Re: Can I kill the original?"

From: J. Goard (
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 19:56:03 MDT

On Mon, 8 May 2000, john grigg wrote:

> Harvey, I completely understand where you are coming from. I view a copy as
> a COPY, and even if ABSOLUTELY like me, it is not "ME." It is instead a
> totally identical twin. This is for me so simple to understand. It will
> start off totally like me, but in time diverge and develop it's own
> identity, to at least an extent.

It seems to be that to call something a perfect "copy" (or even nearly
perfect, for that matter) implies that it experiences a continuity with
the pre-split self, just like the post-split "original" does. You(1) and
you(2) could be aware that you've undergone a copying, but lack external
evidence as to which of you is the "copy" or the "original" (an easily
constructed scenario).

There seem to be three main theories about duplication, with regard to
the subjective awareness of continuity (SAC):

1) It is metaphysically impossible to duplicate a SAC. (The best you
might be able to do is a Turing machine.)

2) Upon duplication, the existing SAC would govern all of the duplicates,
like a "collective ego".

3) Upon duplication, each of the duplicates would consider itself the
continuation, and the others as duplicates. (i.e. split-SAC)

2 reduces to either 1 or 3. If the collective SAC continues to govern all
of the duplicates, even as they acquire different experiences and change
cognitively, physically, etc., then there is never really a duplication,
just an extention of the psychical/bodily toolbox of a single SAC. If the
collective SAC (as some have suggested) degenerates as the units begin to
change, then it must turn into either a set of SACs (3) or the single SAC
plus some SAC-less machines (maybe Turing machines). (1)

1 is interesting. Is there any way to hold it without accepting
metaphysical dualism? Also, if you were to create a duplicate of a
person, minus their SAC, is it even possible that it could be a perfect
Turing machine? That is, are certain observable traits (perhaps
creativity, artistry, certain forms of self-preservation) actually effects
of the presence of a SAC?

3 is also interesting. From the perspective of the pre-split SAC, would
it be accurate to assign a 1/n probability of continuing into each of the
n post-split SACs?

--J. Goard--

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