Friday, August 6, 2010

Re: Re: The Teletransporter

I have a lot of respect for Jackson for a whole host of reasons one of which is his ability to concisely and intelligently articulate out complex ideas (even from convoluted or vague sources--i.e. me). My biggest problem with this entire scenario involves answering the question of our continued consciousness (or the illusion of consciousness). Jackson is always concerned that I am trying to make some sort of metaphysical leap of faith (assigning something transcendent or 'magical' to the human being rather than just organic compounds). Rest assured Jack I'm not looking for a new faith based on the continuity of the human spirit. I am, however, concerned that once the continued consciousness in my first body is dissassembled that the re-created consciousness would not be a continuation of my previous thinking self but rather a new consciousness with old memories. Thus there could be a permanent separation between the old self and the new self which would prohibit a continuity over the teletransportation.

I'm afraid I do not know if we can resolve this issue. Either you feel this is addressed enough in your argument about the replacement of bodily cells and I have just not fully grasped the ramifications of your argument, or you have yet to quell my fear of death (the end of my continued consciousness).

In regards to spontaneously occurring Lincoln: While biologically we may be able to call this being similar to Abraham Lincoln I think fundamentally the context in which he occurs changes his identity completely. Abraham Lincoln the 16th president no longer exists and despite his spontaneous clone standing over there, he still does not exist. The clone could not represent the same person because Abraham Lincoln is as much a socio-historical concept as he was a person with a personal sense of identity. Lincoln represents a particular part of U.S. history as well as the Civil War and The Emancipation Proclamation (I have my president flash cards handy!). This new version treads new ground in new history and though he may have shared a similar past history with Lincoln he is not Lincoln fundamentally because he is existing now, here beside me.

So the question is does historical temporal relationships matter when defining ones identity? I would say yes, because identity is a social concept not an attempted objective biological one (though that is full of problems as well).


1. The illusion of mind is theoretically reducible to functions, like complex equations that decide behaviors. Because it is just a complex configuration of neurons firing in certain alternating patterns.
2. There is nothing irreducible about man (no soul, no magic, no spirit). Though social concepts like identity may be incredibly difficult to reduce as they are dynamic and not inherently objective (though what is really objective?).
3. Artificial intelligence is theoretically possible.

"4. Artificial intelligence must be co-existant with the teleportation technology. 5. The word "artifical" needs a new definition. "--Why?

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