> >I know that sounds somewhat solipsist in the end, but I can't believe
> >that merely scanning me can affect my future. And I would like to
> >be convinced otherwise, because I don't like solipsism.
> What do you mean, "the only way I could be convinced otherwise is by doing
> the test"? You agree that there is no 3rd person difference, but the whole
> point is that there can't be any *1st* person difference either! What do you
> imagine this 1st person difference could be?
The first person difference would be that if I press the button 1000 times,
I believe I would still not leave the room. Of course, in a 3rd person
perspective, you would not be convinced, because of course *someone*
is still gonna stay in the room.
If you want, you can imagine that I am talking about a "soul", even though
that brings unintended religious connotations.
> Actually, I sympathise with you, because for many years I wondered, if I
> went into a teleporter, would the person who came out the other end really
> be me, or would I have been committing suicide? Then a few years ago, on a
> Sunday afternoon driving home from the supermarket, it suddenly dawned on me
> that this was a crazy question. Other than thinking I was me, remembering my
> thoughts, behaving like me, looking like me, etc., what other evidence could
> there possibly be that the copy really was me?
I agree there is no 3rd person communicable evidence. But if you did the
experiment 1000 times and never left the room, would you be convinced
if someone told you that the next time you press the button there's a 50%
chance that you would be in New York?
Of course in a 3rd person perspective this would be the one Stathis that
remained in the room, and you would say that this one has no claim of
being Stathis more than all the others have. But still, if you happened to
be that one, would you believe it's just a coincidence, and the next time
you could really go to New York?
> If I were to be consistent, I
> would have to wonder whether the person I was a few months ago was "really
> me", because the atoms comprising my body today are probably completely
> different. In fact, in *every respect* the person I was a few months ago
> differs more from me as I am today than I would differ from a teleported
> copy. In what way is the destruction of the original in teleportation
> different to the destruction of the original which occurs in the course of
> normal life, other than the speed with which it happens? If you collected
> all the discarded matter from your body over the course of a year, you would
> probably have more than enough to build a whole alternative person. Would
> you consider that person "dead", replaced by a mere copy? If not, could you
> give a consistent explanation for why you would consider teleportation to be
> basically different?
I do not equate my identity with the matter that composes my body at all.
I would say that my personal identity cannot be defined in a
communicable way, in the way I see it. I believe there is something
fundamental about consciousness.
I guess that my position could be made analogous to the following thought
experiment: suppose you are playing a virtual simulation game, and in the
game you enter a copy machine just like the one we are discussing. The
game is programmed to feed your (real) brain with the experience of being in
the same room every time you press the button but seing all these copies
of your virtual body being created in New York. Of course there's no question
of who you are. You are not the copies in New York. While playing the game
you do not feel concerned that you could suddenly appear in New York and
be trapped in the simulation after pressing the button.
In this example my identity would undoubtedly be located in my real brain.
I imagine an analogous situation for my identity in the real world, with
the difference that I can't (or I don't know how to) unplug from it. But
clearly it is not located in my body anymore than it was located in my
virtual body inside the simulation.
But of course I find this position quite uncomfortable, because I cannot
acount for other people's consciousness in any well defined way. And
since I don't like solipsism, i.e., I like to believe in other people's
consciousness, I must say it's deeply unsatisfactory.
But not enough to believe that I could experience being teleported to New