Eric Cavalcanti wrote:
> If I were to be consistent, I
> would have to wonder whether the person I was a few months ago was
> 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
> normal life, other than the speed with which it happens? If you
> all the discarded matter from your body over the course of a year, you
> probably have more than enough to build a whole alternative person.
> you consider that person "dead", replaced by a mere copy? If not, could
> give a consistent explanation for why you would consider teleportation
> 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.
If you don't equate your identity with the matter of your body, then why
would you believe that your stream of consciousness will always remain tied
to the "original body" rather than one of the copies? What is special about
the original body, besides the continuity of material with the material that
made up the body before it was copied? There are many of us on this list who
also think there's something fundamental about consciousness, but most of us
would say that consciousness is tied to *patterns*, not to distinct physical
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
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
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.
But this thought experiment doesn't really explain anything about *why* you
expect your stream of consciousness to be tied to the original body. I could
equally well imagine a virtual simulation game where, when you press the
copy button, your simulated surroundings suddenly change and you find
yourself in the copying chamber, looking back at the original body sitting
in the scanning chamber, which you no longer control.