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DonAthos

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  1. So you take Trump's actions generally as being supportive of free trade? Here's an opinion considering that analysis, among other possibilities. I don't know. I think it's possibly an error to consider Trump as being particularly principled in any direction -- except for the bedrock that is his own aggrandizement. But it certainly seems to me that he's not afraid to violate what I would otherwise consider to be free markets, or the individual rights which make free markets possible. If that's a "negotiating tool," I don't know that it makes it any better. I don't think he cares about things like "rights." In any event, how do you square your interpretation with Trump's threatening US businesses against moving overseas? For instance, here is a write-up of Trump's reaction to Harley-Davidson. This does not sound to me like a principled free-trader in action. Race has nothing to do with nationalism, either currently or historically? All right. I think there's possibly something arguable here, but I'll leave it for others, or for another time. Okay; I will look forward to that being addressed later. Do you also consider it a "valid and pertinent question" as to how it is proposed to enforce a preference for nationalism? Perhaps we have decided that the Quebecois and Basques, etc., should have states -- or perhaps not -- but how generally does the nationalist propose to preserve his culture against demographic shifts, immigration and emigration, influx of foreign media, etc.? Can this be done without violating individual rights?
  2. I think this question is "superficial and artificial" partly because it's not yet clear exactly what we're discussing, in terms of actual policy (and thus how it might intersect with capitalism/individual rights). Is this supposed "nationalism" versus "imperialist" discussion merely a question of organization (like discussions of the federal government/states rights)? Or are there actual policy proposals, waiting in the wings (like how "states rights" have sometimes been used as a cover for slavery or Jim Crow)? For instance, Rand's quote also speaks glowingly about "free trade," but I don't know that most people I'd consider nationalist (historically or currently) are generally proponents of free trade. If Donald Trump is meant to represent "nationalism," say, then at least his brand seems to me to be more protectionist. And in those situations where there exists some group, like the Quebec separatists, are we meant to be in favor of their nationalist ends? And what of their violent means to achieve them? I mean, even granting for the sake of discussion that there's some sense to the idea that speaking a separate language, or having a different cultural or ethnic identity, implies something about desirable political organization (otherwise highly questionable, imo), it's yet unclear what people are supposed to do about that, in reality. In the United States today, there are some who believe that white people and black people cannot fundamentally coexist under the same government -- are they supposed to have a point? Should they be regarded as separate "nations," and drive towards separate states? At what point are we simply rationalizing tribalism?
  3. DonAthos

    Health & Evasion.

    Akilah, there's a lot you've said that's perhaps worth discussing here -- many issues that have been raised, or at least touched upon -- but I'd like initially to consider the above. Leaving out the asides and preamble, we have "to the extent that one knows a certain action or blemish is in opposition to his beauty and continues to pursue that action constitutes overt evasion." But in your preamble, you've observed that morality is contextual; and in an aside, depending on a "complex process of assessing all of one's objective values in their respective hierarchy." So is it not possible that different people place different weight on issues concerning their "beauty" (i.e. that beauty is a greater value to some, a lesser value to others) -- in reason? The thread generally tries to link such "beauty" to "health," which I would grant is often a fairly important value for rational people (though even this is not context-free; not "universal"), but when we also mean to include such things as an "ugly nose," I'm not certain we're truly discussing "health" any longer. May I ask? Why do you believe that Yaron Brook, for instance (as his is one of the names you've mentioned, I believe) is unconcerned with health and beauty? If you're referring to his appearance, what specifically is it about his appearance that leads you to your conclusion about his underlying values, or his rationality?
  4. DonAthos

    Health & Evasion.

    I'm sure there's a connection between health and human beauty. That being said, do you believe that we can tell a person's health (or their concern for their own health) from the way they appear, or their beauty? And do you believe that health is the only source of human beauty?
