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The Transporter Problem

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15 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

While I patiently wait for you to reveal your argument...

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."

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33 minutes ago, EC said:

I'm starting to wonder how far into the arbitrary this whole conversation is starting to go now. If I had to put a number on the possibility of even the original transporter technology ever becoming possible, it would only be 50/50 chance at best based on what I know of the laws of physics.

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.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

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."

I essentially agree with everything you have stated here.  You have been very careful.  (BTW I also find the hive mind idea ridiculous on its face and wholly without merit... any kind of psychological cooperation or communication, sharing of knowledge experience or anything,  between real and separate living persons would require supernatural or psychic or parapsychological phenomena, which simply is utter fantasy)

The point which I am focused upon is within 4), the details as to why you believe teleportation constitutes deconstruction which extinguishes FPE.  I do not think your focus is on the deconstruction of the brain as such, but focused on the something about the brain which gives rise to the emergent mind, and ensuring THAT is not sufficiently "deconstructed" so as to extinguish FPE.

A related question is whether FPE can extinguish and re-emerge...

What was your answer to the question of whether emergence can be discontinuous, whether upon extinguishing due to a "frozen" brain, could emergence ... "re-emerge" upon starting up the brain again?  If we could advance freezing technology such that a brain could literally be frozen without any damage to any of the structure or it future functioning, the only effect would be the cessation of any macroscopic motion or functioning... electrons would still be in their bound quantum states in their atoms, but there would be no transport of chemicals, no motion of molecules nor any changing electric fields etc.  By any stretch, such a freezing would extinguish a thinking processing emergent mind...  (here I assume that "freezing" a process or an action is for all intents and purposes the same as the absence of that processing or action.. i.e. it makes sense to state motion is extinguished upon stopping, motion is not only "paused" in such a case ... since "paused motion" is in fact not motion of any kind) is there any reason why "thawing" the person would not resurrect an FPE which you would still identify as you?

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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4 hours ago, DonAthos said:

**************

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.

First to be clear, I don't understand Eiuol's reasoning on possible mind-linking of an original person and a possible copy. Second, I only proposed my own version of this "hive mind" thing under the very specific circumstances of a "transporter copy" of a person being created without the original being destroyed in the process AND the "copy" being created using only particles that were fully entangled with every original particle. I only suggest this because this type of mind transfer from the original to the copy while both exist for some time period as the only way to avoid the death of the original person's FPE. I'm not certain such a thing could be done because of some rules involving quantum mechanics, such as the No Cloning rule, but it's at least as plausible as the whole teleportation idea anyway.

SL specifically said that any type of mind linking would involve the paranormal, or however he worded it, but that's absolutely not true as science already allows for rudimentary mind links or "hive minds", although not in the way I'm proposing for this specific purpose. https://bgr.com/2018/10/02/brainnet-tetris-game-experiment-study/

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1 hour ago, EC said:

SL specifically said that any type of mind linking would involve the paranormal, or however he worded it,

My statement about separate persons included (albeit only implicitly) the assumption that the people were not actually physically linked by communication apparatuses....

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12 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

My statement about separate persons included (albeit only implicitly) the assumption that the people were not actually physically linked by communication apparatuses....

Yeah, I understand. But it's trivial to see the specific technology I linked to becoming more compact and miniature, with an ever increasing bit rate, and wireless in the future as it develops. But that's a tangent to what I'm suggesting.

In the case of the original mind/FPE transfer via entanglement that I suggested the apparatus would be the tech that scans/entangles/beams the pattern, and the entanglement between the original person's brain's particles with that of the copy's brain's particles would be the means of transfer, instead of via electromagnetic waves or electrical signal. Small but still macroscopic objects have been put into entangled states recently, so I think it's at least plausible in the future that entire brains/minds could also. https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2018-04-26/quantum-physics-entanglement-shown-massive-objects-first-time/9687076

So if that can be done then the original and the copy's mind would be "linked". Would it be to the degree needed to prevent the "death" of the original's FPE? I can't know for certain one way or another, but intuitively I think it would.

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20 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I essentially agree with everything you have stated here.  You have been very careful.  (BTW I also find the hive mind idea ridiculous on its face and wholly without merit... any kind of psychological cooperation or communication, sharing of knowledge experience or anything,  between real and separate living persons would require supernatural or psychic or parapsychological phenomena, which simply is utter fantasy)

The point which I am focused upon is within 4), the details as to why you believe teleportation constitutes deconstruction which extinguishes FPE.  I do not think your focus is on the deconstruction of the brain as such, but focused on the something about the brain which gives rise to the emergent mind, and ensuring THAT is not sufficiently "deconstructed" so as to extinguish FPE.

A related question is whether FPE can extinguish and re-emerge...

What was your answer to the question of whether emergence can be discontinuous, whether upon extinguishing due to a "frozen" brain, could emergence ... "re-emerge" upon starting up the brain again?  If we could advance freezing technology such that a brain could literally be frozen without any damage to any of the structure or it future functioning, the only effect would be the cessation of any macroscopic motion or functioning... electrons would still be in their bound quantum states in their atoms, but there would be no transport of chemicals, no motion of molecules nor any changing electric fields etc.  By any stretch, such a freezing would extinguish a thinking processing emergent mind...  (here I assume that "freezing" a process or an action is for all intents and purposes the same as the absence of that processing or action.. i.e. it makes sense to state motion is extinguished upon stopping, motion is not only "paused" in such a case ... since "paused motion" is in fact not motion of any kind) is there any reason why "thawing" the person would not resurrect an FPE which you would still identify as you?

