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Old May 20 2011, 01:58 AM   #1
HAL.9000
Lieutenant Commander
 
Location: Jupiter space
A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

OK, so you get into this device, it transforms your atoms to energy of some kind and rebuilds it again at some other location.

The question is: is it really you or just a copy of you?

Define the "real you."

For arguments sake let's do away with the idea that we have an internal spirit or "soul" for a moment.

When transported, are you still "that" person or did you just happened to die and blink out of existence to be replaced by a perfect copy, atom by atom, of you with the universe no wiser to the fact that the "original" you is long gone?

If this technology ever does come to pass, it will pose some difficult questions such as this.

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Old May 20 2011, 02:02 AM   #2
marksound
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

If the tech becomes available, and your name is Brundle, run away!
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Old May 20 2011, 02:02 AM   #3
sojourner
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Just a few threads down:
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=142243
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Old May 20 2011, 03:58 AM   #4
xortex
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

What if it made a better you? But the thing is, you don't need a transporter to ask that question as alternate realities serve the same function, but who you are is not only defined by you, is it. I'm sure somebody would notice something, if there is something else to notice.
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Old May 20 2011, 05:43 AM   #5
T'Girl
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

HAL.9000 wrote: View Post
For arguments sake let's do away with the idea that we have an internal spirit or "soul" for a moment.
Then you're nothing but an animal, take off your clothes, walk outside and poop on the lawn.
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Old May 20 2011, 05:53 AM   #6
HAL.9000
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
HAL.9000 wrote: View Post
For arguments sake let's do away with the idea that we have an internal spirit or "soul" for a moment.
Then you're nothing but an animal, take off your clothes, walk outside and poop on the lawn.
I've known real animals with bigger hearts than humans, so dont speak ill of them.
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Old May 20 2011, 12:17 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

The very act of being at place B instead of place A is gonna change you, regardless of whether you go there by transporter or by pony cart. So we should not concern ourselves with the tiniest details of sameness, as the events will obscure those from us (or from outside observers) anyway.

If the teleporter doesn't take your soul along for the ride, then it hasn't created a perfect copy, and supposedly this scenario deals with perfect copies only. So that's another thing we should not worry about. If the device neatly removes one body and creates another, but messes up some other details such as creating extra souls or losing the original, then it's a different question, and we should probably call a quantum mechanic to fix the machine before we try again.

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Old May 20 2011, 01:22 PM   #8
scotpens
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

A person is defined by his consciousness. The mind is the person. If you step onto a transporter pad and arrive at the other end with your personality, knowledge, experiences and memories intact, then it’s irrelevant whether the transporter simply “teleports” you or destroys your physical body and creates a new one. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
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Old May 20 2011, 01:31 PM   #9
Sean Aaron
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

scotpens wrote: View Post
A person is defined by his consciousness. The mind is the person. If you step onto a transporter pad and arrive at the other end with your personality, knowledge, experiences and memories intact, then it’s irrelevant whether the transporter simply “teleports” you or destroys your physical body and creates a new one. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
Yes, if (as seems to be the case) your consciousness is merely an electrical pattern, then provided sufficient error correction you would be totally unharmed and the same person.

If you believe your physical shell is inhabited by a non-replicable spirit then I suppose a brain-dead corpse would appear on the other end or worse your body possessed by an opportunistic demon from R'yleh or something worse!
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Old May 20 2011, 02:23 PM   #10
HAL.9000
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Sean Aaron wrote: View Post
scotpens wrote: View Post
A person is defined by his consciousness. The mind is the person. If you step onto a transporter pad and arrive at the other end with your personality, knowledge, experiences and memories intact, then it’s irrelevant whether the transporter simply “teleports” you or destroys your physical body and creates a new one. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
Yes, if (as seems to be the case) your consciousness is merely an electrical pattern, then provided sufficient error correction you would be totally unharmed and the same person.

If you believe your physical shell is inhabited by a non-replicable spirit then I suppose a brain-dead corpse would appear on the other end or worse your body possessed by an opportunistic demon from R'yleh or something worse!
Consciousness is really nothing more than electric brain activity. Remove the activity, you remove the consciousness. Sounds simple enough. But if it's so simple then why cant I swap my consciousness for yours. In other words...be YOU in YOUR body.

I think there is something unique about consciousness that science is of yet unaware of. It may be more than the sum of its parts.

Take identical twins for example. They are identical in all aspects. Yet they have seperate conciousness. They are not interchangeable. If a theoretical transporter is nothing more than a twin-machine, then there is a very good possibility that the original is destroyed...along with it's unique consciousness, and a duplicate produced, with an identical consciousness but not necessarily that of the original person. Heavy.
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Old May 20 2011, 02:44 PM   #11
Sean Aaron
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

HAL.9000 wrote: View Post
I think there is something unique about consciousness that science is of yet unaware of. It may be more than the sum of its parts.

Take identical twins for example. They are identical in all aspects. Yet they have seperate conciousness. They are not interchangeable. If a theoretical transporter is nothing more than a twin-machine, then there is a very good possibility that the original is destroyed...along with it's unique consciousness, and a duplicate produced, with an identical consciousness but not necessarily that of the original person. Heavy.
That uncertainty is why I wouldn't want to use one of those things!
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Old May 20 2011, 04:48 PM   #12
xortex
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

So you mean the people in the 24th century are not who they originally were. Maybe they're actors. And how much will a quantum mechanic charge to fix me?
I am not an animal. Wait a minute, yes, I am an animal, sorry, I thought.. sharp inscisors, claws, a taste for blood and raw meat, pooping on the lawn, what am I saying. Of course I'm an animal. I think therefore I am.. What? an airplane? What I think I am? If we were dead, how would we know about it?
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Old May 20 2011, 05:07 PM   #13
scotpens
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

^^ “I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! . . .

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Old May 21 2011, 04:13 AM   #14
plynch
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Poop on the lawn is the second time I've laughed out loud tonight reading the bbs.

I think i'll go do it.
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Old May 21 2011, 06:01 AM   #15
Nerdgasm
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Re: A philosophical question regarding transporter technology.

Regardless of the existence of souls, or flying spaghetti monsters, or any other supernatural force - a transporter basically amounts to a 3D fax machine.

It scans an object, converts it into a digital, electrical signal composed of instructions on how to build "you", and the object gets printed on the receiving side. Sending blueprints of a human is a lot more probable than breaking apart your individual atoms, converting them all to energy, and then reconverting/rebuilding you the exact same atoms in the exact same locations.

Most likely you would be discarded and a new being with your memories and attributes would be created. If it were you, you'd simply be killed while another entity carried on your existence. To the outside world and to the most recent copy of you, this shedding of lives would cause no perceptible changes.
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