Re: Does a copy know?

Kennita Watson (
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 02:00:53 -0700

Geoff Smith wrote (I think I got these attributions right -- apologies if
my nesting interpretation is faulty):

>> John K. Clark wrote:
>> ...
>> Would two like beings share the same consciousness? After all they are the
>> same person. Would I know my copies thoughts?
>I think JK would agree with me on this point: Yes. If you are exact
>copies, and continue to be so, you would have exactly the same thoughts.

I think the problem is with "and continue to be so". The two may be the
same at the instant of copying, but as soon as they are in different
locations, they begin to have different inputs, so their thoughts begin
to diverge. With no inputs, the thoughts might be the same (though
discussions a ways back about quantum uncertainty leave the matter open
in my mind), but as soon as they look at the lines in the ceiling from
different angles, and from one's point of view they come together at
angles reminiscent of those of a boat, and from the other's at angles
reminiscent of those of a sawhorse, they are off thinking about different
things and cease to be identical.

They can't know each other's thoughts, because A probably can't imagine
what the ceiling looks like from B's point of view, and vice versa, and
even if they could, it would be imagining, not seeing, which uses
different neural pathways. I'm not sure how quick the divergence would
be, but I think it would be nonzero in short order.


Kennita Watson | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,| but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do
| members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
| -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_