I’m not throwing examples and hypotheticals around at whim.  I think we generally agree about what we would do or refuse to do in pursuit of transportation.   What I am trying to get at are the reasons why one “process” or another is a threat to FPE and the emergent entity we identify our mental selves with.  I am not putting these forth to be difficult or because I think these considerations are irrelevant.  I put forth the considerations because I believe they are relevant no matter how difficult.

I apologize for the palpable frustration earlier, but be assured I am in earnest (even taking strong emergence as granted for purposes of discussion...) and sincerely want to know what you think i.e. the reasons for your conclusions.

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@Eiuol you wrote

"I think you're asking in the second question what would happen if I use a transporter that assembled another version of me at the other end of the transporter, while my current self stayed put. In a sense, that would only be one of me still. But this is where it would get weird. I would describe this as a "branched" version of me. It would be like having a parallel mind. I don't think in principle a mind must only have 1 first-person experience. Why not 5 distinct first-person experiences? Part for part, they are distinct, but they are still all me. "

And you also wrote

"I know my solution is very weird, but I don't think that violates the law of identity."

This is where the law of identity is either misunderstood OR it is not being as clear as it should be.  For EVERY existent that exists, there is a "this one and not that one" aspect of its existence that sets it apart from all other existents. 

This would be better understood if we consider lets say 5 fundamental constituents of reality and lets assume that they are all EXACT PERFECT copies of each other.  They can be particles or atoms or "waves" or whatever fundamental "something" that cannot be destroyed or "reconstituted."  Regardless of what these fundamental constituents may be, they would have an identity in accordance with the law of identity that we have validated through observation in everyday life.  These 5 fundamental constituents are FOREVER (in ALL of the past and ALL of the future SEPARATE from one another no matter what may be done to them, keeping in mind that they cannot be destroyed and "reconstituted" because they are fundamental constituents).  

If a fundamental constituent was capable of having First Person Experiences, its first person experiences would be the first person experience of that particular fundamental constituent.

In other words its cognition might go something like this,

"I am a fundamental constituent that looks a certain way, thinks a certain way, and I see 4 OTHER fundamental constituents that are NOT ME but they look exactly like me and it looks like they think exactly like me.  It looks like we are copies of each other."

And macroscopic entities are just the integration of these fundamental constituents.  If fundamental constituents 1 and 2 integrated to create a higher level entity, that higher level entity would be metaphysically inseparable from fundamental constituents 1 and 2 but it would be SEPARATE from whatever fundamental constituents 3, 4, and 5 could integrate to become.

If the higher level entity made up of fundamental constituents 1 and 2 would have a first-person experience, that first person experience would be created by fundamental constituents 1 and 2 having a first person experience as the ONE higher-level entity that they have integrated THEMSELVES TO BE.  The "branched" version of you that you mentioned is made up of separate entities that are NOT THE ENTITIES that constitute the real one and only you.  They are as SEPARATE from you as fundamental constituents 3, 4, and 5 are from 1 and 2.  They are not you.

 

 

Edited by ReasonFirst

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15 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

This would be better understood if we consider lets say 5 fundamental constituents of reality

That's the problem right there. I'm not treating consciousness as a constituent, fundamental or otherwise. I am treating it as irreducible, but I'm not also treating it as a fundamental "thing". That is, it isn't made out of parts to take apart and reassemble. Rather, consciousness and the mind is all or nothing. 

As I said earlier, the mind is a process. That's why it can go out of existence then return to existence. I described earlier that some things can go out of existence then return. I'd agree with you if consciousness or the mind were a type of particle, or fundamental constituent of reality.

My whole point is that if a mind is continuous in all the ways I mentioned, that is the same "you". The mind is not an entity anyway, at least not by Objectivist standards. An entity would be some sort of physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level.

I need to flesh it out more, but I don't mean a sort of hive mind (as if one mind can control the other). I use the word parallel to be something like parallel processing in a computer, where the processes are completely distinct in the sense of different flows of information, but they still originate and come from the same thing. Those processes don't necessarily need to be connected any point back into a single process. Distinct future histories. Like the TV show Counterpart. 

This is the same issue for DA'x point 2d. To be sure, there are distinct physical entities, but this doesn't necessarily mean those other entities don't embody "me". Whatever first-person experience there is, it is the experience of me. It is the same me that I know, the same me that you know, and the same me that my friends know. Even if my body is obliterated, my mind is not. This is not a mind-body dichotomy since I'm not proposing that the mind is ever disembodied.

Another issue is 3b. We can certainly call two first-person experiences distinct, but it doesn't follow that more than one experience means more than one person. Your first-person awareness before a coma is distinct from after. Your first-person awareness before sleeping is distinct from after you wake up. There is a gap in time where you lose awareness completely. They are separate first-person experiences. 

And for clarity, 3e. I agree that first-person perspective isn't "attached" to specific patterns. The pattern of "me" includes first-person perspective as an attribute. It is not a re-attachable item. But we should recognize that our first-person perspectives aren't continuous like a movie. There are huge gaps in time where we have no first-person experience. First-person perspectives start and stop. All that happens is the state of my consciousness pattern changes, such that sometimes first-person perspective is off, other times it's on. Further, the state of consciousness sometimes changes so much that it completely halts. Not just a "dimming" of consciousness.

Edited by Eiuol

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@Eiuol you wrote,

"That's the problem right there. I'm not treating consciousness as a constituent, fundamental or otherwise. I am treating it as irreducible, but I'm not also treating it as a fundamental "thing". That is, it isn't made out of parts to take apart and reassemble. Rather, consciousness and the mind is all or nothing. 

As I said earlier, the mind is a process. That's why it can go out of existence then return to existence. I described earlier that some things can go out of existence then return. I'd agree with you if consciousness or the mind were a type of particle, or fundamental constituent of reality.

