed on Earth in a strange world of secondary matter, walking through steel vaults and swimming in the concrete foundations of buildings. The original Hansard carried orders for the total nuclear arsenal of Camp Jackson/Mars to be unleashed on the enemy, so precipitating Earth's nuclear holocaust. Something had to be done - and fast. Could Hansard save the world? Could his ghost..?

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/d/thomas-m-disch/echo-round-his-bones.htm
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Going with either choice in the each of the experiments, you will be sacrificing either the continuity of your material self for the continuity of your consciousness or vice versa. How would you go about making your decision?"
This makes the assumption that you can achieve continuity of the consciousness by simply making an exact copy of your self - I don't think you can (and if you think that you can surely you need to argue for it not just state it as an aside in part of the question).

"I guess you could sum up my position as follows: if two systems are physically identical, right down to the quantum level, then they are interchangeable; it makes no sense to talk about 'this one here' and 'that one there'. So if you insist that there is nonetheless a difference, then you either need to appeal to some unknown sub-quantum theory of physics, or posit a non-physical (spiritual, metaphysical...) difference."
No, no, not at all - they are still different entities, you are making the error outlined here in the Stanford Encyclopaedia or Philosophy:

"To say that this and that are numerically identical is to say that they are one and the same: one thing rather than two. This is different from qualitative identity. Things are qualitatively identical when they are exactly similar. Identical twins may be qualitatively identical — there may be no telling them apart — but they are not numerically identical, for there are two of them: that's what makes them twins"
The quantum copy in your example is qualitatively identical but not numerically identical to the original, it is not the same thing. It's not the soul or otherwise that makes two things different.
 
Putnam?

Searle?

Ayer? (j/k)

I think all of them, beginning with Plato (who was the first to conceive of the notion of a copy without an original - a simulation), have experimented with, and played around with, ideas that challenge transcendence. Interesting that some posters here posit a 'soul' [whether they believe in one or not], by definition immortal, as being somehow tied down to some concrete-physical identity: but such an argument only displaces the problem, however. If this were the case, 'soul' believers would be at the forefront of experiments in biogenetic cloning and manipulation, since they would be fully aware that they were dealing only with the 'merely' material aspect of human existence, not with the spiritual kernel. Their faith in transcendence would protect them from any possible scientific-humanist reductionism. If they believe in an autonomous spiritual dimension, there is no need to fear cloning or biogenetic manipulation.

BTW, every human cell dies (through the process of programmed cell death via inter-cellular chemical 'messengers') and is replaced every year (in some ways this fact oddly escaped biologists for years: if a mother cell - that divides via fission into two daughter cells - never died, we'd all cell-expand into resource-ravaging Giant Monsters as big as the planet in no time, like Capital itself!). There are exceptions, of course: within cells, DNA never replicates 100% precisely (so we have the aging process), while cancer cells are precisely those that somehow never get the suicide chemical command to shuffle off, instead replicating themselves without dying, the teeming tumour then growing uncontrollably ...

But I side with Baudrillard on the cloning issue: the original is itself a copy. So a cloned human - by whatever means - only suffers existential angst, distributed identity crisis, 'subjective destitution', etc - when he/she/it becomes informed, reflexively realises that he/she/it is just a polymorphously mutating clone at the mercy of - and constituted by - environment, always has been.

[Why even Britney Spears has recently - unwittingly - copped this :cool: : Piece of Me video].
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"Interesting that some posters here posit a 'soul' [whether they believe in one or not], by definition immortal"
Well, as "soul" was being used as a clumsy substitute for the want of a better word I don't think you can say that it is anything "by definition".

"as being somehow tied down to some concrete-physical identity: but such an argument only displaces the problem, however"
Tied down to a specific concrete-physical entity or must it simply be linked with one in general? If the former then surely there is no point in biogenetic cloning or whatever.

"'soul' believers"
Keep the faith.
 
Well, as "soul" was being used as a clumsy substitute for the want of a better word I don't think you can say that it is anything "by definition".

I don't think that anyone who invokes 'soul' does so as an apologetic, inferior substitute for some other term, much less in a clumsy way [symbolically lazy or uncritical, maybe, but not haphazardly), and of all the metonyms in the English language, surely the most rigid and determinate one is that of Soul=Immortal, by whatever definition.


Tied down to a specific concrete-physical entity or must it simply be linked with one in general? If the former then surely there is no point in biogenetic cloning or whatever.

The argument being made was that for those who believe in a transcendent, immortal soul, material manipulation or physical cloning is therefore of no consequence, has no implications vis-a-vis such a belief, not that there is 'no point in' doing it.
 
