Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Transhuman Space

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-09-2009, 09:49 AM   #1
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by mindstalk View Post
Still, it's reproduction of the older me at backup, not of the current me falling off the cliff, and it's that latter perspective I said we didn't have an intuitive handle on.
It seems straightforward to me. The current you falling off the cliff faces death: The final termination of its consciousness. But it has an heir that may carry on for it. It's kind of like leaving the family business to your son. . . .

Bill Stoddard
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 08:05 PM   #2
zogo
 
zogo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Behind You!
Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

I tend to think that the thing we call "identity" is a whole mishmash of different things which for us all go together, but THS level tech starts to seperate into different things.
__________________
Patrick Ley
"If your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you."
--Mal in "Our Own Mrs. Reynolds" Firefly
zogo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 08:22 PM   #3
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zogo View Post
I tend to think that the thing we call "identity" is a whole mishmash of different things which for us all go together, but THS level tech starts to seperate into different things.
Good point. Which is, in fact, a general good point about THS: it forces you to consider some things which we are used to take in stride without thinking.

[Edit]Okay, this post was actually supposed to be more about the THS setting and its seriousness, but no harm done.[/edit]
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
Also, GURPS Discord is a nice place for (faster) Q&A and overall GURPS dicussion.

Last edited by vicky_molokh; 12-09-2009 at 08:59 PM.
vicky_molokh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 09:02 PM   #4
Agemegos
 
Join Date: May 2005
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It seems straightforward to me. The current you falling off the cliff faces death: The final termination of its consciousness.
Furthermore, when the backup is activated it will have no awareness of having escaped danger. As a means of escaping death, backup mindscans are not even good psychology, let alone good metaphysics. I wouldn't expect many people to use them unless they are very cheap.
Agemegos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 09:09 PM   #5
Agemegos
 
Join Date: May 2005
Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zogo View Post
I tend to think that the thing we call "identity" is a whole mishmash of different things which for us all go together, but THS level tech starts to seperate into different things.
Sound metaphysical position. The answers to all metaphysical questions depend wholly on the definitions chosen, and different definitions are suitable for different purposes.
Agemegos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 09:31 PM   #6
Agemegos
 
Join Date: May 2005
Default The Problem of Identity in THS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh View Post
Good point. Which is, in fact, a general good point about THS: it forces you to consider some things which we are used to take in stride without thinking.
Some people, SF fans and philosophers of metaphysics for instance, don't need much forcing. It's the problem of Identity, the Parable of Theseus' Ship, and people have been playing with it since Aristotle. It is, therefore, worth reading some of teh SF and metaphysical philosophy that addresses the issues. It can be fun, too.

I recommend the book The Mind's I, which is a collection of profound and amusing writings on the metaphysics of identity and consciousness by various authors taking different positions, assembled and with reflections by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett. It's a good read, not too heavy, and very much on topic for Transhuman Space

Last edited by Agemegos; 12-09-2009 at 09:37 PM.
Agemegos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 09:58 PM   #7
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett View Post
Sound metaphysical position. The answers to all metaphysical questions depend wholly on the definitions chosen, and different definitions are suitable for different purposes.
The specific clash here is between two concepts of "identity" with different definitions: qualitative identity and numerical identity. Qualitative identity is being an entity of a particular kind, defined by particular traits. Numerical identity is being a particular individual.

Grammatically, qualitative identity is represented by common nouns: I am a human being, I am a libertarian, I am a GURPS player. Numerical identity is represented by proper nouns: I am Bill Stoddard. Much of what happens in discussion of this topic is attempts to turn proper nouns into common nouns, so that being-a-particular-individual is equated with being-an-entity-of-a-particular-kind. This is encouraged in THS, of course, by the postulated available of cheap, easy copying methods for (certain) sapient beings.