My whole point is that if a mind is continuous in all the ways I mentioned, that is the same "you". The mind is not an entity anyway, at least not by Objectivist standards. An entity would be some sort of physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level."

Ok, first I want to make sure that we are both thinking of the same definition of the word "fundamental."  I would say that the word "fundamental" is synonymous with "irreducible."  There are existents that can be broken down into simpler existents.  Those existents are not fundamental.  Those existents are not irreducible.  If they are broken down, the simpler pieces that you can observe after the breakdown may or may not be "fundamental" or "irreducible."  However, if you keep on progressively breaking something down into simpler and simpler constituents, EVENTUALLY you will get to a purely "fundamental" or "irreducible" constituent that cannot be broken down further.  These fundamental constituents, whatever they may be, whether they are atoms, particles, waves, whatever, are irreducible primaries that cannot be destroyed and recreated and will always be separate from one another.

I agree with you that the mind is not a "thing" and at this point I also want to make sure that we can distinguish between "consciousness" and the "mind."  I am treating consciousness as a state of awareness that we can achieve only by having a mind.  Consciousness is not an entity, it is a state of awareness.  And the mind is a faculty for perceiving that which exists and I agree with you that is a process.

But "awareness" and "process" are meaningless terms if we don't specify WHAT is BEING AWARE and WHAT is UNDERGOING THE PROCESS.  Ultimately, both "awareness" and "process" are metaphysically based on what is being aware and what is undergoing a process. 

So what is being aware and what is undergoing a process?  Well, the answer to this question first comes from you.  It involves your self-identification.  When you started existing, you went through the process of first identifying existents which are not you.  You identified entities and then at some point you grasped that they each possess an identity.  If you have ever seen two entities which are perfect copies of each other you can hold one in one hand and hold the other in another hand and you can grasp that entities, even if they are perfect copies of each other, are not one entity.  You can destroy one and the other still exists.  You can damage one and the other entity exists unharmed.  So you used your mind to gain an awareness of the external world first and then as you got older your awareness ascended into a higher-level self awareness, which you achieved by using your mind to identify WHAT YOU ARE.

And by using my perception and proprioception, what I have identified myself to be is entity, a "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level" as you put it.  But of course, not just any "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level."  A "physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level" that CONTINUOUSLY undergoes self-generated, self-sustained ACTION.  That ACTION is the foundation of your mind and subsequent state of awareness (consciousness) and the foundation of that ACTION is the ENTITY that is doing the ACTION, not SOME OTHER entity away from the entity that is doing the action.  YOUR "mind" and consequently YOUR states of awareness (consciousness) are metaphysically grounded in the entities (your functioning organs) which you are made up of (which I have stated above are separate from all the other entities that exist in the universe when broken down enough).  And if you are like me, whatever continuity of your mind exists ONLY EXISTS across the entities (your functioning organs) that are constituting you as one whole integrated macroscopic entity.  That continuity DOES NOT and CANNOT extend beyond the entity that it is metaphysically grounded in, which is ultimately SEPARATE from all other fundamental constituents in the universe.

Edited by ReasonFirst

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21 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

That continuity DOES NOT and CANNOT extend beyond the entity that it is metaphysically grounded in, which is ultimately SEPARATE from all other fundamental constituents in the universe.

All you argued here is that a mind can't be disembodied. I don't disagree. This doesn't say how a conscious mind can or cannot be transferred to another entity. 

If you want to define "you" as also the physical body you have, that doesn't make sense to me. As long as there is a body it doesn't matter. The question is if you have a psychological death, not just a biological death. It isn't enough to say "the light went out". Another way to phrase the question: if you die biologically, does this mean you always die psychologically? 

You're right that consciousness is a state, but I was using the term in the sense of a capacity or faculty. I'll be more precise about it.

Also, it is very distracting when you use caps. Use italics instead.

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@Eiuol

I apologize for using distracting text. 

You wrote,

"All you argued here is that a mind can't be disembodied. I don't disagree. This doesn't say how a conscious mind can or cannot be transferred to another entity."

I would say that it does because by virtue of the mind being (at a basic level) a process that is done by a particular entity, that makes it inseparable from that particular entity and makes it a particular mind.  It is not a process done by another entity, it is a process done by "this and not that" entity in accordance with the law of identity (whatever the thing is, dog, cat, elephant, human, whatever).  And this is where the word "transferred" is inappropriate.  That word "transfer" implies movement from one place to another, which is a concept applicable only to entities, which the mind is not, as you and I agree on.

You also wrote,

"If you want to define "you" as also the physical body you have, that doesn't make sense to me. As long as there is a body it doesn't matter. The question is if you have a psychological death, not just a biological death. It isn't enough to say "the light went out". Another way to phrase the question: if you die biologically, does this mean you always die psychologically?"

Well I would say yes you do die psychologically if you die biologically.  Because your psychology is ultimately based on your biology.  If the required foundation stops existing, then anything that follows from it can't exist either. It would be like saying that a treehouse can exist without a tree.  And I meant to define "you" as a physical body that continuously undergoes essential physical processes.  That latter portion of the definition "that continuously undergoes essential physical processes" is an essential part of the definition.

Furthermore, I would be careful about making claims that a FPE before a coma is distinct from after a coma and that a consciousness "completely halts" and comes back.  Doctors say that "someone who is in a coma is unconscious and will not respond to voices, other sounds, or any sort of activity going on nearby.  The person is still alive, but the brain is functioning at its lowest stage of alertness."  That part, the "lowest stage of alertness" part is an indication that even in a coma your consciousness is still operative at a basic level.  And a much stronger argument can be made for going to sleep and waking up, your consciousness is still there, it is only its strength that has changed.  Even bacteria that is supposedly "frozen" and then "brought back to life" has never died.  There are organisms on this world that have metabolisms that can continue to function in what is called "cryobiostasis."  Their identities allow their organs to function at such a minimal level that we call "frozen" but they are not truly frozen or static like what you might think.

