Le 24-juin-05, à 15:54, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
Lest anyone take Jonathan Colvin's thought experiment as evidence that
the copy isn't "really" you, here is a variation in which the
situation is reversed:
Stathis' "the copy and the chair" is here
You made your point. Let me give you an argument showing (incorrectly)
that the notion of probability is not applicable in the duplication
situations. I let you find where is the error. The argument is of
course (*) a thought experiment and I present it through an imaginary
story. In the "copy and the chair" you reverse the situation. Here I
show it to be completely arbitrary.
It is the story of my friend Jack. Jack is a computationalist
practitioner, and he is also fond of the planet Mars. Unfortunately he
married Jeanne who was anti computationalist. Nevertheless he promised
to never leave her. And Jack is as honest as possible.
Today, classical teleportation and duplication were common, but Jeanne
just believes that those who are reconstituted are sort of "impostors",
and that each time an "original" is scanned and annihilated, well, he
One day Jack, who is a little bit tired arguing with Jeanne, found a
proposition for a nice Job on Mars. He decides to duplicate itself, by
being scanned, and then send on Mars and be reconstituted on it. All
this without annihilation of the original, so as to be able not feeling
guilty in front of Jeanne, and hurt her feeling in case she would know.
Jack, who bet on comp, thought that he has a chance of 1/2 to "be the
one who will enjoy working on Mars"
After having done the experience. Jack-original was a little bit sad.
Jack-1, the copy, was delighted: it has worked!
Soon after, his news paper was offering even more jobs on Mars,
actually 64 jobs. He decided to reiterate the "copy and paste" (no cut)
64 times. He thought that the probability he remains the original was
1/2^64 (= about 1/1,84 10^19) so that he would be rather unlucky to be
the one feeling remaining the original!
But as tautologies are tautologies, the original remains the original,
so he was, as a computationalist, quite astonished failing again. He
did even begin to doubt comp. On Mars, Jack-2, Jack-3, ..., Jack-65
were delighted and were thinking that they knew that trick could hardly
And then new jobs on Mars were still offered, dirty dangerous one. Jack
(who is Jack-0) was beginning to doubt comp, and was thinking that
Jeanne was perhaps right about the reconstituted people being "other".
Still, its relation with Jeanne were bad enough he really wants to
leave her, and its frustration not being on Mars was growing and
growing. And perhaps Jack was not so honest, and he makes up the
following plan: "I will just LET THE ORIGINAL GO ON MARS". And Jack
promises to himself that, would he acknowledge to be the copy, he would
stay with Jeanne.
He even decides to delay the reconstitution, following that anti-comp
superstition that being scanned, and reconstituted with a delay makes
you sure to remain the original.
So he scanned himself, with a program activating the reconstitution
with a delay of one hour (say), and then, he was going on MARS, by
usual 2 years trip by rocket (he was doubting! Note the irony here: he
feels to leave Jeanne at the time he feels to get her point! ).
You can imagine the disappointment of the copy on earth. "What! it
fails again! Come on Please! Will I ever successfully quit earth?
Jeanne did not see Jack was a copy, and Jack did not despair finding a
way to go on mars, letting a copy or "an original" of him with Jeanne.
In new attempts, he decides to select the one among copy/oiginal with a
coin, among the original and the copy. It failed! He decides to use the
decimal of PI written in binary as selector. It failed! He decides to
use ieratively a quantum OR gate making the decision "arbitrarily
sure": it still failed!
This explains why my friend Jack was rather depressed the last time I
saw him. Obviously, anyone on Earth will find eself with a necessarily
disappointed "Jack", given that from our point of view the tautology
alluded above is now: "the one who has been chosen to stay on Earth
will have with certainty the experience of staying on Earth". For any
strategy of choice (original/copy) we could suggest to Jack, we know,
that the "Jack" who will stay on earth and come back to the bar will
say: "it failed".
That day in the bar, my friend Jack was feeling being incredibly
Was he right?
(*) Those who believe that we cannot argue or prove proposition through
thought experiment can read the mathematical part of my SANE paper
where I show how to translate similar argument in arithmetic and/or
computer science. In SANE I say that I substitute the FOLK or
GRAND-MOTHER psychology (of the philosopher of mind) by a
self-referentially correct (universal) machine (correct with respect to
provability and inductive inference).