On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 2:28 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 2/19/2013 4:08 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
> On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 5:27 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>  On 2/19/2013 1:58 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>> On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>>  On 2/18/2013 10:49 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>> 6. Swapping places with someone: In 5 seconds, your mind and
>>> consciousness will swap with that of some rich and famous person.  Let's
>>> say Bill Gates.  I hope you are ready.  5. 4. 3. 2. 1.  The swap is
>>> complete.  Bill Gates is now in your body, with access to your memories and
>>> living as you were just before you got to reading this sentence, while you
>>> are living as a billionaire and enjoying Bills bank account.   Of course,
>>> while you are in his body you only have access to his memories.  Not only
>>> does his wife not notice the switch, but you don't even notice it.  You
>>> only have access to Bill's memories now so you do not realize anything is
>>> awry.  Don't worry, everything will be set back how it was, in 3. 2. 1.
>>> Welcome back. How was it? Of course, you don't remember. Fortunately, Bill
>>> was nice enough to read the last few sentences for you and now they have
>>> been placed into your memory.  This shows it is meaningless to say "I wish
>>> I could live as X", or "experience a day in Y's shoes".  For all you know,
>>> you already are, have, and will.
>>>  This, if true, only shows that "you" and "Bill Gates" don't exist
>>> apart from your bodies and memories, so that it is nonsense to talk of
>>> exchanging bodies and memories.
>> We agree it is nonsense.
>>>    For it to make sense there would have to be a "you" soul and a "Bill
>>> Gates" soul that switched.
>> Okay, if no soul involved, then by what means can we talk of you at T1
>> and you at T2, when the two are different in terms of memories and material?
>> There is a problem with any theories of personal identity two individuals
>> at two different times.  Inevitably it comes down to some arbitrary measure
>> of similarity.  There are two alternatives, no-self theories of personal
>> identity, in which you are nothing but a single observer moment, and
>> universalism, which identifies you with every conscious entity.
>>  You have been seduced by comp so that you forget the simplest theory -
>> physical continuity.
> I haven't forgotten it, I've just come to see that the simplest theory
> (while perfectly fine for ordinary scenarios) falls on its face in others.
> Particularly those involving duplicates, material replacement, teleporters,
> amnesia, split brains, etc.
> What is physical continuity's answer to the following questions:
> Who will you find yourself to be when you awake from a split brain surgery?
> Do you experience the perspectives of all your branched copies under the
> Everett multi-verse?
> Would you survive or die when you use a star-trek style transporter?
> Do I lose consciousness if I lose access to all my memories?
> Can my mind be slowly transformed to that of any other conscious person
> without losing consciousness?
> If I step into a duplication machine and 10 copies come out, which one do
> I survive as?
> Arnold Zuboff gives the following thought experiment to show how
> inadequate physical continuity theories are:
>  I imagined two brains lying at
> either end of an operating table. For the sake of vividness - please
> forgive
> me - let us say a mad scientist has only a moment ago snatched the brain
> from your head. It is one of the two on the operating table. The other
> brain
> is a precise duplicate of yours in every discriminable respect, including
> all
> its patterns of memory traces. Perhaps the scientist created this duplicate
> himself, or perhaps he stole it from the head of one of those duplicates of
> you that would have arisen naturally in an infinite universe.
> Anyway, this mad scientist is capable of feeding into these brains any
> pattern of stimulation he likes, by means of electrodes plugged into them
> where nerves would normally be entering from the sense-organs and the
> rest of the body. And he has chosen to give both of them precisely the
> same pattern of stimulation that your brain would have been receiving if it
> had not been snatched from your head moments ago. That would be why
> it seems to you that your brain is still in your head, that my paper is
> still
> before you.
> As I say, both brains are being fed exactly this same pattern of stimu-
> lation. What should we expect is true of the subjects and their experience?
> Would we not suppose that the episode of experience connected with each
> brain would be qualitatively identical? But would we not also think that,
> despite the completeness of their qualitative similarity, the subjects and
> their episodes of experience must be numerically distinct from one another?
> You are one subject, lost in one experience; at the other end of the
> operating table is another subject, lost in his or hers. It is as though
> we are
> thinking about two ashtrays of the same design sitting at either end of a
> coffee table.
> But now for the experiment itself. Our mad researcher begins by trading
> one quarter of your brain for the corresponding quarter of the other. He
> does this instantly, or through instantaneous freezing and thawing, so that
> it does not register in the patterns of brain activity. What is the result?
> Surely it would not be natural to think that you have gone over to the
> other
> end of the table, along with a mere quarter of your material. Nor is it
> inviting to think that either you or your experience is a quarter changed
> in
> numerical identity. The natural thought is rather that you and the other
> subject have remained wholly what - and wholly where - you would have
> been if there had not been an exchange of quarters.
> Next he exchanges a second quarter between your brain and the other's.
> Now, it was wholly you, in the same position, after the first quarter
> exchange, just as if it had never been done. So the second quarter must
> merely be like the first all over again. There is again no change in what
> or
> where you are. One thing to emphasize is that we may easily think of the
> brains themselves in terms of fractions. Thus, though we might be a bit
> puzzled about whether the brain that was originally yours is still the one
> you've got after the second quarter exchange, if we like we can just fall
> back on talking about there being half of the original brain with you and
> half now over there with the other. But one could never talk about the
> subject or his experience like that. So, anyway, what we should expect
> after the exchange of second quarters is that each subject is still wholly
> where it was at the start of the experiment.
> You may guess what he does next. A third quarter exchange. And the
> result must again be the same; you remain where you are. And a final
> exchange, of fourth quarters, must also make no difference to where the
> subjects are. But notice that this final result looks as though it should
> be
> indistinguishable, except in history, from what would have been done if
> the mad scientist had merely picked up the brains at the start and
> exchanged
> their positions. All the material that was on the right is on the left and
> vice
> versa. But if this had been done all at once we would have been sure to
> say that the subjects as well as the brains had changed their positions.
> The question is, could the difference in history that I have just indicated
> as the only difference between the two procedures be enough to make for
> the utterly different outcomes for numerical identity in the otherwise
> indistinguishable results? It seemed to me very implausible that the dif-
> ference in history could be enough. What suddenly struck me was that the
> logic of experience was very different from what we normally supposed it
> was. In fact, when we were thinking about a particular experience we were,
> without realizing it, thinking about a type, a universal, rather than a
> token,
> a proper particular or individual. What I ended in thinking was that, in an
> experiment like ours, there had been numerically only one episode of
> experience and only one subject from the beginning. There was, despite
> the two brains at the two locations, but a single particular experience, as
> of being precisely you, in just that spot where you seem now to be, reading
> exactly like this, with all these current thoughts and sensations. And
> therein
> there was but a single you. All these specific qualities of the experience
> and its subject also determined the numerical identity. Experience and
> subject occurred equally well, numerically the same, in either of these
> realizations of them, in either brain. Therefore, at the end of either the
> series of quarter exchanges or the immediate whole exchange, there was
> no distinction of a subject on the right in contrast to a subject on the
> left.
> No matter which way one did the exchange, there was throughout but one
> subject - you - possessor of but a single experience.
> Also, if you consider the physicalist account of personal identity so
> alluring, consider these writings of Thomas Nagel:
> consider everything that can be said about the world without employing any
> token-
> reflexive expressions. This will include the description of all its
> physical contents
> and their states, activities and attributes. It will also include a
> description of all
> the persons in the world and their histories, memories, thoughts,
> sensations,
> perceptions, intentions, and so forth. I can thus describe without
> token-reflexives
> the entire world and everything that is happening in it - and this will
> include a
> description of Thomas Nagel and what he is thinking and feeling. But there
> seems
> to remain one thing which I cannot say in this fashion - namely, which of
> the
> various persons in the world / am. Even when everything that can be said
> in the
> specified manner has been said, and the world has in a sense been
> completely
> described, there seems to remain one fact which has not been expressed,
> and that
> is the fact that I am Thomas Nagel. This is not, of course, the fact
> ordinarily
> conveyed by those words, when they are used to inform someone else who the
> speaker is - for that could easily be expressed otherwise. It is rather
> the fact that /
> am the subject of these experiences; this body is my body; the subject or
> center of
> my world is this person, Thomas Nagel.
> There is no physical fact that explains why of all the people in the
> world, you shall only live the life of Brent Meeker.  If there is no
> physical justification supporting this fact, what is your motive for
> believing it?
>  There is a simple empirical justification, whether 'physical', or not: I
> am aware of living only one life.  Everyone I know tells me they are aware
> of living only one life.  You seem to have your epistemology backwards,
> physics and 'physical justifications' are part of a model of the world we
> create to predict and understand.  So the model had better predict what we
> observe.