 

Edited by ReasonFirst

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44 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

It is not a process done by another entity, it is a process done by "this and not that" entity in accordance with the law of identity

That's an argument if your mind can be embodied in something other than a human body. I think that's a different argument. Clearly, you can't be conscious if the body you end up with can't enact all the things that make for consciousness and your mind. So, again, all you said is that the mind has to be embodied. 

45 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

Doctors say that "someone who is in a coma is unconscious and will not respond to voices, other sounds, or any sort of activity going on nearby.  The person is still alive, but the brain is functioning at its lowest stage of alertness." 

That's why I mentioned earlier about if there needs to be some strand of consciousness leftover. I don't think coma is my best example either. But the more important point is that there are times when your mind goes off. First-person experience goes off, awareness goes off. In the times when your mind is still on, but in terms of minimal awareness, I don't think there's any meaningful way to say it is "you". Your thoughts, your values, your beliefs. So to tweak the coma example, you are temporarily psychologically dead. 

The thing to keep in mind is that continuity of beliefs, thoughts, and awareness, is what makes you an individual (and feeling that continuity from within). 

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On 11/21/2018 at 4:17 PM, StrictlyLogical said:

...let’s assume for discussion that FPE is emergent in the way you believe.

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.

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Emergence occurs only in the context of natural constituents giving rise to it.

All right.

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One kind of emergence might occur with respect to a first thing while a second kind of emergence occurs with respect to some second thing but some third thing might not exhibit any kind of emergence.  Clearly there is something different about the first, second, and third thing which forms the different conditions for the different emergences.  In some cases the structure or arrangement or relationships between constituents in the thing is that something different, in other types of emergence it may be the interactions or dynamic processes ... whatever the case emergence emerges in virtue of the identity of that which forms the basis of that emergence.

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?

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There is something about the identity of the brain which gives rise to mind and to consciousness.  There is no doubt that the identity of the emergence is caused by the identity of that which is the source from which it emerges... and more particularly that something about it which matters and is operative to cause the emergence.

Absolutely.

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One question that comes to mind is, in what ways could the identity of the brain be manipulated without affecting the emergent mind.  This depends upon that something of the thing (brain) which causes emergence ... the particular how and why the mind arises.  Any fiddling with that particular something or somehow meddles with that particular emergence... other changes might in fact have no effect.

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.

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also for purposes of discussion let us assume emergence is very sensitive, so that minor disturbances to that something about the brain which gives rise to the emergence affect that emergence greatly and possibly threaten it ( as opposed to a robust one which would only be greatly affected by major disturbances).  An analogy in the abstract might be a pyramid of glasses.

If we were a bit more primitive or naive we might think mind emerges from music of geometry of our head or brain matter similar to the music of the spheres ... our head constituents singing in the cosmos might be assumed to be mind.  Then shape and vibration might be very important to consider.

A transporter is nothing special then when it comes to the need to protect the FPE. IF subtle shapes and vibration in the mind are key one should be wary of excessively loud forms of transportation or extreme vibration.

Similar considerations would apply if we found that emergence depended on ambient pressure or altitude in the gravitational field or perhaps was simply limited in the amount of acceleration which could be applied to the brain.  Accelerate too quickly and our pyramid of glasses comes crashing down.

Here transportation involving air flight might be something to avoid.

Of course you might be thinking but we know that the special something about the. brain which gives rise to emergence of mind are not such that small pressure vibration or compression changes to the brain threaten emergence... 

My point only is that how the relationship between that special something and the resulting emergence are affected by the proposed mode or procedure of transport IS what is crucially important.

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.

On 11/22/2018 at 10:21 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

I essentially agree with everything you have stated here.  You have been very careful.

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. :P

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(BTW I also find the hive mind idea ridiculous on its face and wholly without merit... any kind of psychological cooperation or communication, sharing of knowledge experience or anything,  between real and separate living persons would require supernatural or psychic or parapsychological phenomena, which simply is utter fantasy)

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.

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The point which I am focused upon is within 4), the details as to why you believe teleportation constitutes deconstruction which extinguishes FPE.

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.

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I do not think your focus is on the deconstruction of the brain as such, but focused on the something about the brain which gives rise to the emergent mind, and ensuring THAT is not sufficiently "deconstructed" so as to extinguish FPE.

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).

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A related question is whether FPE can extinguish and re-emerge...

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?

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What was your answer to the question of whether emergence can be discontinuous, whether upon extinguishing due to a "frozen" brain, could emergence ... "re-emerge" upon starting up the brain again?  If we could advance freezing technology such that a brain could literally be frozen without any damage to any of the structure or it future functioning, the only effect would be the cessation of any macroscopic motion or functioning... electrons would still be in their bound quantum states in their atoms, but there would be no transport of chemicals, no motion of molecules nor any changing electric fields etc.  By any stretch, such a freezing would extinguish a thinking processing emergent mind...  (here I assume that "freezing" a process or an action is for all intents and purposes the same as the absence of that processing or action.. i.e. it makes sense to state motion is extinguished upon stopping, motion is not only "paused" in such a case ... since "paused motion" is in fact not motion of any kind) is there any reason why "thawing" the person would not resurrect an FPE which you would still identify as you?

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.)

On 11/23/2018 at 6:50 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

I’m not throwing examples and hypotheticals around at whim.

Have I suggested or done anything to convey the contrary impression?

