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  #81  
Old 07-12-2009, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Sohna View Post
Although it's not been expressly stated, what this appears to be (STV vs. BB) is a religious argument. Consciousness cannot be conclusively proven by scientific methods. Philosophic experiments (mind experiments) attempt to get close, but are not all in agreement. Therefore, by one definition (i.e. school of philosophy) Botany Bay is correct and Star Trek Viewer is incorrect. By another school of philosophy, Star Trek Viewer is correct and Botany Bay is incorrect. The only recourse to resolution is faith: What one or the other believes is true. (Note that in philosophical parlance, faith of this type includes atheists, as they have faith that God does not exist). Faith does not require proofs; it is specifically defined as belief without proof.

Arguments that attempt to define consciousness, or that require consciousness to be defined, cannot be conclusively resolved. That is, there will always be someone who holds a differing definition of consciousness that you will be unable to convince with such an argument. Instead, such arguments, no matter how civil they may have begun, will devolve into a religious argument. The problem with religious arguments is that they are fought from stances of faith; they require no proof whatsoever. They also tend to be tightly bound to a person's identity, so that any perceived attack against them is viewed as a personal attack (whether it was meant that way or not). Again, this is true not only of a person who professes belief in God, but also of atheists who hold fast to their disbelief.

That said, can we just say that if consciousness is defined as Botany Bay suggests, then he is correct in his assessment; likewise, if consciousness is defined as Star Trek Viewer suggests, then he is correct in his assessment, and leave it at that?
I think we remained fairly civil. It was a fun debate, and it's not really over.

However, I do think that I've made my point, and I'm willing to walk away from it for a while.
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  #82  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
If you concede that there are two subjectivities, then even -- for example -- if you say that subjectivity and consciousness are not the same (which is a strange distinction, by the way) then you must explain how the same consciousness can simultaneously be in two different subjectivities. All of experience states that it cannot, and in fact, we essentially define a normal consciousness has having only one perspective at a time.
If we do assume conciousness do be induced by a brain, if we assume conciousness to be an effect of a cause, then in the case the transport is complete there are no two subjectivities. Brain#1 is gone and stops inducing Jack. Because the induction of conciousness stoped, thats why Jacks subjectivity disappears with it, like conciousness disappears during unconciousness and subjectivity with it.

After transport brain#2 starts to induce Jack and a subjectivity with it. There are no two subjectivities. Only in transporter failiure, when there are two brains inducing Jack, only then there are two subjectivities. These lead to feed Jack with two different streams of experience and make the conciousness grow in two.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
This means that the Jack that was created has a different consciousness THAT IS NOT THAT OF THE FIRST JACK. That's the crux of the primary claim: A person-copier transporter cannot preserve the identical consciousness and, where it disintegrates the first Jack, the first Jack is destroyed because his consciousness is destroyed.
The conciousness is not OF Jack. The conciousness IS Jack. The conciousness is induced BY Jacks body. There are only two Jacks if there are two bodies, both inducing Jack at the same time.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
Thus, even if the first Jack had been disintegrated, we know from that fact that the second Jack's consciousness remains different. We know this because, as you've also conceded, consciousness does not migrate from body to body and, besides, there would be no reason for the original Jack's consciousness to migrate to the second Jack's in the second hypothetical (original Jack is destroyed) when it did not in the first (original Jack remains). To argue otherwise is to appeal to a mystery of your own making (i.e., that we allegedly couldn't tell the difference).
The conciousness does not need to migrate. You still fail to see that conciousness is not physical. If the brain induces conciousness and brain#1 as brain#2 induce in the very same ways, then they will induce the same conciousness.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
This is misunderstanding of my clearly stated view. I've said a number of times that it is not temporal discontinuity that is the problem; it is the loss of the identical substrate that gave rise to it. How many times have I said that I am a materialist? At least twice, explicitly, in this tread, and several more times by implication.

The Star Trek Viewer of yesterday is me because we share the same body. There aren't two consciousnesses, accordingly, but only one.

So I think if we continue along these lines, you and I would be arguing in circles.
You completely fail to see the point of the Time-Traveler-Paradox. Its not about discontinuity of conciousness.

If the StarTrekViewr of today is the same conciousness as the StarTrekViewer of yesterday, then using a time mashine to introduce the two to eachother and make them shake hands means, that one and the same conciousness meets itself in two equal bodies at one time.

That, according to your explanation, is not possible, they must be two different conciousnesses. But then the StarTrekViewer of yesterday can not be the same conciousness as the StarTrekViewer of today. Ergo you are a different conciousness at any point in time.