  5. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    Thank you for your patience, DA (nouveau). I can't promise that my reply will reward that patience, exactly, but I will do what I can... *** I don't plan on being in a foxhole anytime soon, but if I ever were, I can guarantee that there would be (at least) one atheist in a foxhole. I would otherwise avoid the transporter room just like I do the foxhole, and for largely the same reasons. And while I respect Dr. McCoy for all sorts of reasons, I think his instinct on this subject was better than his considered decision. This is adjacent to my claim, but does not meet it head on. Forget "transportation" for a moment, but regard it as "simple" cloning. If we could simply make a copy of a person (which is also the most part of what "transportation" is, imo) -- James Kirk, to use my initial example -- then we would have two beings each claiming to be James Kirk. This would not "violate reality" (nothing can) and A would still be A. I would not doubt either Kirk's "claim to identity," as such, and each would have good reason for believing himself to be Kirk (or, in this case, "a Kirk"). Yet these would be two separate beings, in fact, A and B. And speaking more directly to the central matter, they would each have a separate consciousness, a separate experience of reality -- which is to say, a distinct FPE (unless we subscribe to the "hive mind" or "parallel processing" hypothesis, which at present, I do not). And if you were to then disintegrate one of those two Kirks (the other main feature of "transportation" technology), I'd say that you have killed him. I agree with your sentiment to a great extent, here, but I would not advocate literal suicide as a means of overcoming one's fear of death. I agree with you about the intent of the design. And if we wish to allow it some magical or fantastical property, to suit some fictional purpose, then so be it -- it can simply transport by fiat. But if the mechanism purports to disassemble a person and then reassemble (or as I would argue is more strictly true, "assemble") a person at a distance, then I do have questions about the nature of the result, whether we call it "transportation" or something else. I don't doubt that the person who steps off of the transporter has a first person experience; but I question whether it is the exact same first person experience as that of the person who'd initially entered the transporter. I think these questions can be raised in a manner not only consistent with what we're shown as a matter of course in Star Trek, but also with the curious matter I've raised before of Thomas Riker. Whether the transporter was designed "to kill people in order to create clones in some other place" or not, I take this as evidence that it does this very thing, apart from the arguments I have made more generally. I agree with you. And to the extent that we might be given to disagree, it doesn't much matter to me. Same apple? Different apple? Who cares. The apple (so far as I am aware) is not conscious and will not complain, and wouldn't have grounds for complaint if it could. But it is part and parcel to my argument that humanity (or conscious creatures) is uniquely endangered by this sort of process on account of our first person experience. Or if we are not so endangered -- if we may be disassembled on some molecular level, later reassembled, and survive it (meaning: with the very same FPE intact) -- then I suspect we have some... intriguing and even more difficult questions before us, as to the nature of the FPE (or at that point, I think we may as well call it a soul). Well, it's interesting. That DA would not say "you killed me," but "you killed him." And I believe he would be right (insofar as that DA would exist, but the guy you're talking to right now would not). Could it be proven in a court of law? Not unless they subscribed to my views on the matter; it could not be proven through third person test or analysis, at least, because what we are talking about is nothing more and nothing less than first person experience itself. I like questions plenty. I like answers, too, and I often like them together (when I can get 'em). They're like pb&j. I agree that the transported individual, post-transportation, may have credible memories of a continuous FPE extending from before the transportation; but this is not sufficient to establish that the person who entered the transporter has survived the process. I've always regarded "Trekker" as a concession that there was something wrong with "Trekkie" -- a concession I'm unwilling to make. What's your take on it? The person who emerges from the transporter is unquestionably alive and unquestionably himself, not dead in any sense. But should he look to beam back to the ship... it may be a different story. That's what I suspect, as well. You're welcome!
