R. Miller writes:

(snip)
The above mechanism would still work even if, as in my thought experiment, there were 10^100 exact copies running in lockstep and all but one died. Each one of the 10^100-1 copies would experience continuity of consciousness through the remaining copy, so none would really die.


RM: None would really die only if the behavioral configurations were uniform and equal (thus equivalent) *and* only if their environment was in an equivalent state. However, that is not the case here. The environment and behavioral configurations of those who died are not commensurate with the one who lived. No equivalence means differing results---and differing paths. Let's look at it this way: take two boxes, perfectly equivalent in every way and place inside each two similar marbles. Assume that both systems are equivalent configurations and are, in effect, copies of one another. When you remove one marble from its box, the other marble doesn't follow suit---it stays put.

Of course, the mental state and environment of the copies that die are different from the one who continues to live. What is needed for continuity of consciousness is that the mental state at the moment of death be duplicated somewhere. This is what is supposed to happen with teleportation: the subject is destructively analysed, killing him in the process, then the information sent to a receiving station where an exact (or close enough) copy of the subject is constructed from local raw materials. The result is that the subject suddenly finds himself at his destination, a discontinuity not present in my thought experiment since the environment is copied along with the subject. Do you believe teleportation would be a form of transportation or a form of execution?

--Stathis Papaioannou

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