At 11:23 PM 6/18/2005, George Levy wrote:
rmiller wrote:

my thought question for the day: is the method of copying important?
Example #1: we start with a single marble, A. Then, we magically create a copy, marble B--perfectly like marble B in every way. . .that is, the atoms are configured similarly, the interaction environment is the same--and they are indistinguishable from one another. Example #2: we start with a single marble A. Then, instead of magically creating a copy, we search the universe, Tegmarkian-style, and locate a second marble, B that is perfectly equivalent to our original marble A.

I distinguish between two kinds of copying: physical copying and psychological copying.


Psychological indeterminacy support COMP and the associated experiments between Brussels, Washington and Moscow and is not restricted by the Quantum Non-Cloning Theorem. Psychological indeterminacy also raises the question of how different should I be until I become someone else. How big am "I"?

George Levy


While my copy thought problem of mine was a lame attempt to drag Bohm into the picture (hidden variables revealed as specific histories) , George raises an interesting point re psychological copying. The behavioral construct obviously changes with time, yet has a relatively static core--that is, we tend to return to old habits and ways of doing things. Given the dynamic nature of the system itself, based as it is upon electrons traveling through neurons and across synapses--changing through time, why should patterns persist at all? In other words, why shouldn't we be reconstituted as someone completely different on a minute-by-minute basis? What is the basis for the set of recurrent patterns that seem to define the behavioral "set" over great periods of time? Obviously some of it is defined by the way the circuitry is hard-wired, but even so, some areas are occasionally "diked off" (to use a coding phrase) for years at a time---only to recur later.

Approaching it from a slightly different angle, some pretty clever experiments have shown that our behavior system is modular, or as Robert Ornstein (Roots of Consciousness) suggested, we're composed of sub-personalities that "wheel" around to the foreground as conditions permit. It's why we can listen to a radio *and* think about a film we saw a few weeks ago *as* we drive through heavy traffic on the way to work. Hilgard suggested that the sub-personalities are corralled by the "hidden observer" which takes on the "executive function" of deciding who takes over and when---based, again, on conditions. My question has always been--how much does the hidden observer actually "know" about the environment(s) prior to making the decisions?

Additionally, I would imagine Stathis has quite a bit to say about this, and of course, I'd appreciate his comments as well.

R. Miller

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