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What I am trying to get at are the reasons why one “process” or another is a threat to FPE and the emergent entity we identify our mental selves with.

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?

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I am not putting these forth to be difficult or because I think these considerations are irrelevant.  I put forth the considerations because I believe they are relevant no matter how difficult.

Well, of course.

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I apologize for the palpable frustration earlier...

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.

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but be assured I am in earnest...

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.

Edited by DonAthos

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@Eiuol

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That's an argument if your mind can be embodied in something other than a human body. I think that's a different argument. Clearly, you can't be conscious if the body you end up with can't enact all the things that make for consciousness and your mind. So, again, all you said is that the mind has to be embodied. 

No, I would say the same thing about identical twins and two separate human beings even if they were perfect copies of each other.  One reduces down to fundamental constituents that are separate from all other existents and the other reduces down to other fundamental constituents that are separate from all other existents, in accordance with what I have stated before.  They each perform their own actions that are metaphysically inseparable from them, i.e. they each have their own inseparable mind.

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That's why I mentioned earlier about if there needs to be some strand of consciousness leftover. I don't think coma is my best example either. But the more important point is that there are times when your mind goes off. First-person experience goes off, awareness goes off. In the times when your mind is still on, but in terms of minimal awareness, I don't think there's any meaningful way to say it is "you". Your thoughts, your values, your beliefs. So to tweak the coma example, you are temporarily psychologically dead. 

The thing to keep in mind is that continuity of beliefs, thoughts, and awareness, is what makes you an individual (and feeling that continuity from within). 

There is a meaningful way to say that it is "you."  A low-level continuation of the essential processes your body must go through is still in existence, and that's why you still do exist, as long as those are occurring.  So even if you are "psychologically dead" as you mention, the required foundation (your biology) is still operative, so you're still alive.  You may not be self-aware, I'll grant you that. Your higher level functions (beliefs, thoughts, awareness) might not be happening but your low-level functions (which are complementary to your higher-level functions and are also a part of what makes you an individual) are still working, so you still exist.

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9 hours ago, DonAthos said:

"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?

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.

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10 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

No, I would say the same thing about identical twins and two separate human beings even if they were perfect copies of each other. 

How are twins an example of anything? By all the things I said about how to identify if someone is the same person, twins fail all those tests. I don't need to talk about fundamental constituents in order to demonstrate that. Actually, all the content of your argument is about how a mind must embodied. From there go to essentially "different bodies, therefore different minds". 

I think part of the problem is you insist on the mind as a fundamental constituent. If you want to argue for panpsychism, fine, but you should be clearer about that. After all, you describe the fundamental constituent as something like waves, or atoms, or particles, or something. At first I thought you were talking about how actions and processes are accomplished by physical things, but now I think you are re-ifying actions as if they are also "things". When I said irreducible, I was thinking of actions and processes that can't be broken down into sub actions and sub processes. When you say irreducible, it sounds like you mean there is something remaining when you physically pull everything apart. In other words, your point seems to be that "you" is a fundamental, material soul. Or if it is not material, you are supposing there is a way to pinpoint where consciousness occurs.

A bigger problem that hasn't really been addressed much by anyone is what makes "you"? When I say "me", what is the referent? You could say "my mind and body", but this doesn't help with regards how to expand or grow. Your body is not always in a state to support "you", which includes higher level of functioning. Without higher level functioning, the person you identify as yourself is no longer there. You can normally identify yourself by recognizing your values and beliefs, even your belief that you are yourself. Although your essential biological processes might continue, your essential psychological processes that makes you an individual stop during a coma. If your biological processes also stop, as in the transporter case, your psychological processes stop just as much as when you are in a coma. So if you can recover from a coma, or loss of consciousness, or sleeping - states of mind where "you" aren't there at all - you can certainly recover from biological death.

But if you want to be clearer about your position, you need to better define what "you" is.

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@Eiuol

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I think part of the problem is you insist on the mind as a fundamental constituent. If you want to argue for panpsychism, fine, but you should be clearer about that. After all, you describe the fundamental constituent as something like waves, or atoms, or particles, or something. At first I thought you were talking about how actions and processes are accomplished by physical things, but now I think you are re-ifying actions as if they are also "things".

I am not arguing for panpsychism.  I am not insisting that the mind is a fundamental constituent.  I have stated before that it is not an entity and not a thing.  When I was describing fundamental constituents, I meant fundamental constituents that constitute the body, i.e microscopic entities that cannot be broken down into sub-parts and that are separate from all other existents in the universe.  The integrated macroscopic interactions (actions) of those fundamental constituents correspond to the mind.  And that doesn't imply that actions are reified as "things."  It just means a particular macroscopic entity is doing those actions.  

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When I said irreducible, I was thinking of actions and processes that can't be broken down into sub actions and sub processes. When you say irreducible, it sounds like you mean there is something remaining when you physically pull everything apart. In other words, your point seems to be that "you" is a fundamental, material soul. Or if it is not material, you are supposing there is a way to pinpoint where consciousness occurs.

That "there is something remaining when you physically pull everything apart" is not what I meant.  There isn't.  My point is not that ""you" is a fundamental, material soul."  It's not.

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Your body is not always in a state to support "you", which includes higher level of functioning. Without higher level functioning, the person you identify as yourself is no longer there. You can normally identify yourself by recognizing your values and beliefs, even your belief that you are yourself. Although your essential biological processes might continue, your essential psychological processes that makes you an individual stop during a coma.

