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Devil's Advocate

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  1. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    Perhaps consider this: Is it the vessel that validates reality, or its contents? Your problem is essentially confined to a zero sum game for all intents and purposes (setting the Riker, and other examples aside); one individual in - one individual out. The food unit, for example, uses additional stuff to produce the meal, but the transporter does not. So unless you're struggling with the concept of a disembodied soul, what you put in is exactly what you get out. If this were a computer with software, which includes AI, I doubt you'd consider the reassembled AI as a different program.
  2. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Today's Random Quote seems appropriate: "Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not yet understood." ~ Henry Miller.
  3. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Given the choices, this one is most true to me on the presumption that liberty implies life.
  4. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    PEW Research (point 7, link below) suggests most Americans have a more favorable view of local government than national, and that makes sense to me because in terms of representation, your neighbor is more likely to understand your concerns than someone who lives out of state. The remaining points tend to support this view along with the general opinion that democracy works better for the "ins" than the "outs". Not surprisingly, recent years have driven the virtue of compromise to a minority view (as reflected in point 4, link below) Taken together, I think the consensus shows a preference for localism, not nationalism (and certainly not internationalism). Following the trend to it's logical conclusion, individualism is the ideal form (self governance) and capitalism the ideal means (laissez-faire). So I think the national vs multi-national argument "flies over" (and dismisses) the more obvious conclusion that any form of governance that empowers a group over a individual is less virtuous to its participants. -- http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/26/key-findings-on-americans-views-of-the-u-s-political-system-and-democracy/
  5. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    And yet here we are (in America) consenting to be part of a Constitutional Republic. Compliance is only required to the degree that individual rights may be secure from coercion by one another and the government, at least in principle.
  6. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    I believe 2016 marked that point.
  7. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Producing is a trade, i.e. a trader by profession. We needn't identify every participant as a trader who produces pork bellies vs a trader who buys pork bellies. The Trader Principle applies to both.
  8. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    In the context of laissez-faire capitalism, what else is necessary but the presence of traders? I believe it's worth remembering that Ayn Rand wrote of capitalism as an unknown ideal, and it remains so today. That's not to say that we haven't benefited by the mixed version that we do know and experience, but only to recognize that the "failures" of capitalism are failures of regulation. I don't believe that the State will get it right someday, or that it will give up trying, but I remain optimistic in the promise of capitalism. The bottom line is, "separation" means separation.
  9. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    A social context is created simply by the interaction of individuals (no state required), and a legal scheme provides security for, but is not what is capitalism because traders will still trade and be held accountable even in anarchy. The rest is simply enhancement. Culture leans to heavily on nationalism when the individuals within that "culture" are required to conform (by association) to the directions of that group. I hold to Ayn Rand's contention that a separation of state and economics is necessary for the same reason state and church is. The reason mixed economies are inevitable is because the "invisible hand" is inevitably a national one.
  10. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    The problem is that capitalism is an individual resource, not a national one because nations can only produce mixed economies. In that respect it doesn't mater if you're referring to one nation or many, for the same reason as one or many groups, only individuals have rights. A national border represents a constraint of capitalism, so having them wither away by allowing individuals to contract as traders (not citizens) is the ideal form of capitalism.
  11. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    I agree, but a mind-body dichotomy doesn't necessarily apply in this case, since whatever is being disassembled entirely (mind included), is transferred entirely (mind included), and then reassembled entirely (mind included). Would you say an artificial intelligence loses portions of continuity during a reboot and becomes a duplicate (or different) intelligence afterwards? I think it might be clearer to represent transportation as the projection of an individual of finite continuous length that begins in one location (like a train) and arrives in a new location. Since none of the train (and intelligences aboard) is left behind at the point of origin we don't morn the loss of those commuters and treat those who arrive as clones.