  6. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    This thread is not meant to be about the feasibility of constructing a transporter, or whether it would rely on quantum mechanics, or whether quantum mechanics is sound science; if your conclusion is that transporter technology is inherently impossible, though I disagree, that doesn't make "the whole discussion moot," because the discussion is not meant to produce a transporter, or to assess the likelihood of doing so -- it is meant to explore underlying philosophical issues. (Or, at least, that is my interest in it. In a similar way, perhaps, I trust that Rand did not raise the issue of an immortal robot because she thought that one day there would exist an immortal robot, or was interested in whether quantum theory or Newtonian mechanics or something else were likelier to produce such an outcome. She raised the robot, I believe, so that she could explore "life" and its relationship to moral reasoning.) Those underlying issues I mean to explore here -- and specifically what we've been calling the "first-person experience," and its metaphysics -- can be explored from more than one angle. Eiuol raised the idea of a prosthetic hippocampus, for instance, which I think might also be a rewarding avenue of exploration. Now, I'm as expert in biotechnology and neuroscience as I am in quantum physics (which is to say, not at all), and maybe you have some expertise in that field and some better idea than I as to whether or not such a thing is feasible based on current science -- but again, it isn't the point. I'm not trying to dissuade you from discussing your thoughts about the science, though I consider them tangential, or even quantum mechanics to an extent (though I think that mostly belongs in another thread; no one here, so far as I can tell, is arguing against QM), but I do think you're wrong to suggest that the discussion is moot because you disagree with the science of my approach to designing a transporter as seen on Star Trek (though other than attempting to deal with the transporter as presented there, I don't think I've offered any opinion as to the nature of the science of designing such a thing in reality; nor have I said that QM would play no role in it; I am optimistic that we can one day design a transporter and that is all -- and if QM is the science that will allow for such a thing, so be it). I don't know with precision what "information" means in this sense, nor what a "mind linkage" would consist of, especially if no "information" was shared between those minds. If they do not share information, generally speaking, then in what sense are they linked? (And conversely, isn't any "link" sensibly called that because information is shared?) And if we allow this linkage to happen for a "split-second," then are we violating this dictum against FTL you've invoked for the duration of that split-second? It is still unclear to me what this means for the first-person experience, or how it gets around the problems we've raised, generally. I don't know why the copy you've created through quantum means wouldn't have its own first-person experience. If I have it correctly, the process you've described argues that you 1) create a copy at a distance, then 2) destroy the original. You say that the FPE would "transfer" between the two, albeit no "information" would. I don't understand the meaning of that, or how the FPE is meant to transfer, or what that would mean in reality, but I believe it describes your claim. It is also, perhaps, a touch interesting in that I believe that this represents something of a departure from what you had described earlier (though please correct me if I'm mistaken): Perhaps you are not comfortable with my term of "hive mind" to describe this scenario (though I yet consider it apt -- and yes, Eiuol, I have read your post about "parallel processing" ), but I don't know how this comports with your current description: how there is no transfer of "information," how it takes place in a "split-second," etc. The key behind this original presentation was that "you would now be able to experience life on earth and life on the moon simultaneously in one consciousness." That's key to this discussion, because it speaks to the idea that FPE might in some real sense be shared beyond one's own body -- and suggesting such a possibility implicitly speaks to the metaphysics we ascribe to the FPE. So hopefully you see that I'm not trying to question whether quantum mechanics allows for a real possibility of transportation technology -- I don't honestly care whether it does or not -- but I am interested in this treatment of the FPE, and how that works. You write (across two posts): So this does seem markedly different to me than the conscious being you'd described who experiences life on the moon and Earth simultaneously with time enough to come to terms with its rather strange disposition ("eventually"). It is a bit of surmise on my part, perhaps, but I suspect that you may have altered this scenario in order to accommodate restrictions against information traveling faster than light (do I have that right? I may easily be mistaking here). Taking then this second presentation on its face, I wonder... could we forego from destroying the original? And if we did, what would this mean for the consciousness/FPE of these two (I would argue) separate individuals, if they are thereafter unable to share information?
  7. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    Perhaps I will try to address your posts more substantively in the future, but for now and without much time available to me, let me suggest: you seem to be looking at this from the point of view of the person who emerges from the transporter. I would ask you to consider, instead, the point of view of the person who enters the transporter.