I thought you might say that.  Zuboff explains that this justification is
as clumsy as believing there can only be one red object in the world on the
basis of only having seen one red object:

Imagine a world in which people have
only ever known one object with the colour red. Such naive observers
might easily fall into thinking that to be red somehow also required having
the other particular features of that one red object.

Similarly, the universal immediacy of consciousness is only ever experi-
enced within the various limits of particular mental integrations. The one
self, though defined by the quality of immediacy alone, always finds itself
seemingly bounded by limits of mental activity, by limits of current and
remembered experiential contents that happen to come packaged together.
Within the reach of one nervous system and the memory it supports lies,
seemingly, all the experience that has or has had the intimate quality of
being mine. But accepting this suggestion is as clumsy a mistake as thinking
that there can be only one red object if only one has been seen.

Relying on that intuition is the same as concluding only the present exists
because it is the only time you ever seem to experience.  This of course,
is as flawed as believing only "here" exists, but typically we learn that
other places exist too because we can remember going to them (although many
still doubt other branches or other universes despite the growing number of
physical theories that require them).  If the technology existed to travel
through different people (brain morphing) or merging memories, we might
have a different outlook on experiencing other perspectives.  In the same
way a time machine might convince us other times are equally real, or the
quantum-leap TV show machine could convince us other branches are real, if
we could travel through the perspectives of other individuals, gain their
experiences and memories, we might also see that other people's views have
a character that is no less "mine" than the only one you are currently
familiar with.


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