Re: duplicatability or copying is problematic

From: Stephen Paul King <>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 18:23:58 -0400

Dear George,

    The problems that I have with Bruno's thesis is Digital substitution and that it does not address the problem of epiphenomenona found in both Idealism and Materialism. Digital substitution seems to assume that consciousness and awareness and related notions can be completely explained in terms of how one number relates to another.
    I think that your would agree that Bruno's thesis is a very sophisticated form of Idealism. It is widely recognized that "matter" and physicality in general is an epiphenomenona within any Ideal theory. This in turn makes the notion of a physical substrate suspect as it does not exist apart from its properties as encoded in numbers, e.g. our consciousness is merely information thus what that information is "encoded" in is irrelevant.
     What I am trying to do is to make the point that it is not sufficient to just take as an article of faith or postulation the idea that digital substitution is actually possible, especially when the epiphenomenona problem is not even addressed! OTOH, if it can be shown that digital substitution is possible in practice then Bruno's thesis will go along way to explaining many things. But there is more to my difficulties than this! Copying, to me, implies that something is doing the copying. What is that which does the copying? Physical states are mere epiphenomenona...


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: George Levy
  To: Everything List
  Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 4:25 PM
  Subject: Re: duplicatability or copying is problematic

  Hi Stephen

  Let me add my grain of salt to Bruno's post. The No Cloning Theorem applies to the physical duplication but not necessarily to the duplication of information that is carried by a physical substrate. For example, you could very well make a copy of a DVD that reproduces exactly the information stored in the DVD without reproducing exactly the atomic arrangement of the DVD.

  The crucial question is whether our consciousness is aware of its physical substrate at the atomic (Planck) level or only at a much higher biological, neurological or psychological level. Would we agree ("Yes Doctor") to an organ substitution at the high level or would we hold out for a a substitution at the Planck level? If we allow copying at the high level, then Bruno's thesis survives.

  How much resolution should the copier have? I don't know the answer to this question. I don't even know if copying (increasing measure) has any ethical significance or any other value or drawbacks.


  Stephen Paul King wrote:

    Dear Bruno,

        Does your thesis survive without the notion of duplicatability or copying? As I have pointed out, QM does not allow duplication and I am hard pressed to understand how duplication can be carried out in classical physics.
        If we merely consider the Platonia of mathematics we find only a single example of each and every number. If we assume digital substitutability there would be one and only one number for each and every physical object. Where does duplication obtain in Platonia? If duplicatability is an impossible notion, does your thesis survive?

Received on Tue Jun 15 2004 - 18:42:37 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:09 PST