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 03-27-2012, 03:39 PM   #941
jeff_wilson
Computer Scientist
 
jeff_wilson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
That's one of the basic fallacies of twentieth century philosophy. "Relative" is not equivalent to "subjective."
It's also not equivalent to "objective", involving additional considerations to establish that. The other poster seemed to be taking it beyond that, in saying any variation in observation was sufficient to disprove identity, paradoxically presuming identical observers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
And finally, from relative measurements, it is possible to determine measurements that are true in any reference frame, or invariants, such as rest mass, which are not relative.
Isn't the numerical identity likewise an invariant?
__________________
.
Reposed playtest leader.

The Campaigns of William Stoddard

Last edited by jeff_wilson; 03-27-2012 at 03:43 PM.
jeff_wilson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 03:42 PM   #942
ErhnamDJ
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: OK
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Give Pomphis part of the credit. . . .
Pomphis! Ten points!




Was I wrong to think you had it first with:

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
They cannot know that that is true of its current run unless they assume that it's still the same instrument
?
ErhnamDJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:02 PM   #943
Zell
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lund, Sweden
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Up to this point I have (to the best of my knowledge) responded to every single post directed at me, in the order they have appeared. Then whswhs decided to accuse me of not responding to his posts (when the fact of the matter was that he had not responded to my posts and instead choose to drag up an argument I had already responded to, a response that went unanswered). I then ask whswhs to explain what posts I have not responded to. No answer. Everything else I get an answer to but that. I remind him. No answer. And then he again accuses me of not answering, despite the fact that I have charitably responded to every last post directed at me. And in my absence a few of you decide to have a little pat-on-the-back victory dance. It's rather hard to engage in a fruitful intellectual discussion in an environment where such behaviour seems to be tolerated.

This is, to my knowledge, the first post I have written in this discussion that is not preceded with answers to every single post directed at me. If I am wrong, please explain why. Why should I waste my time responding to people who prefer slander and bullying to the simple courtesies of intellectual honesty?
Zell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:03 PM   #944
Kron
 
Kron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

I've been monitoring this discussion with some interest for a while now and I'd like to chip in on the Zell side of this argument.

I'm a bit of a functionalist / eliminativist myself and right now I'm just seeing a bunch of "continuity" vultures circling around and bullying a single person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I've been ignoring you for a while, because (a) you appealed to fundamental physics to argue that "identity" is meaningless, (b) I gave you an argument about the epistemic standing of theoretical physics, and (c) you gave no response to that argument. And then you fell silent. If you feel like addressing my arguments, I restated the essential point to Jeff Wilson recently:
a) Why yes, you you stated his point. Identity is meaningless, and somehow him believing what he believes is justification to ignore him. Talk about maturity.
b) That you did.
c) He responded. #864 -> #870, look it up. I'd quote it here myself but... it's 6 posts.

He didn't fall silent as much as defend himself from other people while reminding you to respond:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zell View Post
Also, a friendly reminder: You sort of skipped something there. Might want to go back and take a look at it. I wouldn't want anyone to say that you are consciously failing to respond to questions you feel unable to answer in a satisfactory way.
Right. Well. Let's get to the arguments shall we?
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, exactly.

Here is your physicist. They want to be able to rely on the accuracy of a machine. But they cannot assume that it is the same machine on the basis of its numerical identity with a machine that had a past history. Instead they must perform a correlational analysis to see if it is similar to the past history they have.

Do they check for correlation of this particular machine with only one past history, the past history of the particular machine they're looking at? How do they pick that one history? It seems that to be sure, they must check it will all the past histories of all the machines, including machines in entirely different cities and countries.
Good question: How do they check for the accuracy of the machine? Do they:

a) Use their memory.
b) Use magic to detect the continuity of the machine.
c) Use magic to detect the continuity of all machines, everywhere.

You think we use (c) when we should be using (b). I think both are impossible and we should use (a). You can't separate out yourself from the system you're considering; you are a part of the physics of the universe and what you think is "continuity" is simply memory present in your mind at a given moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
I think you got 'em whooped with this one.

This is one that makes me real sad I didn't think up myself. I had thought about mentioning testing instruments, but I hadn't made the connection to the machine's identity itself. I was only thinking about the calibration of the machine.

That is one nice argument you have there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Give Pomphis part of the credit. . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
Pomphis! Ten points!
I think this sort of congratulatory high five thing you guys have going on is, all in all, in bad taste. There's no need to be so vindictive about argumentation.
Kron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #945
Zell
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lund, Sweden
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
As a staunch physicalist myself (to put it mildly), I'd be interested to see what you think these flaws are.
The main problem I see is that of multiple realizability. I think a mental state can exist in several different kinds of systems, not only brains.
Zell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:15 PM   #946
ErhnamDJ
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: OK
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kron View Post
There's no need to be so vindictive about argumentation.
I didn't intend to be vindictive. It was just so exciting I couldn't help but cheer.
ErhnamDJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:21 PM   #947
ErhnamDJ
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: OK
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zell View Post
The main problem I see is that of multiple realizability. I think a mental state can exist in several different kinds of systems, not only brains.
But that doesn't seem to me to have anything to do with the issue here.