Your body is always in a state to support "you" as long as you are biologically functioning, which doesn't have to include higher level of functioning.  When I say "higher level," all that I meant by that was a healthy and intensified version of the biological processes that are happening in a person who is in a coma, for example.  What you call the "psychological processes" are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity.  That's why I stated before that it's really the biological processes that must exist in order for "you" to exist.  And they still do exist for a person in a coma, they're just severely impaired but they are still happening, and that is why you would still exist if you would be in a coma and that is also why you have a chance of recovering while you are in a coma.  When those biological processes cease to exist, then you would really stop existing and you would never be able to come back.  And you wouldn't be anywhere else (heaven or hell) because like I stated before, "you" are not a material soul.  You just wouldn't exist anymore.

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So if you can recover from a coma, or loss of consciousness, or sleeping - states of mind where "you" aren't there at all - you can certainly recover from biological death.

But if you want to be clearer about your position, you need to better define what "you" is.

But "you" are there when you are in a coma or when you sleep because in all of those cases your biology is  still functional.  And I define "you" as an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action.  The "self-generated, self-sustained action" is your biological processes.  The actions are not entities or things.  A particular entity is doing the action.  If those self-generated, self-sustained actions should stop (no mind) or if your body is blown up let's say (no body and no mind), "you" won't exist anymore.  And those self-generated, self-sustained actions are being done by your body while "you" are in a coma or sleeping and while you are awake.  But those actions are not being done by your body when "you" are dead and no longer in existence. That's my position.

 

Edited by ReasonFirst

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On ‎11‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 1:13 AM, DonAthos said:

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. :P

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.

We are in substantial agreement about discontinuity of a person and death upon a certain kind of deconstruction.  We also agree on reconstruction being crucial to the issue.  If I daresay, perhaps the meaning and permanence of "death" itself...

 

I'm still trying to draw my line... 

I keep being brought back to the idea that a mind is a pattern, like a wave, and that in some ways it is independent from which particular parts (those which are interchangeable) of its "substrate" give rise to it... a wave pattern on the water has no concern which molecules of water are participating , requiring only that there are water molecules, the wave pattern can move from area to area using "different water" but maintaining its presence.

So in what sense does "not changing" in the ways that "rally matter" trump the actual metaphysical changes to the constituents that give rise to emergence?  Does that sense require a sort of continuity in the emergent stuff, to justify an acceptance of the other changes to the constituents?

 

I also am reminded by the fact that I literally am not the same materially and even mentally, as the person I was 25 years ago... this is natural, we change, we grow, we are always in the process of becoming.  Metaphysically, in what sense am I the "same" person and in what sense has that younger person "died"... his life having gone out from existence.. and I now only remaining in his place?  How much of my FPE has changed?  Is a different FPE metaphysically the same FPE as long as there is continuity? I'm not conflating here the epistemological issue of conceptually identifying a changing thing with metaphysics, we CAN stand in the same river twice, but comparing the metaphysical significance of a thing such as FPE having gone through changes ... perhaps profound ones, with an FPE which has not changed.

So in what sense does changing in fundamental ways nevertheless not matter, when considering continuity of an FPE?

 

With the issue of freezing, you identify it as fundamentally sleeping and hence there are no issues with the temporary extinguishment of FPE as such... but is not the frozen person "dead"?  Without begging the question and defining "death" simply as "that from which one may never be revived", what in PRINCIPLE is it about the cessation of the processes of life which we presume is different from cessation of any other process?  Is it not true that our technological prowess is so primitive that we simply cannot "fix" a broken living system which has undergone irreparable damage?  Is it not true that our tinkering simply actually "breaks" a living system when we try to "pause it" or "dismantle it"?  Without invoking any mystical element to the natural world, is there any reason to suspect that we could not MASTER nature to the point that we could completely stop a living being temporarily ... or disassemble and reassemble it...  causing in fact a temporary death (no process of life in action) without causing any irreparable damage.  In such a world would not reanimation then be a form of resurrection?  Not as an inexplicable fantasy but as just another particular scientific reality?

My point, is that there is a near mystical aura surrounding the concept of death and when we "invoke" it, which needs to be kept in mind when speaking of objective reality.

 

Back to the dead frozen person temporarily not exhibiting the FPE, who is fundamentally "sleeping":

What if we partially deconstructed the dead frozen person.. taking a single natural constituent out and putting it back... but doing this for all of the natural constituents of the person?  Would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

What if we partially deconstructed the dead frozen person.. taking half of the natural constituents out and after some time putting them all back... and then doing the same thing for the other half of natural constituents?  Would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

 

What if we fully deconstructed the dead frozen person...  taking each of the natural constituents one at a time...    would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

What if we transported the natural constituents piece by piece while dead frozen?

What if we reassembled them "exactly" using the exact same natural constituents of the person, each of which only underwent motion?

What if we then thawed the now reassembled dead frozen person?  Would they not wake up with the same FPE?

 

I'm not saying I have the answers... but these are some of the questions....

 

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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56 minutes ago, StrictlyLogical said:

So in what sense does changing in fundamental ways nevertheless not matter, when considering continuity of an FPE? 

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

Edited by Devil's Advocate
additional clarification

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14 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

I am not insisting that the mind is a fundamental constituent. 

Then why were you talking about this?

"These 5 fundamental constituents are FOREVER (in ALL of the past and ALL of the future SEPARATE from one another no matter what may be done to them, keeping in mind that they cannot be destroyed and "reconstituted" because they are fundamental constituents). "

Was it an argument by analogy? If so, it doesn't really work, because we aren't talking about physical things. If you want to talk about actions, as long as we acknowledge an entity is performing actions, we can't talk about reconstitution or destruction. Actions happen, they aren't made or destroyed. Your analogy only helps if we focus only on if two entities are identical. If this isn't and what you mean, I'm not sure what your point was.

14 hours ago, ReasonFirst said:

When those biological processes cease to exist, then you would really stop existing and you would never be able to come back. 