  8. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    I respect the fact that you consider yourself confident of this, but I'm not going to bet that this technology "will never exist." Perhaps modern science is correct in assigning itself certain limits, ruling things out, but then it's my understanding* that the observations that have led to quantum mechanics itself would have been ruled out as scientifically impossible, once upon a not-so-distant time. (* "My understanding" of these things is admittedly limited; my degree was in history, not physics.) As I've said, our modern science, fantastic though it is, has all occurred within a very small slice of time, relatively speaking. If humanity survives long enough to add another thousand or ten of scientific progress, I would be loathe to bet that there is some manipulation of matter that we will always be unable to accomplish. Or maybe I'm wrong about this. Can we "square the circle"? No; there are admittedly some "hard" rule-outs like that. But can we disassemble something and put it back together on a very low/fundamental level? That sounds like exactly the sort of thing that man will eventually be able to accomplish, given sufficient time and interest. Beyond that, I don't know how competent I am, in 2018, of predicting the technology of 12,018 or 120,180 AD. Again: if we were to wager -- if there was any way in which I could hope to collect -- I would bet that the technology of 120,180 (or 1,201,800) will appear as to violate several things we currently call "scientific law." Regardless, it's a bit of a tangent as to whether or not this technology will ever exist, as such, let alone on a "quantum" level. In a manner that directly pertains to the central topic, I don't know that we've satisfied the question as to what's required to either preserve one's current FPE -- or what would be required for those who assert that a given FPE could be reawakened, or resurrected, in some newly minted body, or even in an "artificial" simulacrum, like an android or avatar. It has been observed that any given man's quantum state, and atomic or molecular composition, changes from moment to moment (let alone over the course of years). So is there one particular arrangement that is required for "transportation," or is there a range, or..? What is required for the continuity (or transportation/transference, if possible) of FPE? In a recent post, SL raised a number of thought-provoking questions; and Eiuol also raised what I consider an interesting matter with his supposition of a "prosthetic hippocampus." We may imagine a man's brain being replaced in this manner, one part at a time, and what I regard a relatively uninteresting/Scholastic question of "sameness," with respect to the Ship of Theseus, becomes something much more compelling, imo, when we think about the FPE. What's the special sauce? What's the thing we replace, or make "artificial," in ourselves, that is a step too far -- and causes our FPE to extinguish (if anything? or is our consciousness/FPE infinitely malleable in this respect? akin to the wave-pattern that SL described, insensitive to the material composition of the wave itself)? And could we ever detect or recognize such an event? I'm more questions than answers at this point, I'm afraid.
  9. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    I understand. These matters are not straightforward or easy. Agreed. True. I believe that the changes you describe -- though they are doubtless significant in many ways, and profound as you say -- are not the sort of change I'm considering when discussing the transporter. Yes, one's brain being different, one's mind being different, there is a "different FPE" between me and my self of 25 years ago. But it is also fundamentally the same FPE in that I am still the same entity that experienced those things then, that continues to live and experience today. It is a different order of difference to consider the difference between your FPE and mine -- in that we are two separate and distinct entities, not alone distinct on account of our differing content of mind, or our bodies being physically separate in space, but absolutely distinct in our hermetic and individual experience of reality. And I posit that the difference in the transported individual, with respect to FPE, is not the first difference of age, or before and after sleep, but the second more fundamental difference in entity. Yes, I believe that to be true. Given sufficient technology, I would not have the same concerns with cryogenics I have with transportation. Well, I don't know if it's a matter of question begging; I think that there's an argument to be made that death is exactly "that from which one may never be revived." Philosophically speaking, at least. Medically there may well be a definition of death that one may yet survive -- and it's my understanding that many people have been "technically" dead, yet revived. (Cf. Miracle Max.) But when Rand refers to death, writing for instance (in Atlas Shrugged), "Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death," I think that she means "that from which one may never be revived." Apart from this, I don't know that there is anything about the cessation of the processes of life that is different from the cessation of any other process. I think our prowess has improved at least to the point where we can fix many systems that have undergone what used to be considered irreparable damage. But yes, I fully expect that our current science will seem primitive to future generations. Well, that's the question, right? I mean, what you've described above is exactly what Star Trek posits. But when we have disassembled a living being, I don't know how -- in principle/philosophically, I mean, not technologically -- we would reassemble that being such that we would restore, not just any old FPE, but the particular and unique FPE that existed prior to deconstruction. I do not doubt that one day we could map a physical system perfectly, to create a pattern; I do not doubt that we could disassemble a person into constituent elements; I do not doubt that we could assemble a person from constituent elements -- or that this person would be alive, conscious, and have an FPE. I believe all of these things are not just possible, but will happen eventually. But someday in the far future, given a Eiuol-pattern and given the requisite constituent elements and assembly technology, I do not believe that we could resurrect Eiuol -- meaning that very same entity who has participated in this thread, with the same FPE. It seems to me that to suggest that his particular FPE would somehow... manifest again, because there are molecules once more arranged in an Eiuol-pattern (though it might be a hundred years later, or a million), is as mystical-sounding as the proposed hive mind. And there, too, if we imagine that we create several Eiuols from our Eiuol-pattern (favoring no particular atoms over another; for one carbon atom is as good as another, it seems to me), I expect that we would have several distinct minds, distinct consciousnesses, distinct FPEs -- and which one of them would be Eioul Classic? If not all of them (i.e., the hive mind), then I think it must be none. I don't have answers to all of these questions, either. Speaking only for myself (which alone is a task that often outstrips my ability), it is indeed what I'm saying: that the individual who gets reconstructed is not the individual who got destroyed.
