On 3/18/2012 8:53 AM, John Clark wrote:
On Sun, Mar 18, 2012 at 1:12 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
>>> You are placed in a closed room and anesthesized. While you
unconscious you are moved to an identical room in Moscow. You wake up.
There has been an enormous change in your position but you are not aware of it.
>> And in your example there is a zero change in your consciousness,
absolutely ZERO. How can I be so certain of that? You answered that
yourself, because "you are not aware of it".
> So what?
> I wrote "There are many possible enormous changes that could happen
being aware of them." Where did I say there was a change in your
that you were not aware of? Please do not attribute to me things I didn't
Brent, "aware" is just another word for "conscious", if a consciousness has not
experienced a change, if it has not felt something different, if it is not aware that
anything significant has changed, then there was no change in the consciousness. If 2
consciousness are identical and there is no subsequent change in their consciousness
then the point of view of the 2 beings remains identical and it is silly to pretend
there are two points of view.
I didn't pretend there are two points of view in your symmetric room thought experiment.
Can you quote anything I wrote to that effect? I merely pointed out that there can be
enormous changes of which you are unaware; like being transported to another place.
I don't know why you keep referring to consciousness. In your own example there is an
enormous change, i.e. two bodies where there was one before, and there *is* a change in
consciousness. Not into two separate consciousnesses (although I think that must happen
very quickly), but in seeing a body that looks like your self.
I don't know what you're trying to prove with this example. Surely not that one must be
aware of all "enormous changes". I agree that there is only one consciousness until the
two brains diverge by having different inputs (either internal thermal noise or external
perceptions) - which I supposed was your original point. I think Bruno also agreed that
consciousness only split when there was some difference in perception - which he equated
with opening the transporter door.
This conclusion is confirmed in my symmetrical room example where even the copy and the
original can't tell themselves apart, if you exchanged their position they could not
tell that anything had happened, and neither could any conceivable outside observer.
But they each can tell that something new - namely that a separate likeness of himself
exists. Actually I think the experiment is nomologically impossible. Even if the brain
is strictly classical and deterministic, the world still has plenty of thermal randomness
that would very quickly cause the two brains to diverge into different conscious (and
>> But there is no way you can know the original and his identical
have a unique position ("definite spacetime histories" is too pompous
taste) because for all you know, and for all they know, and for all the
knows, those 2 identical objects, the copy and the original, could be
position 10^44 times a second.
> And how would they do that? By magic? Of course if you invoke magic all
Yes magic would do the trick, but it wouldn't take much magic to do that, in fact the
magic needed would be as weak and impotent as it is possible to be because as Leibniz
and his Identity of Indiscernibles says if you exchange the position of 2 identical
things then the resulting change is not observable by anyone, not even by the universe,
not even by god.
Wrong. If you exchange two things that are identical except for position *while no one is
watching* then the change is unobservable. But big classical things have continuity in
spacetime and so, if someone is watching, they can tell that the bodies have been
exchanged. That's one way in which classical mechanics is different from quantum mechanics.
So the magic involved only needs to be powerful enough to do absolutely positively
nothing, and I am convinced that magic of that sort does in fact exist.
> Does your brain remain the same no matter what information you receive?
> Do you differentiate from who you were - as you suppose the man in Moscow
from the man in Washington.
I will answer that question as soon as you answer mine: How long is a piece of
So the answer is yes; but it's inconvenient for your argument.
> Can't you get it through your head that things different from one another
be equal to a third thing.
The trunk of a tree splits into 2 branches, the branches are different from each other
but there is a smooth continuous path from the trunk to both of those branches, neither
branch can claim to have more in common with the trunk than the other branch, and both
branches, although different from each other, are part of the same tree. And to say that
because the trunk has branched the trunk is now dead would be nuts.
Not as nuts as saying each branch is the identical with the original tree.
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