Hal Finney writes:
> > Yes, but every theoretical scientist hopes ultimately to be vindicated
> > by the experimentalists. I'm now not sure what you mean by the second
> > sentence in the above quote. What would you expect to find if (classical,
> > destructive) teleportation of a subject in Brussels to Moscow and/or
> > Washington were attempted?
> From the third party perspective, I'd expect that we'd start with a
> person in Brussels, and end up with people in Moscow and Washington who
> each have the memories and personality of the person who is no longer
> in Brussels.  The population of Earth would have increased by one.
> I imagine that this is unproblematic and is simply a restatement of the
> stipulated conditions of the experiment.
> The more interesting question to ask is whether I would submit to
> this, and if so, what would I expect?  Note that this is not subject
> to experimental verification.  When we have described the third party
> situation, we have already said everything that experimentalists could
> verify.  When those two people wake up in Moscow and Washington there
> is no conceivable experiment by which we can judge whether the person
> in Brussels has in some sense survived, or perhaps has done even better
> than surviving.  It's not even clear what these questions mean.
> It was my attempt to formalize these questions which led to my analysis.
> Perhaps it is best if I go back to the more formal statement of the
> results, and say that the contribution of this universe to the measure
> of a person who experiences surviving the teleportation and wakes up in
> W or M is much less than the contribution to the measure of a person who
> walks into the machine in Brussels and never experiences anything else.
> At a minimum, this would make me hesitant to use the machine.
> Now, other philosophical considerations might still convince me to use the
> machine; but it would be more like the two copies are my heirs, people
> who will live on after I am gone and help to put my plans into action.
> People sometimes sacrifice themselves for their children, and the argument
> would be even stronger here since these are far more similar to me than
> biological relations.  So even if I don't personally expect to survive
> the transition I might still decide to use the machine.

OK, I think I'm clear on what you're saying now. But suppose I argue that I will not survive the next hour, because the matter making up my synapses will have turned over in this time. To an outside observer the person taking my place would seem much the same, and if you ask him, he will share my memories and he will believe he is me. However, he won't be me, because I will by then be dead. Is this a valid analysis? My view is that there is a sense in which it *is* valid, but that it doesn't matter. What matters to me in survival is that there exist a person in an hour from now who by the usual objective and subjective criteria we use identifies as being me.
Even if it were possible to imagine another way of living my life which did not entail dying every moment, for example if certain significant components in my brain did not turn over, I would not expend any effort to bring this state of affairs about, because if it made no subjective or objective difference, what would be the point? Moreover, there would be no reason for evolution to favour this kind of neurophysiology unless it conferred some other advantage, such as greater metabolic efficiency.
Stathis Papaioannou

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