  10. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    You have sometimes bristled at my use of "emergence" over the years, but... I am not convinced that you understand what my view on emergence is. So when you say "emergent in the way you believe," I am unsure that we are on the same page, or even in the same book. Hopefully in discussing the matter directly, we can at least come to understand our respective positions, if not agree. For when you say "let's assume for discussion that FPE is emergent," yes we certainly can assume it for the sake of discussion. But I also don't see what other choice is available, whether inside or out of discussion. Unless we'd like to argue that molecules themselves have a first-person experience? (I suppose that there are people who believe this; you can find every sort of belief, somewhere.) So, if we're agreed that 1) molecules do not have an FPE and 2) people do, then it seems to me that we must fundamentally agree with respect to emergence: that the property of FPE (and associated) emerges on this "higher" level. All right. I always get a trifle nervous as the verbiage blossoms, but yes -- insofar as I follow this, I agree. Would it be an apt shorthand to say that, in the manner of all other natural phenomena (which is to say, all phenomena), emergence, too, has identity? Absolutely. When we speak of "affecting the emergent mind," I suppose there are two broad categories worth considering: there is the brain's ability to operate at all/generate or produce mind, or function generally; and then there are ways of affecting the mind (to greater and lesser extents) without destroying the ability to function. In a sense, every activity that an individual engages in (consciously or otherwise) manipulates (or impacts, at least) the identity of the brain and thus affects the mind. As is perhaps clear to you now, my concern isn't really about the state of the "transported brain" being sufficient to give rise to mind, or function generally (or however we prefer to label the relationship between brain and mind); I stipulate or grant that whatever is required to preserve or create the normal functioning of a brain, our "reassembly process" is sufficient to achieve this. My concern (expanded on below) is a touch more subtle. Well, as I'd said, I tried to put things in a form I thought you would appreciate. But don't get used to it. Well, it's interesting, you know? This is sort of a... meta-issue, I suppose, but while there's a part of me that agrees with you (for as I've said, I find the notion "unconvincing," which is an intentional understatement for comic effect), I'm also loathe to dismiss arguments out of hand -- especially in the context of a discussion like this, and when advanced by intelligent people. And then there's the fact that this subject matter in and of itself is a bit, well, on the fringe, I suppose. If someone were running afoul of "settled science," it would be easier for me to come to a quick and confident conclusion; but questions relating to consciousness, first-person experiences, and the like -- it's hard for me to assert myself as much of an authority. More specifically, while I would be quite comfortable dismissing the "supernatural" out of hand, I don't know if I could as quickly dismiss all ideas or claims that might fall under "parapsychology" (though I suppose it depends, in part, upon how we're defining that term). The "hive mind" certainly strikes me as mystical, but I don't want to commit to that conclusion without investigating it first. Well, deconstruction is part of the process of teleportation -- both in Star Trek and as has been framed throughout this conversation. As brain is deconstructed (along with all of the rest of one's body), surely both mind and FPE are extinguished alongside it. I think this is uncontroversial. There is, then, the second aspect of teleportation which is "reconstruction." That's where the rubber of my critique meets the road. Not quite. Everything is, of necessity, deconstructed when someone initiates the transportation process -- for it is a deconstruction of all material into constituent elements. However robust we might imagine the emergence of mind to be, I don't think it can persist when the brain itself is dissolved into molecules or atoms (or further). That is precisely the question. I take it for granted that an FPE can "re-emerge" from a reconstructed or reconstituted person -- someone on the far end of transportation. But is this a true "re-emergence," meaning of the same FPE, the same perspective? Or is this, as I suspect, the first emergence of a novel FPE? I believe that this should be not fundamentally different from sleeping. (Which means, to clarify, that I believe that the FPE remains the same; I am the same entity on either side of a nap, coma or cryogenics.) Have I suggested or done anything to convey the contrary impression? Well, the fundamental point is that the FPE is real. There is metaphysical reality here. Suppose that I'm wrong about cryogenics (which I don't think I am -- I never do -- but it has happened from time to time). If I agreed to some sort of cryogenic procedure (a la William "Buck" Rogers, Trek's kissing cousin) and I was wrong about my