If that is the case, then the whole person-copying-problem becomes obsolete and disappears. If we are a different conciousness every moment in time, then Jack#1 disappears as he naturally would have anyway, and Jack#2 appears a moment later and is a different conciousness as it would have happened anyway, with or without copying. They would have been two different conciousnesses anyway, due to the natural progress of time.

Thats what the time-traveler-paradox is all about: Are you the same conciousness as yesterday or not? If yes, then how could two conciousnesses shake hand?

This doesnt proof anything, but questions our conception of conciousness and indicates that we are mistaken when seeing conciousness as something physical and fixed, as you seem to do.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
7. "Music" can be what is heard as the succession of notes played in a single session in a recording that is played back and heard. Let's call this "Music7."

You cannot use these meanings loosely and then claim that "music" is the same. While in your scenario, the same music in the senses of Music1 through Music6 exists, the two instances of music in the sense of Music7 are not the same, because they are not heard by the same person at any one time.
I said conciousness is induced by the brain like a radio plays music. I said two different radios can play the same music as two different brains can induce the same conciousness.

You agree that two different radios can play the same music, using the definition of music 1 through 6.

Definition seven is not about music, but perception of music. Two different perceptions of two different people can never be the same, agreed.

But I never said that two different radios can cause the same perception of music. I said they can play the same music. And it seems to me you must agree, given that definition 1 through 6 do comply with my statement and 7 isnt a definition of music at all.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
Consciousness is the apprehension of something and therefore the closest definition that fits our discussion is Music7. This is why I say that the two instances of music are not the same.
Here you are actually refuting definition 7 yourself and thus, again, must agree with me: Two different radios can indeed play the same music. Given that conciousness and music are somewhat analogious, that gives us another hint in what direction we have to think when we think about conciousness. But, yeah, analogies suck anyway.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
You once again don't seem to understand my argument. I consider consciousness to be a projection of the physical substrate and tied to a specific physical substrate.
Yeah, and by that you inject the impossibility that the same conciosuness could be generated by a different brain into your very definition of conciousness. You exclude a possibility a priori and then its no wonder you find the indepence of conciousness from a specific substrate impossible a posteriori. Thats why I am saying, you are not honestly examining my argumentation. You read it, search for formal logical fallacies and contradictions, but you do not really consider it. This will not get us far.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
I wouldn't object to its "induction," in your sense, because it doesn't matter whether it's "induced" or not.
That conciousness is induced by a brain is essential to understand the nature of conciousness. Again you merely dismiss to think something through, with all its consequences, merely because you have made up your mind allready: Conciousness is tied to a specific physical substrate, period. You do not honestly examine other possibilities.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
But, even in this, in the hypothetical in which the first Jack is not disintegrated, you could empirically distinguish the first Jack from the second Jack. You can do this if you can count from 1 to 2. This is how we know that the second Jack's consciousness is not the second's, and you conceded that they are different.
I conceded they have different subjectivities, given you mean perspective. You didnt clarify that so I take it you mean perspective. Again, if brain#1 stops to induce the conciousness Jack, then the subjectivity Jack is stoped being induced too. If brain#2 induces the conciousness Jack, then there is also a subjectivity. If both, brain#1 and brain#2 induce the conciousness Jack, then the conciousness becomes two, due to two subjectivities, that is two different flows of experience, that make the conciousnesses grow apart from eachother pretty fast.

Conciousness is not physical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sohna View Post
Although it's not been expressly stated, what this appears to be (STV vs. BB) is a religious argument.
No, not really. To make this a religious debate we woud need to cite dogmas that are believed to be set by a supernatural intelligence and pose those dogmas as arguments, ignoring that they are not possible to check and ignoring all experience contradicting these dogmas. I dont see where anyone has quoted an unproven supernatural intelligence as source of knowledge here.

What is tested here are different definitions of conciousness and it is examined what consequences the definitions have, where they comply with experience or where they contradict experience, or where they could create a paradox. And so far both are not free from paradox. The wordlview I attempted to test has difficulties to explain the Two-Jacks-Paradox and StarTrekViewer cant proof the continuity of conciousness as he cant account for the dependence of concoiusness on a specific physical substrate and the impossibility a different substrate could induce the same conciousness. Thus his argument lacks a foundation other then assertion. Or may be I am merely uncapable of seeing the foundation.

And no, atheism is not a faith in the non existance of a god, but the absence of faith in such a being. But I dont want to go into this debate again. There is a thread here somewhere, where this gets debated at length.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 07-13-2009 at 04:06 AM.
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  #83  
Old 07-13-2009, 05:38 AM
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I feel that you are repeating yourself, Botany Bay, and that your position to the extent that you say that a single consciousness can be in two different bodies is simply untenable.

