Re: The copy paradox

Harvey Newstrom (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 10:30:57 -0500

An exact copy of Hal Finney wrote:
>>This is not quite what I mean by a copy. I want my copy to have real-time
>>updates of my current mental state. It's not good enough if a copy was
>>made a few minutes ago and now I am faced with some problem. Likewise
>>there is no way that I can be a slave and my "copy" be free, because
>>obviously his mental state does not match mine.

Hmmm. This changes the hypothetical situation completely. I missed the
part about having real-time updates. I'm not sure this is the same copy
scenario I was considering, since the original and the copy must share
the same thoughts and cannot diverge or be disconnected. Wouldn't
killing the original create a disconnection or a divergence in
experience that would raise the same objections? The only complication
with killing the original is that the only witness who would object to
the procedure is silenced, and there is no longer an original reference
with which to validate the copy. This merely makes it harder to prove
they are not the same, but does not make the procedure any more
functional than if the original were allowed to live. If the original
is allowed to live, you agree that the copy and the original are not the
same. If you kill the original, I still maintain the same position,
only now the copy is the closest thing to the original now remaining.

It seems that you would still exist in your original body. You are just
experiencing a real-time simulation of what the copy is experiencing.
When I disconnect the real-time update in preparation to kill the
original, wouldn't the original object that it has lost contact with its
second body and is now existing only in the original body? Wouldn't the
original have the same desire and curiosity to want to go continue
experiencing life? It almost seems that the copy argument for extending
lifespan focusses on continuing information and services to other
people. If they do not perceive a change, the experiment is declared a
success. It does not focus on information and services still be
provided to the original. All such information and service is halted.
The original ceases to function, but none of his external contacts care.

Harvey Newstrom  (