FPE remaining my own thereafter, the result (from my perspective, if no one else's in the universe) would be: that I would be dead. That matters (again: to me, if no one else). "Transportation" which is a deconstruction and a "reconstruction" is a different process. If we imagine a person deconstructed -- which means, again, being broken down into the smallest bits of matter, however those are conceived -- well, isn't that death? Now we may imagine an interval of time, so small as to be nearly nothing, perhaps, but it could also be as large as you'd like. Then we imagine "reconstructing" that person. We are building a brain, building a body, according to a pattern. A mind emerges, and that mind/brain/body/person will experience himself -- which is to say, he will have a first person experience. But how do we suppose it will be the same person, the same FPE, as that of the first person who was deconstructed, i.e. died? Well, of course. Easily forgiven. As I'd said, I'm no stranger to the frustration of discussion/argument/debate, and I often struggle with dealing with it appropriately. I understand the difficulty and sympathize. Why wouldn't I? I mean, I get it. This board sometimes struggles with fostering earnest, good-faith discussion. There is too little civility, perhaps, and too little of the foundational respect that is necessary for productive conversation. This is why the people who truly care must work harder to try to lift ourselves up, even though it is difficult, in order to demonstrate what reasoned conversation ought to look like. We may not always agree about certain issues, but hopefully we can work in the first place to be able to discuss even our disagreements in reason and a kind of fellowship.
  11. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    It's a tangent, perhaps, but I don't know. Speaking very broadly, of course, very generally, and probably without the level of knowledge of physics you have, it seems to me that science has made some incredible strides. And what's the timeframe we're talking about? Science, such as we would recognize it, has been around for... 2500 years or so (minus a Dark Age or two)? On this basis we should conclude that matter transport as shown in something like Star Trek is impossible? Eh, maybe; perhaps there exist some true limits on what we can achieve, whether we have accurately identified them or not. But in my own lifetime (which is not itself all that great a span), I've seen some amazing advances. I can't imagine what another hundred years of science might produce, let alone another 2500 years, or hell, a million. Actually, if I was a betting man (and if I could live long enough to collect), I'd bet that manipulation of matter such as would allow for a Star Trek style replicator or transporter is on its way. We certainly seem to want it.
  12. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    At this point, SL, I consider my argument to stand revealed across the several posts I have written to make it. Yet I will endeavor here to put things into a form I am hopeful you will better appreciate: 1) If we presume that an object consists of some material in a given pattern, it should be possible to disassemble that object and reassemble it, and still have the same object. This is the foundation of transportation theory and I have no objection to it. 1a) The example I've given is a bed: Imagine I'm moving across town. I disassemble my IKEA bed at house one, pack it in the truck, and reassemble my IKEA bed at house two. Do I have the "same bed"? Of course I do. 1b) The physical changes which take place in the bed (as everything changes, over time) do not matter to this conversation; they are as metaphysically significant as waking from a nap (i.e. the person who wakes from a nap is the same person who went to sleep). This is key to understanding how this conversation is, itself, fundamentally different from the "ship of Theseus" it is sometimes confused with, or the kinds of criticisms attributed to Heraclitus. 1c) Though disassembly and reassembly of the bed is probably imagined initially as taking place on a traditionally "high" level (frame, box spring, mattress, backboard, etc.), I see no reason why it could not also be performed at a "lower" level -- given transporter technology (or similar), disassembly into smaller "pieces" or constituent elements and then reassembly. I do not take this as changing anything already agreed to. 1d) We can imagine using such constituent elements to construct several beds according to the same pattern. Are they all the "same" bed? No. They are all beds constructed from the same pattern; but every bed constructed in this fashion is unique, separate and distinct, whatever its origin. Locality and particularity (being comprised of one set of constituent elements versus another) are sufficient to be distinct existents; and IKEA beds made from the same model -- as already exist in their showrooms -- are all each themselves. 