You would cease to exist, but why can't you come back if technology is advanced enough to re-embody your consciousness? The best way I can explain why you can't come back is if consciousness and the mind is reducible. Which you sort of said - psychological processes are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity. It's like saying thoughts are just healthy processes created by neurons of a certain intensity. So of course your specific body would be "you", because consciousness would just be a level of intensity from the body. Yet in another thread you were talking about how intensity and complexity is a problem if that's all the definition is.

But I'm not overly concerned about the specific body. I'm more concerned if your personality and values are being enacted; I'm concerned about the process, not the specific material parts accomplishing the process. And since it is a process, it can start and stop. The only question is if this process can restart if it stops.

I'm not even trying to make a complex argument. I like whaat Devils Advocate said: "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?" If it acts like you, if it thinks like you, if it looks like you, has memories that are yours, and it thinks you're you, then it's you.

If it walks like a duck...

For what it's worth, SL's recent post makes clear the perspective I'm coming from. I don't disagree with any of it, but I'm offering my answer to the questions posed.
 

Edited by Eiuol

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@Eiuol

Quote

Was it an argument by analogy? If so, it doesn't really work, because we aren't talking about physical things. If you want to talk about actions, as long as we acknowledge an entity is performing actions, we can't talk about reconstitution or destruction. Actions happen, they aren't made or destroyed. Your analogy only helps if we focus only on if two entities are identical. If this isn't and what you mean, I'm not sure what your point was.

My point about the statement that you quoted was that the body of an entity is ultimately made out of fundamental constituents (whatever they may be) that cannot be broken down and that are separate from all other existents in the universe.  The integrated actions performed by those fundamental constituents or macroscopically that specific body corresponds to a particular individual's mind.  It was meant to refute your claim that a "branched" version of "you" would exist if someone used the transporter on you but without deconstructing you.  I am saying that that "branched" version of "you" you mentioned would be another entity, made out of separate fundamental constituents that may or may not be doing the same actions as the original fundamental constituents that comprise the real one and only "you."  Because it would be a separate entity made out of separate fundamental constituents even if they are doing the same actions as the real one and only "you," it would not be you. 

And by the way, that would also serve as evidence for why the individual who gets constructed and exits the transporter is not the individual who was deconstructed after he entered the transporter.  The entity who exits the transporter is made out of separate fundamental constituents that happen to be doing the same actions as the entity who entered.  The actions may be the same, but the fundamental constituents doing the actions are separate from the original fundamental constituents that are who-knows-where.  Remember, when the transporter deconstructs the individual who enters, what it does is pull the individual's body apart into fundamental pieces (rendering them unable to function to generate/sustain a mind).  But what happens to those fundamental constituents after separate ones are used to construct the body of the individual who exits?  They certainly have not been destroyed because they cannot be destroyed.  They are the fundamental constituents that comprised the body of the individual who entered the transporter and they are in disarray located at the transporter's entrance.  Those are the fundamental constituents you would have to use to reconstruct the macroscopic body of the individual who entered the transporter if you want to claim that that individual was brought back into existence.

Quote

You would cease to exist, but why can't you come back if technology is advanced enough to re-embody your consciousness? The best way I can explain why you can't come back is if consciousness and the mind is reducible. Which you sort of said - psychological processes are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity. It's like saying thoughts are just healthy processes created by neurons of a certain intensity. So of course your specific body would be "you", because consciousness would just be a level of intensity from the body. Yet in another thread you were talking about how intensity and complexity is a problem if that's all the definition is.

Because "you" are not "your consciousness."  "You" are an entity that undergoes continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action.  Your consciousness is a state of awareness you can achieve by undergoing that continuous, self-generated, self-sustained action.  You can differentiate yourself from all other existents by identifying yourself as your definition of what an entity is, "some sort of physically bounded object, usually on the perceptual level."  But of course, not just any object, an object or entity that continuously undergoes self-generated, self-sustained action.  So your specific body would not be "you," your specific body which continuously undergoes self-generated, self-sustained action would be "you."  Not some other body exiting the transporter that continuously undergoes its own continuous self-generated, self-sustained action.  And yes I had a problem with intensity and complexity being "all the definition is," as you put it.  Keyword "all."  I was interested more in what specific actions are done to generate/sustain consciousness not just the complexity and intensity, but I think the answer to what I was interested in is a more scientific issue, that's all.  I have no problem with consciousness having complex and intense characteristics as long as that is not everything that is necessary.

Quote

But I'm not overly concerned about the specific body. I'm more concerned if your personality and values are being enacted; I'm concerned about the process, not the specific material parts accomplishing the process. And since it is a process, it can start and stop. The only question is if this process can restart if it stops.

Why are you not concerned about the specific body?  I am arguing that you should be if you are claiming that the individual who exited the transporter IS the individual who entered.  The "specific material parts accomplishing the process" constitute one individual's body.  Other "specific material parts accomplishing the process" constitute another individual's body.  If you are claiming that the individual exiting the transporter is the individual who entered, then you are in effect claiming that the body and mind exiting the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action exiting the transporter) IS the body and mind that entered the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action that entered the transporter).  And I am arguing that it is not.  That is why it is not the only question whether this process can restart if it stops (it is a question but not the only question).  Let us assume that it can restart.  As I have been arguing, if you successfully construct another entity that is separate from an individual (meaning an entity whose body is ultimately comprised of fundamental constituents which are separate from an the body of the individual in question) and that other entity's body is undergoing the same continuous self-generated, self-sustained action, then, despite the other entity undergoing the same continuous self-generated, self-sustained action, that other entity is not the individual in question.  You have not "restarted" that process, you have started that process on another entity.

