Re: Dualism and the DA

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 10:44:40 -0700 (PDT)

Pete Carlton writes:
> I think the second question, "where will I be in the next
> duplication", is also meaningless. I think that if you know all the
> 3rd-person facts before you step into the duplicator - that there
> will be two doubles made of you in two different places, and both
> doubles wil be psychologically identical at the time of their
> creation such that each will say they are you - then you know
> everything there is to know. There is no further question of "which
> one will >I< be"? This is simply a situation which pushes the folk
> concept of "I" past its breaking point; we don't need to posit any
> kind of dualism to paper over it, we just have to revise our concept
> of "I".

I agree that this view makes sense. We come up with all these mind
bending and paradoxical thought experiments, and even though everyone
agrees about every fact of the third-person experience, no one can agree
on what it means from the first person perspective. Maybe, then, there
is no "fact of the matter" to agree on, with regard to the first person.

On the other hand, in a world where Star Trek transporters were common,
it seems likely that most people would carry over their conventional views
about continuity of identity to the use of this technology. Once they
have gone through it a few times, and have memories of having done so,
it won't seem much different from other forms of transportation.

Copies seem a little more problematic. We're pretty cavalier about
creating and destroying them in our thought experiments, but the social
implications of copies are enormous and I suspect that people's views
about the nature of copying would not be as simple as we sometimes assume.

I doubt that many people would be indifferent between the choice of
having a 50-50 chance of being teleported to Moscow or Washington, vs
having copies made which wake up in both cities. The practical effects
would be enormously different. And as I wrote before, I suspect that
these practical differences are not to be swept under the rug, but point
to fundamental metaphysical differences between the two situations.

Hal Finney
Received on Mon Jun 20 2005 - 14:43:27 PDT

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