1e) I presume that there is nothing particular about one carbon atom versus another, with respect to the creation of a bed -- or anything else. Though every carbon atom has identity, they are interchangeable for the purpose of making or reassembling a bed. And there are interesting "ship of Theseus" style questions that could be raised, accordingly, but they are -- again -- not to the purpose of my argument. In the end, I do not care whether we regard a transported bed as "the same" as the bed it was, pre-transportation; it is enough for a bed that I can sleep on it. 2) There are ways in which human beings and beds are alike. A human being, too, consists of some material in a given pattern. If a bed can be disassembled and reassembled in some fashion, this should theoretically be possible with respect to a human as well. This is the foundation of how transporters are typically portrayed in Star Trek, and I have no objection to it. If a bed can be "beamed" from one site to another, I don't see why a person cannot be, as well. 2a) All of the features we associate with human beings are, in this sense, transportable; the "mind" or "consciousness," being what a brain does, or "emerging" from matter, or what-have-you, will accompany the physical stuff -- the material -- that is transported. 2b) Just as with the IKEA bed, there is nothing particular about one carbon atom versus another in the creation or recreation of a person. Though I have some set of carbon atoms in my body currently, these change over time and yet I remain myself; I could have a different set of carbon atoms and still be me. 2c) We may thus imagine the creation of several people according to a single pattern -- many Eiuol (or Eiuols) from an Eiuol-pattern. 2d) In the manner of the beds, would these Eiuols (or Eiuol) all be the "same"? No; they would be distinct entities with distinct identities. 3) There is a fundamental, metaphysical difference between a human being and a bed. Though everything that a human being is -- even that which we sometimes consider to be "immaterial" -- is material, or is emergent from material, or is "what material does," or etc., it is unique to a human being (or at least, perhaps, to conscious entities) to have a "first-person experience." Consciousness is different from other material phenomena in that it is experienced uniquely -- a conscious entity has a particular perspective. 3a) A transported human being will have a first-person experience, in the same manner as having mind, having consciousness. 3b) However, I argue that the multiple Eiuol/Eiuols would have distinct first-person experiences (just as they are distinct entities, or "individuals"). 3c) Thus, imagining three such Eiuols/Eiuol -- Eiuol-Alpha, Eiuol-Beta and Eiuol-Gamma -- should Eiuol-Beta be run over by a car, and killed, he is dead. He is not "still alive" for the sake of the existence of Eioul-Alpha or Eiuol-Gamma. 3d) If more Eiuol(s) were produced past that point, (Eiuol-Delta and so forth), Eioul-Beta would still be dead. Each of the new Eiuol-oi would have a different perspective; a different first-person experience. 3e) The first-person experience, the fact of perspective, does not "attach" to a given set of elements in a particular pattern. Because it is the fact of perspective, it cannot be replicated. By virtue of being different existents, multiple Eiuol-en would have different perspectives, different experiences of themselves and the world. They would be wholly different beings. 4) Thus, if we imagine a human being deconstructed and then reconstructed by a transporter, I see no reason why the very same perspective/first-person experiences that extinguishes upon deconstruction (i.e. "dies") should come back into being upon reconstruction. Rather, though there would be a perspective of necessity, a first-person experience, I would expect it to be as Eiuol-Beta to Eiuol-Alpha: a distinct entity; a person of the same material, and in the same pattern, but with a different perspective, a different awareness, a different experience of the universe. 4a) This is to say that when Eiuol-Alpha steps into a transporter, Eiuol-Beta (i.e. a being of the same material in the same pattern, but a different perspective, a different first-person experience) emerges. This is to say that when Eiuol-Alpha steps into a transporter, he dies. 4b) For the sake of better understanding this, we normally imagine transportation as proceeding from deconstruction to reconstruction. But we can imagine reversing this order: first building our new Eiuol (material in a pattern). At that point, when we have two Eiuol, Alpha and Beta, we understand that we have two distinct people. And then, when we "deconstruct" Eiuol-Alpha, we understand that we have not "transported" him (which is to say, that fundamental uniqueness of perspective, that first-person experience); we have instead killed him. 4c) And thus, Eiuol should not agree to be transported. ************** Eiuol and EC have both proposed (albeit with different criteria) that several individuals could share a consciousness, as a sort of "hive mind." I expect that we would thus diverge at around 2d -- that they would hold the Eiuol-tricies not as distinct entities, but vestiges of a single entity, as my left and right arm are to me. I have not yet fully assessed that argument, but on first blush I find it... unconvincing. I'll try to respond to your comments on emergence soon. And for the record, the plural of "DonAthos" is "DonsAthos."
