Re: Transporter Paradox

From: James Higgo <>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 16:50:18 -0000

Bravo, George. This is a derivation of Liebnitz's point.

How many more ingenious 'solutions' will there be to the paradoxes that
belief in a 'first person' leads to? Quite a few I imagine, as nobody can
countenance for a split-second that they don't exist as a 'person'. They
absolutely insist on assuming a whole world of remembered experience of
which they have no direct knowledge. It seems we are hard-wired not to hear
the question, not to allow ourselves to doubt our souls for a moment.

----- Original Message -----
From: George Levy <>
To: <>; <>
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2001 6:44 PM
Subject: Re: Transporter Paradox

> This is a continuation of the "Indescribable merde" thread, title which I
had enough
> of.
> In my previous post I explained how a purely deterministic universe ( a
state machine)
> could not have any branching. Transitions represented in phase space would
appear to
> be lines that never cross. If two lines join, then they stay joined for
ever, since
> there is no mechanism for splitting them. Indeed if such a splitting
mechanism did
> exist, then it would have to be indeterminate or "outside" this universe.
Once this
> universe gets into a loop, then it stays in that loop for ever.
> Bruno Marchal has explored the concept of first person indeterminacy by
means of what
> we may call the "Star Trek" transporter. If the transporter operates such
that a
> person (Bruno) is transported from Brussels to both Moscow and
Washington, in effect
> creating two copies, then, from the first person point of view, he argues,
there is
> indeterminacy in so far as the final destination is concerned.
> How can that indeterminacy be reconciled with the idea of keeping the
universe purely
> deterministic which preclude the possibility of indeterminacy?
> I believe that the solution to this paradox lies in the fact that the
transporter is
> not perfect. In fact, it is the transporter that generates the
indetermincy. Here is
> why.
> If the transporter was perfect, then, obviously, the copies would have
to be
> perfect. This means they would have to include all their extensions which
> clothing, close environments and far environments. To be rigorous, let's
say that all
> the environment withing a light cone of the observer is reproduced by the
> such that no information can possibly be lost.
> Such a transporter feat would have to transform at the speed of light,
> Washington and Moscow, and make them in the image of Brussels. I am not
sure if this
> enormous feat of civil engineering would be welcome, but this is besides
the point.
> Now, with this extended transporter operation, the copies being
transported to the
> new Washington and the new Moscow would have no way of knowing that they
are still not
> in Brussels! In fact, one could argue that from their point of view, the
> has not worked and they are still in Brussels. Therefore, from the first
person point
> of view, there is no indeterminacy!
> Therefore, it appears that the only way to generate indeterminacy, even
first person
> indeterminacy, in a deterministic universe, is to allow the definition of
a person's
> consciousness to be fuzzy. Bruno's assumption that indeterminacy can be
deduced from
> COMP is faulty. It may be that indeterminacy is a fundamental, rather than
> property of consciousness. It may be that it is an anthropically imposed
property and
> necessary condition for consciousness.
> George
Received on Sun Mar 18 2001 - 09:26:12 PST

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