You mentioned being in agreement about what SL stated.  It is my understanding that SL, Don Athos, and me are arguing that the individual who gets reconstructed is not the individual who got destroyed.  I think we might have our own different reasons for why we are arguing what we are arguing.  I don't want to speak for Don Athos and SL too much.  You and Devil's Advocate are arguing that it is the individual who got destroyed and he comes back into existence.  Correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

Edited by ReasonFirst

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32 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

The integrated actions performed by those fundamental constituents or macroscopically that specific body corresponds to a particular individual's mind.

But that's just it, the mind and thinking are not made up of fundamental constituents (if we assume that the mind is irreducible). You have been characterizing the mind as a biological consequence, if you want to define "you" as only a particular body. I don't see why I should define "you" that way. Of course you partially consist of an entity that undergoes continuous, self generated action - except that can occur in any kind of body. That definition doesn't help me, if anything it reaffirms 1) the mind must be embodied, and 2) selfhood is qualitatively continuous (even if quantitatively we can measure durations where you lack any consciousness). You've argued for also continuity of body, fine, I just don't see a clear demonstration that this matters. 

If a continuous body is necessary, it seems to me you would need to categorize prosthetic limbs as not part of the person using them. Or as I mentioned earlier, if we created a prosthetic hippocampus that helps generate memories - would those not really be your memories?

35 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

If you are claiming that the individual exiting the transporter is the individual who entered, then you are in effect claiming that the body and mind exiting the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action exiting the transporter) IS the body and mind that entered the transporter (the body undergoing continuous self-generated, self-sustained action that entered the transporter). 

It isn't. It's a new body, but the same person in every other way. I'd be quite satisfied with this, I'd be meaningfully the same person. I wouldn't know any difference, and no one else would. "But Eiuol, if you step in the transporter, your body is going to be destroyed and your first person awareness will be interrupted!" And I would step in anyway, because this is good enough. I don't see a reason to go any more specific.

36 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

  And yes I had a problem with intensity and complexity being "all the definition is," as you put it.  Keyword "all."  I was interested more in what specific actions are done to generate/sustain consciousness not just the complexity and intensity, but I think the answer to what I was interested in is a more scientific issue, that's all. 

But that's how you defined psychological processes.

" What you call the "psychological processes" are just healthy biological processes of a certain intensity."

 

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14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I'm still trying to draw my line...

I understand. These matters are not straightforward or easy.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I keep being brought back to the idea that a mind is a pattern, like a wave, and that in some ways it is independent from which particular parts (those which are interchangeable) of its "substrate" give rise to it... a wave pattern on the water has no concern which molecules of water are participating , requiring only that there are water molecules, the wave pattern can move from area to area using "different water" but maintaining its presence.

Agreed.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

I also am reminded by the fact that I literally am not the same materially and even mentally, as the person I was 25 years ago... this is natural, we change, we grow, we are always in the process of becoming.

True.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Metaphysically, in what sense am I the "same" person and in what sense has that younger person "died"... his life having gone out from existence.. and I now only remaining in his place?  How much of my FPE has changed?  Is a different FPE metaphysically the same FPE as long as there is continuity? I'm not conflating here the epistemological issue of conceptually identifying a changing thing with metaphysics, we CAN stand in the same river twice, but comparing the metaphysical significance of a thing such as FPE having gone through changes ... perhaps profound ones, with an FPE which has not changed.

So in what sense does changing in fundamental ways nevertheless not matter, when considering continuity of an FPE?

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.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

With the issue of freezing, you identify it as fundamentally sleeping and hence there are no issues with the temporary extinguishment of FPE as such...

Yes, I believe that to be true. Given sufficient technology, I would not have the same concerns with cryogenics I have with transportation.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

...but is not the frozen person "dead"?  Without begging the question and defining "death" simply as "that from which one may never be revived", what in PRINCIPLE is it about the cessation of the processes of life which we presume is different from cessation of any other process?

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.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Is it not true that our technological prowess is so primitive that we simply cannot "fix" a broken living system which has undergone irreparable damage?

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.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Is it not true that our tinkering simply actually "breaks" a living system when we try to "pause it" or "dismantle it"?  Without invoking any mystical element to the natural world, is there any reason to suspect that we could not MASTER nature to the point that we could completely stop a living being temporarily ... or disassemble and reassemble it...  causing in fact a temporary death (no process of life in action) without causing any irreparable damage.  In such a world would not reanimation then be a form of resurrection?  Not as an inexplicable fantasy but as just another particular scientific reality?

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.

14 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Back to the dead frozen person temporarily not exhibiting the FPE, who is fundamentally "sleeping":

What if we partially deconstructed the dead frozen person.. taking a single natural constituent out and putting it back... but doing this for all of the natural constituents of the person?  Would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

What if we partially deconstructed the dead frozen person.. taking half of the natural constituents out and after some time putting them all back... and then doing the same thing for the other half of natural constituents?  Would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

What if we fully deconstructed the dead frozen person...  taking each of the natural constituents one at a time...    would the non-emergent FPE dormant at the time, the FPE the person is not exhibiting... be harmed in any way?

What if we transported the natural constituents piece by piece while dead frozen?

What if we reassembled them "exactly" using the exact same natural constituents of the person, each of which only underwent motion?

What if we then thawed the now reassembled dead frozen person?  Would they not wake up with the same FPE?

 

I'm not saying I have the answers... but these are some of the questions....

I don't have answers to all of these questions, either.

7 minutes ago, ReasonFirst said:

It is my understanding that SL, Don Athos, and me are arguing that the individual who gets reconstructed is not the individual who got destroyed.  I think we might have our own different reasons for why we are arguing what we are arguing.  I don't want to speak for Don Athos and SL too much.

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.

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