  13. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    LOL, well... I won't contend that your solution "violates the law of identity," per se (though I imagine that SL, Plasmatic, et al., would gladly do), but "weird"? Is a bit of an understatement. You can grant me that much, at least, yes? Indeed I am. So... I'm trying to get a grasp on this. I know that EC suggested something similar, earlier, but (at the risk of confusing our sci-fi universes) I do not quite grok it. You're saying that several physically distinct entities, multiple Eiuols (or is the plural simply "Eiuol"), would share the same consciousness? On the basis of having the same physical components in the same pattern? I'll admit that I find that very difficult to imagine, much less to believe. You're positing a... hive mind, then? And if you were recreated in other fashions (like online, as we'd alluded to before), you would share a single consciousness between physical and virtual incarnations? And if you died today, but five thousand years from now, material was assembled into your particular configuration, you believe that you, yourself -- which is to say, your consciousness, your particular FPE -- would spring back into existence accordingly, as though you had just woken up from a nap? That is... hard for me to credit. (But I suppose it might allay some of Boydstun's fears about inevitable nuclear war; to our scattered bodies, go!) You have read my intentions exactly. And I will admit that I would initially suspect two people (for instance, Eiuol-Alpha, you; and Eiuol-Beta, the one I create in the garage) to be distinct persons; I find that easier to believe, at least, than the hive mind hypothesis. It seems to agree with my experience. It also appears to comport with Star Trek's treatment of a similar case with Will Riker and his one-time transporter duplicate, Thomas. Given Thomas Riker's existence (and divergence from Will Riker), at the very least, I think my case is made that use of the transporter (as shown on Star Trek) is fatal -- is it not? But in real life, I suppose we would still need to sort out this claim to a hive mind? Tell me, given that identical twins initially split from a common source, do they tell us anything about the subject? Granted, the separation is as early as can be, and there is no brain at that point (and therefore no mind), and yet... I don't know, Eiuol, would you give any credence to claims that identical twins have some sort of innate sense of one another? At the moment, your solution seems to me to verge on the mystical, but that's as far as I'm willing to go, for now. (How nice it would be to be wrong about this; I would love to believe that, at some indeterminate point past my "death," I might suddenly be summoned back to existence. Although, if it would make possible certain conceptions of heaven, then I suppose it might equally allow for hell.)
  14. I don't often run into mentions of This Perfect Day, but it is a neat book!
  15. DonAthos

    The Transporter Problem

    I have been endeavoring to provide it. Some topics are relatively straightforward, in my opinion, and some somewhat less so. There is plenty to discuss here, as I believe the thread stands testament, and it is in the discussing that I hope to help you to understand what I'm pointing at. This is, in part, why I ask for patience. All right. Here's a question in corollary: given transporter technology, which aims to "reintegrate" a person from constituent material according to some pattern, does the FPE come back into existence? Yes and no. This is what is so curious about the FPE and which makes these sorts of discussions rather tricky. We can infer the fact of the first person view of others', but we cannot observe it directly (meaning: not only the specific content of that view, but even that the view exists in the first place). This is why, for instance and with respect to "artificial intelligence," we fumble with things like the Turing Test -- it is an attempt to infer something that cannot, by its nature, be observed directly. So, I have a telescope. I know this for a fact, from my direct, first-hand experience of it. And I expect that every other human does, too, based on my observations (of behavior, of biology, etc.). I further expect, on this same basis, that someone who emerges from a transporter has a telescope. But -- is it the same telescope that the entity which first entered the transporter possessed? A difficult question to answer, given that none of us can see the telescope itself. And yet that's what my argument intends to show -- that it is not, in fact, the same telescope. If you follow along with my current conversation with Eiuol (and yes, I do rather expect thread participants to read the posts in the thread; or at least, I do not intend to retype the same arguments or information to the various participants), then I hope you will soon agree with me. Eiuol, I want to make sure you didn't miss it -- above I'd asked you a follow-up question about this stance (and to further clarify, you don't see this as different than being "completely frozen in a block of ice, then revived" OR waking up from a nap -- correct?): Given that what I need to "reassemble" Eiuol is a Eiuol-pattern and the requisite constituent elements, couldn't I then build a Eiuol without first deconstructing you?
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