  12. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    And this is the exact conclusion I draw. I probably shouldn't be the one to "go there" in this discussion, so I'll leave it to you to flesh it out. But as the saying goes, "When you eliminate all the other possibilities, what ever remains, however unlikely, must be the truth." I believe it is the only evidence that matters. Since I'm not inclined to consider any form of travel that executes the commuter as a viable means of getting where you want to go on a daily basis, I believe a more plausible means would be to pass the whole package from point A to point B. The only evidence sufficient to validate who arrives on the other side would necessarily be self-evident, along with the lack of anyone else to dispute the claim. I can live with that. A mere preference perhaps. I've read that Roddenbury expressed a preference for "Trekkie", but I prefer "Trekker" because of being a more direct reference to the journey of discovery, which is what I find most appealing about these stories. Besides, a "Trekkie" sounds like a squeaky toy to me.
  13. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    I recall being part of that discussion too, and agree to the similarities. There's an aspect to the claim of ownership and what may or may not be a morally permissible action in the protection of that claim. In this discussion, I think the focus has shifted from what we make for ourselves to what we make of ourselves.
  14. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    Here's some additional insider perspective to consider: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/13437/in-star-trek-does-the-original-die-in-teleportation Apparently much depends on what the definition of "copy" is. "Based solely on onscreen evidence, it's more accurate to say that the original is recycled. " (from link)
  15. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    I consider them to be the same person in any case, not a copy. That being said, as a Trekker I remain optimistic that the solution to your problem is suggested by your inability to refer to the individual stepping off the transporter pad as anyone but, "you". Your FPE, before and after transportation, is the only relevant measure of who you are, and that remains self evident until the time you actually die (please note my restraint in not suggesting otherwise by trying to cheat death, you will die). The POV of the person entering the transporter will shape their outcome. If they feel DOA, they probably will be but that will be contradicted by their own complaint of the experience, and so some therapy will be in order. Essentially this is no different than considering someone's phobia of flying or crossing the street. When the fear rises to the level that it drives the experience, that person becomes a changed person, but again because of what is going on in their head, not because they have transported from A to B. The bottom line is, your FPE is yours because self-evidence cannot be transferred to another being, period. If it can (and this is the only choice that matters), you might as well be discussing the, "Everyone but me is a Zombie scenario", i.e., you either accept the premise that you have a mind that is distinguishable from other minds, or Alice's rabbit hole becomes a bottomless pit filled with turtles all the way down. Anyway, thanks for sharing this topic.
  16. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    It's the questions that make life interesting, at least for me. I think in all cases an individual's FPE becomes a memory, and that is the determining element in your secret sauce. From what I've read thus far, person A moves from one location to another as the same person, meaning there's no residue left by A in the prior location, therefore A remains A. Whether or not A is obliterated and ressurected can't be evaluated because those two states would contradict each other, i.e. there has to be something to resurrect from. So what arrives in the new location is the same thing unless some thing is left behind to contest it. Provided a transported individual retains credible memories from prior to transportation, that person's FPE is continuous, not interrupted or reset. Ship of Theseus is a distraction because an individual is the sum of their parts and those parts change every moment, but that person's memory ties it all together and validates their wholeness by self-evidence. Would you try to convince them otherwise?
  17. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    Transportation by definition is merely moving an object (the same object) from one location to another. If that object is disassembled, transported and reassembled, it remains the same object by the law of identity because a thing is what it is regardless of how it arrived to its present location. If I toss an apple to you, you can't see it for a moment, and then it arrives in your hand, is it a different apple? Suppose you and I forced the original D.A. through a transporter against his will, and when he emerged somewhere else he claimed, "You bastards, you killed me!" Is there any objective court of law that would accept his claim?
  18. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    Except that what has been discussed in terms of creating a copy is not what transportation is, so...
  19. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    It doesn't matter because throughout of the process of transportation, the experience remains first person. If you're going to use the transporter as an example, you can't change its purpose in order to create a problem. It wasn't designed to kill people in order to create clones in some other place, it was designed to transport the same person from one place to another. Here this may help, in the words of the guy who invented the thing: "Erickson later recalled his experience as the first person to go through a transporter, which he was terrified to attempt. According to Erickson, "That original transporter took a full minute and a half to cycle through. Felt like a year. You could actually feel yourself being taken apart and put back together. When I materialized, first thing I did was lose my lunch." http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Transporter
  20. Devil's Advocate

