On 3 October 2013 06:48, John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Oct 2, 2013  Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>  >> philosophically my low-tech experiment works just as well and is just
>>> as uninformative as your hi-tech version.
>> > Not at all. In your low tech (using a coin), you get an indeterminacy
>> from coin throwing,
> And the coin throw was random so you ended up in Moscow rather than
> Washington for no reason at all, but that's OK because there is no law of
> logic that demands every event have a cause.
> > You agreed some post before, that anyone remembering having been the
>> Helsinki man can consider himself rightfully as the Helsinki man
> Agreed? I'm the one who introduced the idea to this list! And I was very
> surprised that I even had to talk about such a rudimentary concept to a
> bunch of people who fancy themselves philosophers.
> > he has just been duplicated
> Yes.
> > and the 1p-indeterminacy comes from this.
> Please note, if the following seems clunky it's because it contains no
> pronouns, but a inelegant prose style is the price that must be payed when
> writing philosophically about personal identity and duplicating chambers:
> What question about personal identity is indeterminate? There is a 100%
> chance that the Helsinki man will turn into the Moscow man because the
> Helsinki Man saw Moscow, and a 100% chance the Helsinki Man will turn into
> the Washington Man because the Helsinki Man saw Washington, and a 100%
> chance that the first person view of the Helsinki Man will be a view ONLY
> of Helsinki because otherwise the first person view of the Helsinki Man
> would not be the first person view of the Helsinki man.
> And before Bruno Marchal rebuts this by saying John Clark is confusing
> peas with some other sort of peas please clearly explain exactly what
> question concerning personal identity has a indeterminate answer. AND DO SO

This is an interesting way of looking at things. I have always had trouble
with the MWI version of this - it's generally hard to believe that "the
person who is having these experiences" will become "two people who have
had different experiences" (to avoid any personal pronouns in those
descriptions). Whether one calls this indeterminacy or not starts to look
like a question of language rather than something more fundamental.
Back-pedalling to the quantum version (to avoid any problems that people
have with comp), we have the equivalent situation where "I" am about to
perform a measurement that has what I would consider, no doubt naively, to
have a 50-50 chance of going either way. Once I have done the measurement,
I find that it has result "1", so I would be justified to think, "Aha, that
was a 50% chance which happened to come out this way, rather than the other
way." Meanwhile another version of me has obtained result "2" and thinks
the opposite. Do we call this indeterminacy? And does it relate to personal

We certainly can call this, let's say, "naive indeterminacy", in that it
looks like a coin toss. If I believe the "Copenhagen interpretation" then I
think it is genuine indeterminacy. If I believe the MWI I think it is
"apparent indeterminacy". (Comp of course also has the latter type.) What
this says about personal identity is just that certain things appear
indeterminate to people, because a "person" is really something that in the
next instant turns into a sheaf of near-identical people, each with
different experiences. I think the point here is that if you would say in
an MWI context that you have a 50% chance of a measurement coming out one
way, and 50% of it coming out another, then you should say the same thing
about the teleporter, because if nothing else, the MWI leads to a constant
version of the teleporter thought experiment actually occurring.

You could in fact do the teleporter experiment by using a "quantum coin
flip" and sending each version of Helsinki man to his destination by
conventional means. Obviously that wouldn't tell us much about the digital
nature of consciousness, but if we assume digital consciousness then there
is no reason why it couldn't, very much in theory, be cut and pasted into
two locations. More to the point, if consciousness is a computation, then
it can, rather less in theory, be instantiated in a computer (with
sufficient resources). So instead of Helsinki man we could have the
equivalent - HAL, let's say - who is running inside an android which looks
like a human being. HAL steps into the teleporter, which freezes the state
of his processing unit and memory, reads it, and transmits it to Moscow and
Washington, and back in Helsinki reads in a new identity (sent from some
other location). The copies sent to M and W are downloaded into two other

According to comp, sending a person by teleporter would be equivalent to
the above description, albeit rather more technically challenging. Maybe it
would help the discussion to consider what happens to HAL? He is after all
just as conscious as Helsinki man, but doesn't have a lot of "baggage"
attached to him (semantic, emotional, philosophical, etc). Does it make
sense to say that he experiences personal indeterminacy?

Yes, I think it does. He experiences MWI-style "apparent indeterminacy". I
can't see any reasonable objection, given that one copy of HAL is made,
duplicated digitally, and sent to two destinations, which probably involves
converting it to a different format and transmitting it by radio, then
writing it onto a new hard disc, which is then copied to another disc
inside another android! It seems silly to worry about which one is the real
copy, or anything like that. For one thing, the real copy has been wiped
(or replaced). But comp says that shouldn't matter, and it certainly
doesn't appear to matter to HAL.

Does it? If not then proceed to step 4, and see where the logic leads (if

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