On 2/20/2013 7:36 AM, Jason Resch wrote:



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

But none of this is possible in the physics of this world - and it is doubtful that it would be possible in the physics of any world that supported intelligence.



Relying on that intuition is the same as concluding only the present exists because it is the only time you ever seem to experience.

That's false. I directly experience durations, just as I directly experience motion in space. Again you are seduced by your own model - because you believe the digitized world of comp, you assume that there must be discrete 'observer moments'. But the latter doesn't follow from the former.

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).

You are confusing experiences with the models we create to understand 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.

It doesn't take some scifi technology. We are naturally empathic and just talking to other people can give us a different outlook and perspective - as can some psychotropic drugs.

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.

And if they were 'no less' mine, then 'mine' would be undefined and we wouldn't be able to understand your assertion. You seem to overlook the contradiction in saying that A might be the same person as B, without qualifying how A and B refer to some difference.

Brent

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