    The Transporter Problem

    Perhaps there are no atheists in a transporter room, D.A. (the original), for the same reason there supposedly aren't any in a foxhole; everyone wants to survive the experience, first person or otherwise. I suspect that if transportation were possible, you'd retain your fear of death and yet find some reason to experience what could not be attained by any other means. Bones, who knew the chances for survival better than the Red Shirts, did it every time a shuttle craft wasn't available. Transportation represents a closed system for all intents and purposes. Individual "A" enters one end and exits the other as Individual "A". Reality isn't violated by the process because A is A and never in the same place at the same time. Supposing that Individual "A" passes through the system and emerges fully intact and self-aware, what evidence would there be to dispute A's claim to identity? Sci-Fi is rich with examples of individuals boldly going where no one has been because that's the game for humans: Overcoming your fear of death in order to live.
  21. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Selfish yes, but only groupish by choice. The concept of an unaffiliated individual is fundamentally what a free trader is, and currently represented in objective reality as a capitalist. Individual choices regarding affiliation are primarily influenced by rational egoism or emotional egoism, yet subject to approval by local authorities (groups), therefore not groupish by nature but by circumstance.
  22. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    I agree, and Mishra's work in "Age of Anger" points to this as well. It is worth noting however, that a moral minimum which allows for plundering those who don't meet it is highly suspect in terms of justifying the use of moral force that follows. Beyond the measure of the Ten Precepts (Commandments) is a more fundamental application of the Golden Rule understood in more practicable terms as, "He who has the gold, makes the rules", the gold in this case being force. The inhabitants of those places falling under colonial rule may not have understood the Ten Precepts as moral absolutes, but they certainly understood the use of force being applied towards them to comply, and eventually responded in kind.
  23. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    There are groups in any case, e.g., nationalists, globalists, isolationists, imperialists, colonialists, collectivists, statistics, socialists, capitalists, etc, along with subsets of their opposition groups, e.g., anarchists, independents, dissidents, etc. And the binding force, or benefit of membership, is the common belief that there is greater strength (force) in unity than going it alone. Force, specifically participation in the governance of force, is what primarily motivates individuals within any group to make choices that have some effect their group policy. Marginalize or remove that individual's choice and whatever benefit (or virtue) of group membership remains becomes as contradictory as a free nation of enslaved individuals. So the nation vs no-nation argument is really just a question of access to (or protection from) the governance of force, at least to the degree that individual self-governance is insufficient to maintaining freedoms within the context of social participation. However I'm not prepared to dismiss the argument for self-governance.
  24. Devil's Advocate

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Why must one choose to be one or the other? A political structure is fundamentally a structure of individuals choosing to apply their forces collectively. If an unaffiliated individual must choose to be a nationalist or a globalist, then it appears to follow that all individuals are powerless to avoid being the member of whatever group applies the most force. What does it mean to be a free nation of powerless individuals?
  25. Devil's Advocate

    What are the basic emotions?

    I agree that the existence of primaries implies the absence of non-primaries, so complex or mixed emotional states shouldn't be considered as a different kind of emotion any more than a brick house would be considered a different kind of brick. I believe there is an emotional landscape comprised of basic elements (such as envy) in complex combinations (such as admiration or ressentiment). As such, the basics remain discernible individually and are not diluted by combination. Unfamiliar territory, for example, is still recognizable as a territory with discernible basic elements. As to what the basic emotions are, I think the list is relatively short compared to the emotional states created by combining them. Envy appears to me to be non-reducible, i.e. basic, whereas admiration and ressentiment appear to be more a sum of their basic parts, i.e. complex mixtures of the basics. Substitution of any of the basics (except envy) could transform admiration to ressentiment, so I would look at the reducibility of an emotional state to find its components and settle for basic as a particular emotion that cannot be reduced.
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