You make that position clear as follows:

Quote:
If the StarTrekViewr of today is the same conciousness as the StarTrekViewer of yesterday, then using a time mashine to introduce the two to eachother and make them shake hands means, that one and the same conciousness meets itself in two equal bodies at one time.
But this is never the case even in Star Trek, despite all the anomalous transporter episodes we have seen. Except possibly for transient psychic occurrences, we NEVER see a single human consciousness act as though he could be in two places at the same time. In the episode with two Kirks, for example, each Kirk acts as though he is a different person from the other. In the episode with two Rikers, neither even knows of the existence of the other, much less perceives through the other's body.

Can you think of an episode that proves your point?

Back to reality -- do you believe that you have ever encountered an individual that could see through another individual's eyes? I daresay that, outside of some kind of possession, such a thing cannot be remotely enocountered.

You also say that you think that perspective is different from consciousness. However, experience tells us that every consciousness has a single perspective at any one time that is different from the perspective of any other consciousness. The exception to this, again, might be some form of possession, if you believe in such things. (However, even possession has a different cast, since in such cases, it isn't the consciousness that was originally in the body that still operates that body.)

I think we've made our positions clear. I do not admit the possibility that something that is outside the realm of experience -- two bodies having one consciousness -- can be permitted. You, however, think that it's possible. That strikes me as a supernatural belief.

We will have to agree to disagree.

Last edited by Star Trek Viewer : 07-13-2009 at 05:47 AM.
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  #84  
Old 07-13-2009, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
Except possibly for transient psychic occurrences, we NEVER see a single human consciousness act as though he could be in two places at the same time. In the episode with two Kirks, for example, each Kirk acts as though he is a different person from the other. In the episode with two Rikers, neither even knows of the existence of the other, much less perceives through the other's body.

Can you think of an episode that proves your point?
You completely sidestep the problem of the time-traveler-paradox and again ignore it. I dont know why I am asked by you to quote Star Trek episodes where a time traveler meets himself. Why do you need a Star Trek episode to give you the paradox? Why is me explaining the paradox to you not enough?

However, here is your episode (eventhough I dont see what you need that for):

TNG: Time Squared




Quote:
Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
Back to reality -- do you believe that you have ever encountered an individual that could see through another individual's eyes? I daresay that, outside of some kind of possession, such a thing cannot be remotely enocountered.
Again you sidestep the problem with assertion. I never said I saw someone look through someone elses eyes. I never said one conciousness can have two subjectivities. I said in case of two subjectivities the conciousness grows apart and becomes two. I said that in the context of a hypothetical mind experiment. You again just ignore the argument.

How do you know that the same conciousness can not be induced by another substrate? You ignored that too. And for me thats the elephant in the room here.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
You also say that you think that perspective is different from consciousness. However, experience tells us that every consciousness has a single perspective at any one time that is different from the perspective of any other consciousness. The exception to this, again, might be some form of possession, if you believe in such things. (However, even possession has a different cast, since in such cases, it isn't the consciousness that was originally in the body that still operates that body.)
And again you fail to see my point. Two subjectivities prove two conciousnesses. In case the transport was successfull there are no two subjectivities. Please, take the time to think my arguments through, before merely repeating your unfounded denial.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
I think we've made our positions clear. I do not admit the possibility that something that is outside the realm of experience -- two bodies having one consciousness -- can be permitted. You, however, think that it's possible. That strikes me as a supernatural belief.

We will have to agree to disagree.
Yes, I think I have made my points clear and you made your clear. No need to call my argumentation a supernatural belief especially after you failed to adress my concerns and the experiences from science that these arguments are based on.

So, if you do not want to examine what the fact that conciousness is induced by body CAN mean, what consequences this fact CAN have, then I cant help you.

But dont call my arguments supernatural beliefs. They are not my beliefs. They are arguments, objections, thoughts, not my beliefs. I think as someone who teaches philosphy you should know the difference. And if you do, then why to go ad-hominem now?

Last edited by Botany Bay : 07-13-2009 at 06:07 AM.
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  #85  
Old 07-13-2009, 09:06 AM
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Botany Bay,

I don't think you are reading my messages very carefully. For example, you say that I teach philosophy. However, I specifically disclaimed that I taught philosophy. I said I was a college instructor, but NOT in the field of philosophy.

Please read my messages more carefully.

I sense a bit of frustration on your part, and I can understand why. However, I hope you understand that my statements are not directed toward you, but at your claims. Your statement that one consciousness can be in two places simultaneously strikes me as a supernatural belief.

