On Nov 13, 2008, at 10:02 PM, Brent Meeker wrote:
> I think there is a misunderstanding of the MWI.
Ok. I wanted to try putting things in terms of the MWI rather than a
more extreme version of many-worlds like Bruno's, since a lot more
people accept the MWI. But of course, I can make the point I'm making
without talking about the MWI.
> I doubt that it will ever be possible to build a teleporter.
In a previous post, you wrote that someday "we'll be able to build
robots that really do exhibit conscious behavior". (I agree.) If we
can do that, we can also dispense with the robot bodies and just make
software that exhibits conscious behavior. When that happens, I will
believe that this manufactured person (let's call him Fred) is as
conscious as "I" am. It will be a trivial matter to teleport Fred or
make multiple copies of him. Therefore, in the sense that matters to
this conversation, we do know that teleportation is physically
possible in this universe.
If I'm understanding you correctly, you're arguing that it's ok to
talk about what Fred should expect to experience one second from now
as long as we don't make multiple copies of him. But if we tell Fred
that we're about to duplicate him, and put one copy of him in a
(virtual) red room and one in a (virtual) blue room, it doesn't make
any sense for him to ask, "What am I about to experience?" I'm arguing
that it is still a sensible question, and that "You're going to find
yourself in a red room or in a blue room" is (one) sensible answer.
Of course, we have to strip this answer of the metaphysical baggage
that makes it *sound* like we're implying that one or the other of the
two copies must be the "real" Fred. I think we can say "Fred is going
to find himself in a red room or in a blue room", while fully
acknowledging that, from the third-person point of view, both copies
are Fred (or whatever other way we choose to say it). It's similar to
the way that we keep using the word "I", even though we don't believe
in a soul or a unified consciousness.
If you agree with the last paragraph, then we've pretty much been
arguing about nothing. If you don't, I'd be interested to hear why.
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