But there's a different question that's attached to this, which is that of the persistence of viewpoint. This is, if not a subjective question, a question of the nature of subjectivity as such, of what it is to have a subjective viewpoint. The question seems to attach to the question of numerical identity: If we envision individual A at time 1 and individual B at time 2 as having the same subjective viewpoint, then we envision A and B as being the same individual. So "the same" attaches to the question of what we mean when we say that there is continuity of viewpoint.

Does that seem to capture the crucial issues?

Bill Stoddard
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 10:17 PM   #8
Jc1991
 
Join Date: May 2008
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

This is certainly an interesting subject. I'm having a bit of trouble with Mr. Stoddard's viewpoint though. Could you explain what numerical identity is, exactly? In physical, rather than linguistic, terms, that is.
Jc1991 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 10:39 PM   #9
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyïv, Ukraine
Default Re: Is Transhuman Space a "silly" genre?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The specific clash here is between two concepts of "identity" with different definitions: qualitative identity and numerical identity. Qualitative identity is being an entity of a particular kind, defined by particular traits. Numerical identity is being a particular individual.

Grammatically, qualitative identity is represented by common nouns: I am a human being, I am a libertarian, I am a GURPS player. Numerical identity is represented by proper nouns: I am Bill Stoddard. Much of what happens in discussion of this topic is attempts to turn proper nouns into common nouns, so that being-a-particular-individual is equated with being-an-entity-of-a-particular-kind. This is encouraged in THS, of course, by the postulated available of cheap, easy copying methods for (certain) sapient beings.

But there's a different question that's attached to this, which is that of the persistence of viewpoint. This is, if not a subjective question, a question of the nature of subjectivity as such, of what it is to have a subjective viewpoint. The question seems to attach to the question of numerical identity: If we envision individual A at time 1 and individual B at time 2 as having the same subjective viewpoint, then we envision A and B as being the same individual. So "the same" attaches to the question of what we mean when we say that there is continuity of viewpoint.

Does that seem to capture the crucial issues?

Bill Stoddard
It certainly captures what your position is, but it doesn't do anything for the fact that 'viewpoint' is about as provable and disprovable as a soul: while it might be comforting to think that one's viewpoint exists and is unique (non-copyable), there's no way to detect another person's viewpoint (as separate from their mind!).

It's also important to remember that people accepts breaks of continuity as not being able to destroy an identity (my father after stroke is still my father etc.). That's in addition to the fact that Vick-1984 and Vick-2009 have less in common than two xoxes from the same minute.
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
Also, GURPS Discord is a nice place for (faster) Q&A and overall GURPS dicussion.
vicky_molokh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-09-2009, 11:44 PM   #10
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jc1991 View Post
This is certainly an interesting subject. I'm having a bit of trouble with Mr. Stoddard's viewpoint though. Could you explain what numerical identity is, exactly? In physical, rather than linguistic, terms, that is.
Numerical identity is being, for example, the same physical entity.

When I go to a game, and take out my copy of GURPS Powers, and some of my players take out their copies, and they are borrowed by players who don't own copies, and at the end, I ask, "Is this my copy?"—I'm asking about numerical identity. They're all copies of the same book, so they all have the same qualitatitive identity. But each copy has a different numerical identity.

In some cases, they might have subtle differences that do not change their qualitative identity; for example, my copy is autographed by Steve Jackson. In others, if it mattered, we could create such differences to keep track of which was whose copy: I could put a red tag on mine, and my players could put other tags on theirs. In still other cases, we might not have such signs to refer to, but if we had videotaped the session, a careful examination of the videotape could reveal that each book followed a distinct timelike path through space-time.

But even if we didn't do that, and had no way of telling which book was whose, it would not happen that my book, which was being read by JPS, and JT's book, which was being read by MB, who was sitting next to JPS, would suddenly change numerical identities, so that it would be JT's book in JPS's hands and my book in MB's hands. Numerical identity of macroscopic objects does not hop around like that.

Bill Stoddard
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
verhängnisthread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.