It strikes me, as well, that there are some very real contradictions in your own position. For example, you seem to contend at one point that the successor's consciousness after the operation of any person-copier transporter is identically the same as the original's. But then you state, in the above message,

Quote:
And again you fail to see my point. Two subjectivities prove two conciousnesses.
If there are two consciousnesses, then either you do not understand my position, or you agree with it without knowing it, or you yourself have used "consciousness" in different ways. Please recall that my position is that if there are two consciousnesses, then logically the second one is not in every way the same as the first. You appear to take the position that there are two consciousnesses, but they are the same. This flies in the face of what we know to be consciousness, and, furthermore, contradicts a fundamental implication in our discussion to such an extent that it becomes a contradiction in terms.

If something is argued to be identically the same as another thing, and yet, at precisely the same time, different, then either we misunderstand the terms of the debate or we are showing our own argument to be false. In philosophy, it would be axiomatic that something cannot be the same and yet not the same. (See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noncontradiction.) In semantics, your position would appear to turn on a different understanding of sameness or identicality, and then we are essentially discussing this on incompatible terms. If you argue your position contrariwise to all of these characteristics, then it would be a pure assertion, absent some form of actual proof.

You also state,

Quote:
In case the transport was successfull there are no two subjectivities. Please, take the time to think my arguments through, before merely repeating your unfounded denial.
However, this violates the Axiom of Consistency. There is no reason for consciousness to be one way if the person-copier transporter failed, and another way if it actually worked. See also my discussion regarding migration of the soul.

Finally, you have stated that there are a number of ways that one consciousness could be in two bodies at the same time. However, stating those, whether as "thought experiments" or otherwise, is not demonstrating the truth or plausibility of those ways. They also bring forth some issues which serve to muddle the question, not clarify it. For example, your time traveler hypothetical makes sense only if you assert that I am not physically the same person as the past instantiation of myself. However, besides begging that question, I could as easily say that since it is literally myself that I am speaking to, and not a transporter copy, that hypothetical is in any event inapposite and proves nothing.

Your citation of the multiple Picard episode is interesting, but it seems rather telling to me that Picard, to my recollection, still did not act as though he knew exactly was the others were doing. At least, this appears to have been so until the very end.

I'm sorry you believe I have been ignoring your assertions and that I have been criticizing you personally. If you read my messages again more carefully, you will find that neither is really true.

It has become rather clear to me that we are not making any progress in this thread, so with all due respect to you, I will bow out, with neither of us having convinced the other.

Thank you for an interesting debate.

Last edited by Star Trek Viewer : 07-13-2009 at 11:40 AM.
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  #86  
Old 07-14-2009, 04:12 AM
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I sense a bit of frustration on your part...
Really?

May be because my objections to the argument you made are not met by your posts, perhaps simply not understood? At least thats the impression I have and yes, this is somewhat frustrating, I guess for both of us.

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If something is argued to be identically the same as another thing, and yet, at precisely the same time, different, then either we misunderstand the terms of the debate or we are showing our own argument to be false.
How about your statements dont adress the paradoxes that stem form the concept of induction? I suggest you spend some time thinking about the problem that conciousness is not a physical thing and thus the logic we use for physical things does not apply. That a thing can not be at two places at once is true for physical bodies, not for projections. Conciousness is a projection, its induced by a body but it is not the body and it is not a body itself either.

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Your citation of the multiple Picard episode is interesting, but it seems rather telling to me that Picard, to my recollection, still did not act as though he knew exactly was the others were doing. At least, this appears to have been so until the very end.
And again your statements dont adress the problem of the time-traveler-paradox. Its not about knowing what the other thinks. Its about the question when the time traveler became two persons. Its about wether we are, who we have been yesterday or wether we are a completely different person at any point in time. Thats the paradox.

To say the "two Picards" seen are two different conciousnesses, begs the question when they became two? They have been the same conciousness before they met, havent they?

I suggest you spend some more thought on that problem particularly, keeping in mind that conciousness is induced and not a physical thing like a body.

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Originally Posted by Star Trek Viewer View Post
I'm sorry you believe I have been ignoring your assertions and that I have been criticizing you personally. If you read my messages again more carefully, you will find that neither is really true.

It has become rather clear to me that we are not making any progress in this thread, so with all due respect to you, I will bow out, with neither of us having convinced the other.

Thank you for an interesting debate.
Yes, I also feel we reached a stalemate here. Many thanks for the debate though, that I enjoyed a lot and thank you for sacrificing your time, attempting to clarify the arguments you made.

See you around here.

Last edited by Botany Bay : 07-14-2009 at 04:39 AM.
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  #87  
Old 07-14-2009, 04:38 AM
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See you around here.
I will, indeed.
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