• DoppyTheElv
    100

    I think you're talking past me because it's hard for me to follow, sorry.

    The broken teleporter is a nice redux of the ship Theseus paradox which concerns continuity of identity. It is essentially a language problem as far as I can see. In everyday scenarios, we don't need to worry about discontinuities of form alongside continuities of physical constitution or vice versa: my physical constitution gradually changes but I remain me albeit with a time-dependent physical constitution.Kenosha Kid
    I don't know if it is merely a language problem. We don't have the technology of course, but it still outlines a problem hypothetically, doesn't it? If we are nothing more than our physical body or its arrangement then there is no soul and thus if one were to make 2 of me then I should be both. But since that is impossible there has to be something else a pointer or whatever else extra you can get? It's not merely about continuity alone. It's about what constitutes the self in its entirety. So this problem is close to but not the same as the ship of Theseus.

    Forgive my close mindedness but I'll resort to summarizing the 3 main positions as response to the problem.

    1) Biological view = You are the matter, meat of the brain and not it's internal machining. When the machine deconstructs you, you die and a clone is created. One who thinks he is you but isn't. You die.

    2) Psychological view = You are the constituents, internal processing of the brain. Emotions, dreams, hopes and ideas. Basically that which the brain does. When the machine recreates a machine that reforms these ideas aka the psychological bundle, You 'reawaken' as it were. As if nothing happened. You survive.

    3) Further fact = Both of these miss something. Usually argued to by multiple duplication problems and argues that there is something more. A soul or whatever else. Basically: We don't know.

    I'm guessing this is what Solar is trying to get to in his argument. And this is what I'm somewhat familiar with. If I understand you correctly, you mean to say that the clones being identical biologically has nothing to do with them being the original. So you would align yourself with the psychological view?

    The linguistic issue is that, based on our experience with language, we have one word to describe two things that we can easily differentiate. One simply has to choose more careful language if this becomes a real problem. For what it's worth, the "identical parts" idea of identity seems like a non-starter, since when I say "I", I am referring to a continuous thing that does not have static components. The "original you" or the "original Theseus" does not have any relevance in that case.Kenosha Kid

    It seems like the teletransporter is forcing one to think what makes the I. If components are non starters and continuity is, then the real question is continuity of what?
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    I think the original argument can be put easier with clones.DoppyTheElv

    Thought experiments involving cloning or teletransporting differ in an important detail: they start with there being a single person, who then undergoes some transformation. More importantly, these thought experiments are (in)famously controversial; they are the opposite of an argument. If anything, their controversy suggests that there may not be objectively right or wrong answers to the questions that they pose.
  • DoppyTheElv
    100

    Where can I read up on the idea that they are controversial? Do you mean controversial in that it's a bad thought experiment? Or controversial in the sense of they are being discussed? I heard a lot of good stuff about Parfit's book that deals with these kinds of things. Sure there isn't an empiric conclusion since these techs are not within within our reach. But I don't see how they are unable to highlight problems with current ways of thinking. It would be silly indeed to say that there are end all be all answers to problems in philosophy.

    Edit:I understand now what you mean, took me a while. I took it to be an insignificant detail sorry.
    They aren't arguments no, that's a mistake I made with my wording. However I do believe, as I said above, that they can sway a person when it comes to their own idea of personal identity.

    Solar is trying to make an argument out of it. That's their business.
  • SolarWind
    25
    More importantly, these thought experiments are (in)famously controversial; they are the opposite of an argument. If anything, their controversy suggests that there may not be objectively right or wrong answers to the questions that they pose.SophistiCat

    The teletransporting / copy-beam thought experiment shows that it is unclear what the objective solution is, not that there is none.
    Both the beaming and my thought experiment show the same thing: physics has an explanatory gap with personal identity => physicalism is incomplete.
  • DoppyTheElv
    100

    Sure it's incomplete. So is dualism. And panpsychism.

    Physicalists hold out hoping that science will in the end give an answer.
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    Where can I read up on the idea that they are controversial? Do you mean controversial in that it's a bad thought experiment? Or controversial in the sense of they are being discussed?DoppyTheElv

    I just mean that there is a diversity of opinion when it comes to exotic imaginary scenarios involving personal identity. Our intuitions don't seem to deliver a uniform verdict. Some have strong (and divergent) opinions, others are uncertain.

