Re: This is just a copy

Randall R Randall (
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 21:34:37 -0400

On Tue, 7 Jul 1998 20:37:02 -0400 (EDT) Daniel Fabulich <> writes:
>On Mon, 6 Jul 1998, Randall R Randall wrote:

>John Clark's "Waiting for Zed" has a good discussion about The Identity
>Indiscernables: that if two things cannot be told apart from one
>then they are the same. Take a look at this at:

I will, thanks.

>> Right, except for certain purposes (which is
>> usually all that matters).
>Which purposes?

Those which only require that the object perform in a certain manner. For instance, we can say that two "Toyota Corrola" cars are "the same", because they are
*functionally* the same. Even if they were identical in every respect, down to the
molecular level, I am sure you would agree that we really have *two* cars, not just one that we are confusing as two. It is convenient shorthand to say that an
object which is functionally identical to another is the same, but we are now
reaching territory (uploading, IP, etc) where it matters *to the object considered* whether it is really the same object, or just one which is like it. As far as I can see, I agree with Harvey Newstrom's earlier
post on the subject.

>And for that matter, why should we adopt a definition of
>the word "same" which doesn't ever describe anything?

Well, I agree we need another word, but
until recently "same" worked perfectly
well as it was. :)

>I'd much rather say
>that any two things which can't be differentiated are the same and leave
>it at that.

Since we cannot differentiate your
copy of Phillip Glass' music from
mine, are they really the same
music, or can we separate them?

>> Since he has stopped having
>> thoughts indefinitely, how does
>> his plight differ from the same
>> stopping of existence without
>> copies? *He* is still quite dead.
>Except what's that thing over there having thoughts and (up until
>recently) indiscernible from the man on the floor? *Him*, I'd say.

I would say that that other person *may* be the same person, if his consciousness was not interupted in the transfer. If there is a point at which there are two copies in the same time, then at least one of them is not the original.


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