A question of id-entity

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This topic contains 41 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  TheEncogitationer 7 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #35579

    Unseen
    Participant

    Many a group of college students has discussed the Star Trek transporter problem. It can be put this way: when Scotty transports the captain and Spock down to the planet below, are the people appearing down below the same ones who left the Enterprise, are are they simply clever reconstructions? And if they are clever reconstructions, so what?

    I can answer the last question first. I suspect that for the person being beamed down, his or her consciousness experiences a sudden death. At the other end, a perfect copy is just as suddenly born, complete with the sense of self and memories of the original. He has a consciousness, but it is a counterfeit consciousness.

    Not saying that’s the truth. It’s just my view.

    That’s hard enough, but let’s take it up a notch.

    Suppose something goes wrong and Scotty aborts the operation in order to repair the transporter. Joking about what a close one that was, he gets on his communicator to tell the crew members below that he had to abort the transport temporarily and that he will send the captain and Spock down in a matter of minutes, to which they response comes in a familiar voice, “What do you mean? We got here just fine!”

    Wow! Here’s a real problem. The transporter has created duplicates, each with a self-identity.

    Is the id-entity just a byproduct of the body? Is it separable?

    Some people want to know the answer because they believe that if they can encode their psyche accurately enough, it can be stored in a computer and someday be put into another human body or maybe even their own body, reconstructed.

    Any thoughts?

    #35581

    This is similar to the Ship of Theseus thought experiment.

    #35582

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    @Reg That was thought provoking to say the least. I rather enjoyed (am still enjoying) thinking on it. Maybe we are not new people (or a new ship) only the same person with new parts. And the old parts that we give away, belong to someone else now and are now part of them and their ship.

    #35583

    Autumn
    Participant

    I suppose there are two basic forms of the science-fiction transporter relevant to this scenario. One is much like a sophisticated fax machine only the original is destroyed in the process. The other seems to not just copy you, but actually convert your mass into a more transmissible form and then relocates and reconstitutes it.

    You can’t get duplicates with the latter. It’s the same entity at any point in the process, even if configured differently somewhere in the middle. With the former, I’d say at the point the original was copied and the exact point the copy was generated, they’d be the same person, very briefly. I don’t think we are defined by the specific atoms that make us up, but rather the specific pattern and form in which they are arranged. From that point on, however, there would be a continuous degradation to that sameness. While they may both still share many defining traits, they become distinct people even if ever so slightly at first.

    But let’s imagine two scenarios. In both scenarios, a transporter error results in two iterations of an individual–the original and a copy.

    Scenario A: After the error, one of the individuals commits a murder. Are they both culpable or just the one? Is there an ethical or moral concern with both or just one? Does it matter how much time has passed? A decade, a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute?

    Scenario B: After the error, it is discovered that prior to the transportation glitch, the original committed murder. Are they both culpable or just the one? Is there an ethical or moral concern with both or just one?

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Autumn.
    #35585

    Unseen
    Participant

    @Reg That was thought provoking to say the least. I rather enjoyed (am still enjoying) thinking on it. Maybe we are not new people (or a new ship) only the same person with new parts. And the old parts that we give away, belong to someone else now and are now part of them and their ship.

    If this is the case, that a person’s identity consists in how a bunch of parts are assembled, like Thesius’s ship, then like two ships built to the same specs but with different but identical sets of parts, what would we call a person so constructed? One person in two places? Or just an artificial twin.

    #35586

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    @unseen

    Hmmm. I’m going to say neither. The process of build has to account for something. So whether or the not the parts are the same each process is different for the one who is constructing. Therefore the outcome is two different ships or people. Similar in ways, but ultimately different.

    #35587

    Autumn
    Participant

    This is similar to the Ship of Theseus thought experiment.

    Although, notably different, the Ship of Theseus wouldn’t have had cognition and a sense of personal identity.

    We may actually naturally be in more of a Ship of Theseus scenario anyway. From birth to death, how much of the original matter that made us up still exists within us?

    #35588

    Unseen
    Participant

    Scenario A: After the error, one of the individuals commits a murder. Are they both culpable or just the one? Is there an ethical or moral concern with both or just one? Does it matter how much time has passed? A decade, a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour, a minute?

    I suppose it depends on how you apply the Ship of Theseus to people. If we define a person as the persistent pattern according to which cellular materials are put together, there’s a sense in which they are the same person and perhaps both would need to be held accountable. But that’s nonsense. So then it would seem we can’t use that standard.

    More importantly on the scene, though, is which Captain is the Captain of the ship?

    Scenario B: After the error, it is discovered that prior to the transportation glitch, the original committed murder. Are they both culpable or just the one? Is there an ethical or moral concern with both or just one?

    I think a consciousness belongs to a body, so we can’t hold one clone responsible for the other’s actions. Unless, perhaps, the transporter works using the weird entanglement phenomenon. We might want to keep an eye on the other one, though.

    #35589

    Autumn
    Participant

    That scenario B answer creates some interesting implications though. What if the transporter had worked properly? The transported individual is the clone, in a sense. The original just happens to have been consumed in the process. Can you escape culpability just by using a transporter?

    #35590

    _Robert_
    Participant

    One million cells in your body die every second. You are not the you that you were 5 minutes ago. It’s the cells that don’t die that you have to worry about.

    #35591

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    One million cells in your body die every second. You are not the you that you were 5 minutes ago. It’s the cells that don’t die that you have to worry about.

    This is true.

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Jody Lee.
    #35596

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Saw an article recently indicating there is a part of our brain that remains the same throughout our lives and gives us our sense of self. Can’t find it so no link. Although there is a chance i am nuts.

    #35597

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Saw an article recently indicating there is a part of our brain that remains the same throughout our lives and gives us our sense of self. Can’t find it so no link. Although there is a chance i am nuts.

    This is the one you posted recently:  https://www.sciencealert.com/brain-scans-confirm-there-is-a-part-of-you-that-remains-you-throughout-your-life

    #35598

    Jody Lee
    Participant

    Saw an article recently indicating there is a part of our brain that remains the same throughout our lives and gives us our sense of self. Can’t find it so no link. Although there is a chance i am nuts.

    I’m glad our sense of self remains the same. I kind of like who I am.

    @jake, just because Simon found the article, there’s still a chance you’re nuts. We all are…😄

     

    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Jody Lee.
    #35600

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Thank you Simon.

    Jody it is being nuts while being mostly functional that is the key to a good life. I own that shit.

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