Re: Romeo and Juliet and QS

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 11:54:04 +0200

At 23:53 -0700 27/09/2002, George Levy wrote:

>Here is a thought experiment illustrating a paradox involving the
>first and third person point of views.
>Romeo and Juliet, being very unhappy with their families, the
>Montague and the Capulet, decide to engage in QS. (By QS, I do not
>mean Quantum Sex, even though such an activity has intriguing
>possibilities indeed. This topic is beyond the subject addressed
>here so I will postpone it for a later posting)

Neither is QS for Qualified Specialist, nor for Quantum Stupidity I suppose.
Instead of telling what QS is not for, you could remind us what
QS *is* for... Ah! Quantum Suicide. I remember.

>After discussing the idea of QS with their dear friend Mercutio,
>Romeo and Juliet decide to go ahead with the project. Mercutio
>design the machine and under his instruction, Balthasar, Romeo's
>loyal servant, builds a QS contraption capable of operating on two
>persons simultaneously. The QS machine is specifically designed not
>to operate if the feud between the Montague and Capulet families
>comes to an end.

I'm afraid it would be better to give the families a deadline!

>Otherwise the machine terminates itself with both persons inside it
>in a microsecond. Anyone within a radius of 20 feet of the machine
>is also terminated.

Even within 19,99999999887642109 feet ?

> A few days later, after a series of successful tests demonstrating
>the non-operation of the machine, (otherwise the tests would destroy
>the machine) the device is ready to operate. Tearfully, Romeo and
>Juliet say their goodbyes to their dear friends. They kiss
>passionately, and slowly step into the machine. Balthasar moves away
>in a hurry afraid for his life. Romeo is sitting in front of the
>command panel. One last time, he looks at Juliet who gives him a
>nod. Romeo pushes the ignition button....
>... and nothing happens, Romeo and Juliet step out of the machine,
>and full of joy, run to their families to announce thier engagement
>and prepare their wedding...
>...and a huge exposion shakes the ground... Balthasar is at a safe
>distance and is not hurt. However, Mercutio, who could not bear to
>lose his friends, had decided at the last minute to share their
>fate. He had moved within one foot of the machine when Romeo hit the
>iginition switch.
>Now here are a few questions involving first and third person points
>of views :
>Q1. What is the first person point of view of Juliet by Balthasar?

What do you mean by "the first person point of view of X by Y"?
Here I would say the (local) third person point of view is the description
of the (genuine part) of the Schroedinger wave. No less.
We are discussing *Quantum* S!
Also, by definition I would say the the first person point of view of X
is available to X, and nobody else. Oh, perhaps you mean someone, belonging
to the same quantum branch, and who
read Juliet (X) personal diary? OK.

>A1. He saw the machine explode. No more Juliet.

In the (locally and even relatively) normal worlds *those* normal
Balthazar saw the machine exploding. No more manifestation of Juliet
relatively to *those* Balthazar, indeed.

>Q2. What is the first person point of view of Juliet by Romeo?
>A2. He sees his dear Juliet alive and well.

And well? What about the vast set of quasi normal worlds
(that is those worlds nearest to the normal world(*) where you relatively
consistently survive)
where Romeo and/or Juliette survive(s) but are wounded, and not so well?
Those worlds where Mercutio can even no more put some new ignition button.
What about those quasi normal worlds where the feud continue but
Romeo and Juliette (and Mercutio, and Balthazar) get a brain disease
and do no more really follow the drama?
Both with comp and (pure) QM, violent self-annihilation send you to hell,
I'm afraid. The amount of energy to annihilate yourself depends on the
unknowable comp level of substitution.

>Q3. What is the first person point of view of Juliet by Mercutio?
>A3. He sees Juliet alive and well.

Same remarks.

>Q4. What is the first person experience of Juliet by Juliet?
>A4 She is happy to be alive and in love with Romeo.

OK (modulo the remarks).

>Now here is the trick question
>Q5. What is the third person point of view of Juliet?


>A5. Balthasar sees Juliet dead, but both Romeo and Mercutio see her
>alive and well.

Just looking at the Balthasar point of views:

The many (normal) Balthasar sees Juliet dead.
The many (but relatively much less) quasi-normal Balthasar sees Juliet, and
Romeo, and Mercutio, terribly wounded.
The exceptional Balthasar sees, with astosnishment, Romeo and Mercutio
alive and well.

(Exceptional because we take Shakespeare word for describing the "normal
world", where the feud is not supposed to stop!)

>There lies the paradox.
>The question should be rephrased as:
>1) What is the third person point of view of Juliet by Romeo,

I don't understand to much this phrasing. I think you described only
first person (plural) points of view. The third person point view
can be taken (by hypothesis) as the wave with its many superposition.
We bet on it. We can never be sure. The third person point of view
is really the intended scientific point of view. By construction it
is doubtful, and with comp, it is never really distinguishable with
some plural first person point of view.

>2) What is the third person point of view of Juliet by Mercutio, and
>3)What is the third person point of view of Juliet by Balthasar.
>This rephrasing however defeats the whole point of having a "third"
>objective person.

Sure. But there is a third person *point of view*. With QS it is the
of the (universal) quantum wave. It has been implicit here. (Note
that you could
have use comp instead).

>There is no such a thing as a third person.

I would agree. I prefer to talk on third person point of view. It is
the ideal point of view of a scientist making a repetable experiment
or a verifiable argument, it is the cart we put on the table, the local
rule of the game we accept for the sake of the argument. Or the local
experimental device we accept as obviously presented.

>The concept of third person should be rephrased in terms of persons
>sharing the same experience because they share the same frame of

I think that this is what I call the first person plural point of view.
Amazing, we where just talking about it. Let me quote myself:

<<This gives rise to a notion of first person plural discourse, which is
just sharable first person discourse, and which can make some of
the typical first person notions (like the 1-indeterminacy) into locally
third person notions (like the apparent quantum indeterminacy).>>
(at the recent )

>In this thought experiment, both Romeo and Mercutio share the same
>frame of reference and therefore perceive Juliet in the same way.

Yes. This exemplifies the need of relativizing the probabilities.
QM illustrates a way to make that relativization in some coherent way.
With comp it is still an open problem, although results shows
it is meaningful to expect such coherence from the constraint of Church

I think your thought experiment illustrates quite well the distinction
between the first person and the first person plural povs.
It is true that sometimes I call the owner of the third person point
of view a "third person". You make me think that this language abuse
can be misleading, thanks.
Your experience illustrates also very well CS, (it is'nt comp sex ;)

I have a question (related to the unsolvable question of the possible
number of persons). Would you say Juliet has survived in case a long
"time" after the "normal" explosion she get total amnesia, and believes
she is ... George Levy?


(*) This is roughly speaking the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for the
conterfactuals, like in Hardegree 1976, and in James J. Joyce book on causal
decision theory suggested by Wei. People interested can also read
the book "Inquiry" by Stalnaker.
Received on Thu Oct 03 2002 - 06:19:53 PDT

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