N

nomadologist

Guest
I think all of them, beginning with Plato (who was the first to conceive of the notion of a copy without an original - a simulation), have experimented with, and played around with, ideas that challenge transcendence. Interesting that some posters here posit a 'soul' [whether they believe in one or not], by definition immortal, as being somehow tied down to some concrete-physical identity: but such an argument only displaces the problem, however. If this were the case, 'soul' believers would be at the forefront of experiments in biogenetic cloning and manipulation, since they would be fully aware that they were dealing only with the 'merely' material aspect of human existence, not with the spiritual kernel. Their faith in transcendence would protect them from any possible scientific-humanist reductionism. If they believe in an autonomous spiritual dimension, there is no need to fear cloning or biogenetic manipulation.

BTW, every human cell dies (through the process of programmed cell death via inter-cellular chemical 'messengers') and is replaced every year (in some ways this fact oddly escaped biologists for years: if a mother cell - that divides via fission into two daughter cells - never died, we'd all cell-expand into resource-ravaging Giant Monsters as big as the planet in no time, like Capital itself!). There are exceptions, of course: within cells, DNA never replicates 100% precisely (so we have the aging process), while cancer cells are precisely those that somehow never get the suicide chemical command to shuffle off, instead replicating themselves without dying, the teeming tumour then growing uncontrollably ...

But I side with Baudrillard on the cloning issue: the original is itself a copy. So a cloned human - by whatever means - only suffers existential angst, distributed identity crisis, 'subjective destitution', etc - when he/she/it becomes informed, reflexively realises that he/she/it is just a polymorphously mutating clone at the mercy of - and constituted by - environment, always has been.

[Why even Britney Spears has recently - unwittingly - copped this :cool: : Piece of Me video].

But if you think about where the anti-abortionists stand on all of this, the sanctity of life by their logic is determined by the coexistence of the soul with the body in a sort of "continuum." Conveniently, the "soul" coexists with the "body" (i.e. cluster of cells attached to the wall of a uterus) at the exact moment of conception--the soul does not pre-exist its host body--but is somehow "immortal" from the moment of conception onward, and at the same time not reliant on the host body for its existence post-death.

If you're going to believe in souls, I suppose Hinduism makes slightly more sense, in that it doesn't posit a pseudo-"immortality" where the transcendental stuff of life is somehow also reliant on material/physical beings for its very existence. For Hindus souls just keep being reembodied in a cycle that presumably extends infinitely backward to "creation" and forward to nirvana or karmic fulfillment...
 

zhao

there are no accidents
Surely that should be especially (or only?) on a physical level. Why does that mean that separation is an illusion? Not disagreeing mind, just want to know how it follows.

for me it is easier to envision connection of mind rather than body. but in the end mind is body, and there is no difference between consciousness, energy, and matter.

the first time i did acid (age 15), i could not figure out why exactly the chair i was melting into was not a part of me. i touched my arm, and touched the arm-rest, and was really puzzled (for what seemed like centuries) by why one was a part of "me" and the other wasn't.

atoms are constantly being "traded" between everything, which leads to the completely recycle in a human body in about 7 years -- that's what i meant by the fluidity and interexchangeability of everything, and that the separateness and isolation of entities existing apart from other entities is an illusion.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"atoms are constantly being "traded" between everything, which leads to the completely recycle in a human body in about 7 years -- that's what i meant by the fluidity and interexchangeability of everything, and that the separateness and isolation of entities existing apart from other entities is an illusion."
Well, I don't think that anyone would argue with the first bit. The question is about whether there is something beyond the (replaceable) physical that links those replaced atoms, a continuation of consciousness that some may characterise as a (not necessarily immortal) soul or by some other name.

"but in the end mind is body"
Is it? Why do you say that? How do you know?

"the first time i did acid (age 15), i could not figure out why exactly the chair i was melting into was not a part of me. i touched my arm, and touched the arm-rest, and was really puzzled (for what seemed like centuries) by why one was a part of "me" and the other wasn't."
Well, yeah, but isn't it perfectly possible to envisage a situation in which your molecules swap with every other thing in the universe but there is still something that is you which is beyond that? Manchester United can change all their players and still be Manchester United, why can't I do the same especially when I appear to have all of the things the football club has that allow it to continue and I arguably have more, not least a sense of self?
I'm not discounting your intuition here, because it's probably only intuitively that I feel that although some atoms that were part of me last year may be part of a chair today there is no question that I am still here looking at the chair, rather than being the chair looking out. But, no-one is likely to confuse me with the chair, there is a sense that most people have that I am still me rather than the chair, you will surely accept that someone who knew you last year and sees you now will recognise you as Zhao, as will you. What is the thing that does that recognising if it isn't a self?
 
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zhao

there are no accidents
well that about does it for me at this point. atleast until further pondering. (throws hands up) :confused:
 
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