    The teletransporting / copy-beam thought experiment shows that it is unclear what the objective solution is, not that there is none.
    Both the beaming and my thought experiment show the same thing: physics has an explanatory gap with personal identity => physicalism is incomplete.
    SolarWind

    Well, your thought experiment shows only that if you assume dualism at the outset, then dualism is what you will conclude. Same with identity thought experiments: they need not pose problems for physicalism unless you have already assumed that they do.
  • Rafaella Leon
    59
    Being the form of the body, the soul contains in itself, simultaneously, all the possibilities of the body, but it, not being determined only by the body but by the entire space-time framework of earthly existence, can only realize them in very limited scale and a little bit at a time. The sadness of the soul in the terrestrial world does not come from the fact that it "alienates" itself in the body, but that the body continually frustrates and disappoints it, being devoid of that touch of immortality that the soul foresees in itself and of which it would desire, in vain, that the body would also enjoy.

    Also, If there is a well-proven fact in this world, it is the extrasensory perception during the state of clinical death. An inert body, with no heartbeat or any brain activity, suddenly awakens and describes, in great detail, what happened during his trance, not only in the room where he lay, but in the other rooms of the house or hospital, which from where he was he could not see even if he was awake, in good health and with his eyes open. This has been repeated so many times, and it has been attested by so many reputable scientific authorities, that only a complete ignorant in the matter can insist on remaining incredulous. But even some of those who recognize the impossibility of denying the fact are reluctant to draw the conclusion that it necessarily imposes: the limits of human consciousness extend beyond the horizon of bodily activity, including that of the brain. The reluctance to accept this shows that the “modern man” — the product of the culture that we inherited from the Enlightenment — has identified himself with his body to the point of feeling frightened and offended at the mere suggestion that his person is something else. It is evident that this is not just a conviction, an idea, but an incapacitating self-hypnotic trance, an effective block of perception.

    This state is implanted in souls by the tremendous anonymous pressure of the collectivity, which keeps them in a state of spiritual atrophy through the threat of scorn and the fear — imaginary, but no less efficient — of exclusion. Infinitely multiplied and enhanced by the educational system and the media, what was once a mere philosophical idea, or pseudophilosophical, is incorporated into individual personalities as a reflection of self-defense and, to the same extent, restricts the self-perception of each to the minimum necessary for performance in the immediate tasks of socio-economic life. It is all a self-fulfilling prophecy: if overwhelming evidence of extracorporeal perception is denied, it is not just because people do not believe it — it is because they have become truly unable to live it consciously. They live alienated from their deepest and constant psychic experience, locked in a circle of banalities in which the “cultural” and “scientific” triumphalism of the popular media instills an illusion of wealth and variety.

    The “real world” in which these people believe they live is the Galilean-Cartesian dualism, already totally demoralized by the physics of Einstein and Planck, but that the media and the school system continue to impose on the souls of the crowds as the definitive truth: everything that exists in this world are “physical things” and, on top of them, “human thought”, “cultural creations”. On the one hand, the harsh reality of matter governed by supposedly inflexible laws, on which the universal and unquestionable authority of “science” is based; on the other, the soft and ductile paste of the “subjective”, of the arbitrary, where every opinion is worth the same. This “subjective” sphere includes “religion”, which is the right to believe whatever you understand, with the proviso that it never proclaims objective truth or universal value.
  • SolarWind
    25
    Well, your thought experiment shows only that if you assume dualism at the outset, then dualism is what you will conclude. Same with identity thought experiments: they need not pose problems for physicalism unless you have already assumed that they do.SophistiCat

    I can simplify the thought experiment even further. Let us assume that physicalism is true. Then the description of the world would simply be the particles and fields. Some form living beings.

    Nowhere in this description is there any mention of which living being you are.

    The pointer is missing.
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    Physicalism isn't married to the third-person perspective. If physicalism is compatible with the existence of first-person perspectives in general (it had better be, otherwise it would be immediately ruled out), then there's no reason why a physicalist cannot assume a first-person perspective when giving a description of the world.
  • SolarWind
    25


    Compatibility is not enough. That 3 times 3 is 9 does not contradict the world formula, but it does not explain it either.

    Physicalism, as epiphenomenalism, certainly does not contradict the first-person perspective, but it does not explain it either.

    How, please, does a feeling arise from four forces, how many atoms does it need at the very least, does the C-virus also have feelings?

