Re: Identity

Randall Randall (
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 15:04:33 -0500 (EST)

John Clark wrote:
> Randall Randall <> Wrote:
> >>Me:
> >> things are made of atoms and atoms have no individuality, if they can't even
> >> give this interesting property to themselves how can they give it to me?
> >In the same way that they can give greenness, or consciousness,
> >though atoms have neither property themselves.
> if the atoms in a blade of grass are are organized in the same way then both are green
> but there is only one green.

"[O]ne green"? I don't know that that makes any sense. I think that it is a little sloppy to use green as a noun, as that leads one to believe that it exists as something distinct from the object which is green. The color "green" is only a property of groups of atoms, not an object, and not a property of only one atom.

> If another bunch of atoms were organized in a Johnclarkish way
> it would be John Clark but there is only one John Clark.

To draw the analogy with color, are you saying that "John Clark" is an adjective (property of matter)?

> >> If I have two printers printing out the same novel and I smash one is the book
> >> destroyed ?
> >Well, the one you stopped certainly is.
> I don't care because nothing irreplaceable has been destroyed.

Well, no, but is that what really matters? Is a promise to record the positions of every atom in your brain sufficient to make your death palatable? I would say not, even though nothing irreplaceable has been destroyed. The point seems to be not whether you can be replaced, but whether this iteration of you ends.

> >>Me:
> >> If I have two phonographs playing the same symphony and I smash
> >> one machine what happens to the music?
> >There certainly is *less* music than before
> I don't care because nothing irreplaceable has been destroyed.
> I never said destroying an exact copy of my brain would not make the
> make the slightest difference to anything, I only said that there
> is no logical reason to think it could make any difference to me, or even
> that I could tell that it happened.

Of course you couldn't tell, but that is true *now*! Yet you haven't suicided. Curious. ;)