My interpretation of what Bill was saying, which you were responding to, is that he is a particular physical entity. It has nothing at all to do with mental states. If something else has the same mental states as Bill, they're both not Bill. One is Bill and one is similar-to-Bill.

This is what I was trying to point out earlier with the example of the hydrogen atom. Even if you have two identical hydrogen atoms--or two identical newborns--they're not both the same atom. You can obliterate one with an antihydrogen atom and the other one is still fine. They're not identical in that they each exist in different places simultaneously. If they don't exist in different places, then they are identical. But then, like Bill pointed out, they only number as one.
ErhnamDJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:26 PM   #948
Zell
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lund, Sweden
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
They cannot know that that is true of its current run unless they assume that it's still the same instrument, which rests on its numerical identity. It doesn't matter how well correlated their past runs are with each other. Given any time series whatever, you can come up with a predictive model of it that fits it perfectly—but unless you test that model on new observations, you are not entitled to say that it has any connection with reality.
Well, they can't know, they have to rely on some kind of induction. The only thing this shows is that "numerical identity" in this context can be a useful abstraction, but so can a number of things, including the concept of "soul".

I also fail to see what this has to do with the kind of identity people supposedly have. If someone made a perfect copy of this measuring instrument, calibration and all, and replaced the first instrument with this copy... does it matter? For the sake of argument we can assume that this instrument has "identity" if you want, but it doesn't show us why we should care about it. The copy of the instrument is just as good as the original instrument and fills the same purpose.
Zell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:30 PM   #949
Kron
 
Kron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
This is what I was trying to point out earlier with the example of the hydrogen atom. Even if you have two identical hydrogen atoms--or two identical newborns--they're not both the same atom. You can obliterate one with an antihydrogen atom and the other one is still fine. They're not identical in that they each exist in different places simultaneously. If they don't exist in different places, then they are identical. But then, like Bill pointed out, they only number as one.
If I write the number "1" on a blackboard and a piece of paper, they're the same number. If I erase the blackboard, it has not "destroyed" the number 1. All I've done is erase a single token of the greater type that is 1.

Fundamentally, I see human minds as types (very small sets of possible information encodings that all map to the same combination of personality, memory and skills), while actual physical / digital copies are just tokens.
__________________
"The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim."
- Edsger W. Dijkstra
Kron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2012, 04:38 PM   #950
Zell
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Lund, Sweden
Default Re: Ghosts and Mind Copies - The Identity Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Once again, I am not talking about the identity of my mind; I am talking about my identity as a physical organism. Do you have an eliminative materialist theory of the body?

Incidentally, I've read a fair bit of Paul Churchland, and some of Patricia Churchland, and it's clear that what they are "eliminating" is not the fact that we have experiences; they are not, for example, denying that if I apply a blowtorch to your hand you will feel pain (as the Cartesians did, in relation to nonhuman animals). What they are "eliminating" is the propositional model of mind, or the idea that awareness as such not merely can be described in the form of propositions, but in fact is made up of propositions, so that, if I throw a toy mouse, I can say of my cat, "He knows that it's on the sofa," and suppose that there is something in his mind that literally says "it's on the sofa." But that model was never valid in the first place. It takes the grammatical form of human linguistic communication and hypostatizes it as an internal mental manipulation of internal objects; it assumes that anything that is conscious at all must be conscious in the form of propositions; and it treats the nervous system as if it existed to engage in cognition for its own sake, rather than existing to steer the body around, with cognition taking place as a means to doing so—which tells us a lot about the habits and culture of philosophers but not much about living organisms. If you look into current cognitive science you'll find that the idea of embodied consciousness—the idea that neural information processing is inherently and inescapably tied to bodily activity and functioning—is gaining increasing currency there.
Before we go into this discussion, which I think is rather irrelevant to the subject we are supposed to discuss, let's just get this out of the way: Do you think that an uploaded ghost can have a consciousness, thoughts, emotions and other mental states? (I assume you do, just want to check to be sure.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
As to how I draw the line, I think you're just coming up with a new version of the paradox of the heap. I don't have to be able to define a criterion with molecular precision to know that I am me and my cat is not me. I don't suppose you seriously are ever in any doubt as to who you are, or which body is yours, or whether something is part of your body or not; I think you're just engaged in the classic Cartesian exercise of inventing doubts.
Just because the problem is old doesn't mean it's irrelevant - you still seem to take Aristotle seriously, for example. Everyone knows of the whole Ship of Theseus thing and it is boring and it is done... but if we are to assume the existence of identity, it's also highly relevant to this discussion. If you can't tell me when one identity ends and another begins, all this will be based on hunches. I say that if it's meaningful to talk about identity, the ghost would have the same identity as the uploaded person since I don't see the current configuration of my body as "who I really am" (whatever that means) and you say that it wouldn't have the same identity because you see the current configuration of your body as "who you really are" (whatever that means) and then we can sort of sit and throw our hunches at each other for a few weeks. I would prefer if at least one of us felt some kind of intellectual progress.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Edit: And when you get done with this one, would you go back and respond to my point about the epistemic status of physical theory?
Once again I ask, what posts have I not responded to?
Zell 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 10:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.