    These are all questions I like to pummel physicists with.
  • Manuel
    66

    "Both worlds are materially identical by definition. However, they differ in who one *is* in this world. If I am person A or Z, I have the body and the memories of person A or Z, respectively."

    If they are different, you would indeed have 26 people. But there aren't people who are materially identical in every respect, including twins.

    If they were identical in every respect in which we consider a person to be a person, and not a statue or something else, then we would have one person, not A-Z.

    This hardly constitutes the rebuttal of monism at all.
  • SophistiCat
    1.5k
    Physicalism is not a theory of everything, so you are severely misguided if you think you can "pound" physicalists with such questions. They'll tell you to go pound sand and they'll be right.
  • SolarWind
    25

    If physicalists don't answer to feelings/qualia, you just admit that physicalism is incomplete?
  • Manuel
    66
    Do psychologists not use "physicalism", when they treat patients? Like do they deny that whatever the patient is suffering is not a real phenomenon just because qualia can't be measured? Hardly, and psychologist worth his salt would take the patients qualia very seriously indeed. It does not follow that the psychologist is departing from rational enquiry when treating a patient, or is otherwise engaging in new age mentalism. A different topic would be to what extent psychology is scientific, but rational enquiry need not be in conflict with science at all. It's just studying different levels of complexity of "physical reality".
  • TheMadFool
    8.3k
    On the face of it, your argument makes sense. We have two materially identical people but each one is a different person in the two worlds. So, in the scenario described in the OP,

    1. A = Z [physicalism is true]

    or

    2. ~A = Z [nonphysicalism is true]

    If 1 is true then physicalism/materialistic monism is true and if 2 is true [some kind of] dualism is true. We need to prove either 1 or 2 for us to settle the matter. From the OP it's clear that you feel 2. ~A = Z is true and your reasons I gather have to do with [experiences and] memories which will be different for A in world WA and Z in world WZ despite A and Z being the same body.

    To what extent do [our experiences and] memories define us? The received wisdom on that score is that people identify themselves by their experiences and memories of these experiences. So, for example, Albert Einstein would've thought of himself as that German Jew who came up with the theory relativity and ushered in the atomic age with memories of that accomplishment to boot.

    However, there's a sense in which a person's identity isn't defined by [experiences and] memories. For instance, for Hermann Einstein and Pauline Koch, Albert Einstein would've still been their adorable son had Albert Einstein chosen a different life say as ballet dancer or a trapeze artist in a circus. This, at a minimum, weakens your argument that [experiences and] memories define our identity. So, 2. ~A = Z is a dubious claim.
  • SolarWind
    25
    @TheMadFool

    You simply compare the set {A*,B,C,...,X,Y,Z} with the set {A,B,C,...,X,Y,Z*}, where the star indicates which life you would live in the corresponding world.
    It is possible that the persons are materially identical in pairs, i.e. A* =(material) A, B =(material) B, ... , Y =(material) Y, Z =(material) Z*. So {A*,B,C,...,X,Y,Z} =(material) {A,B,C,...,X,Y,Z*}, but of course also {A*,B,C,...,X,Y,Z} <>(total) {A,B,C,...,X,Y,Z*}.
    SolarWind

    I do not compare A with Z, but A with A* and Z with Z*. And of course I consider not only the body but also the memories. The memories are stored physically, of course, and belong to the material world.
  • DoppyTheElv
    100

    I just mean that there is a diversity of opinion when it comes to exotic imaginary scenarios involving personal identity. Our intuitions don't seem to deliver a uniform verdict. Some have strong (and divergent) opinions, others are uncertain.SophistiCat

    Yes, I agree. In philosophy there's a whole lot of diversity as a whole.
    Well, your thought experiment shows only that if you assume dualism at the outset, then dualism is what you will conclude. Same with identity thought experiments: they need not pose problems for physicalism unless you have already assumed that they do.SophistiCat

    I'll have to disagree with this though. Working with the given options I have found that the biological and psychological views both suffer greatly (In my opinion) from duplication problems. So I haven't necessarily arrived at dualism. But they both do certainly miss something. That's all really.
  • DoppyTheElv
    100

    Both biological and psychological suffer from duplication problems though!
  • SolarWind
    25
    How to continue?

    Are there people here who think everything is physics?

    Please show your world view.
  • TheMadFool
    8.3k
    Both biological and psychological suffer from duplication problems though!DoppyTheElv

    Sorry, I don't get you.
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