The Instigator
n7
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Metaphysics of Star Trek: Dr. Ira Graves failed to Cheat Death

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after 4 votes the winner is...
n7
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/10/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,126 times Debate No: 75037
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (4)

 

n7

Pro

I've chosen Wylted


This debate was inspired by Bsh1's series on the ethics of Star Trek
http://www.debate.org...

This debate will focus on the metaphysics of the 6th episode of season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation called "The Schizoid Man". This episode features the dying Dr. Ira Graves who attempts to cheat death by uploading his consciousness into Data's positironic brain [1].

I will be arguing that Dr. Graves failed to survive death. Data was changed to act like Graves, but Graves isn't actually in there. Con will be arguing Graves really did survive via Data.

Debate format is the typical Lincoln-Douglas format.

R1: Acceptance
R2: My opening arguments followed by Con's opening arguments (No rebuttals by Con)
R3: Rebuttals to opening arguments
R4: Defense of your original arguments.

Rules and Other Debate Information:

BOP is shared.
No forfeits.
No insults.
No semantics.
Follow the format.
72 Hours to Post Argument.
8,000 Characters Max.
10 day voting period.
7 point voting system.
Open Voting
Posting sources in the comments is allowed.




[1] http://en.memory-alpha.org...
Debate Round No. 1
n7

Pro

Thanks for accepting Con.


Psychology isn’t sufficient

The main reason why it seems Dr. Graves survived is because of the intuition that the continuation of psychology is sufficient for personal survival over time. This can clearly be demonstrated as false, as personal identity is singular. Two people cannot be identical to the same one person. Yet it’s possible that two people can have the same psychological continuation. In the Star Trek universe this has happened. In the 24th episode of the 6th season Commander Riker meets himself [1]. Due to a transporter accident two Rikers were made. One Riker was left behind and the other went on to be promoted. Both have the same psychological continuation and history. But they cannot be both identical to the same person, as that would entail contradictions. The same person would both be a Commander and a Lieutenant. The same person would be in two mutually exclusive positions at once.


"He's not Will. He is Will, but... you know what I mean." – Beverly Crusher


A psychological view of identity would have problems accounting for this. There doesn’t appear to be anything wrong with two people having the same continued psychology therefore merely uploading Graves’ consciousness into Data isn’t enough to make him survive.

This is reminiscent of the Swampman thought experiment, except both parties live. “Suppose Davidson goes hiking in the swamp and is struck and killed by a lightning bolt. At the same time, nearby in the swamp another lightning bolt spontaneously rearranges a bunch of molecules such that, entirely by coincidence, they take on exactly the same form that Davidson's body had at the moment of his untimely death.” [2]. There is nothing wrong with proposing a modified version of this where the Davidson is only knocked out and both parties live. The same contradictions come up as before.

One could possibly state that the continuation of mental events themselves aren’t what’s relevant, but the mental events themselves. This is even more problematic.

One, people can lose mental events. But, how can it be said they become a new person?

Two, what makes mental events mine? What makes my memories and thoughts mine? This shows in order to hold this theory, they must presume facts about identity in the first place. Furthermore, If something like the modified Swampman happened how can it be said that the mental events can indicate identity, both men have the exact same mental events but are nonetheless two different beings.


Counter-Intuitive


At first glance the concept of transferring consciousness seems reasonable enough, but when you think about it in a certain way you see the concept is very counterintuitive and unlikely.

Let’s say Graves messed up and failed to transfer himself all the way. Data acts like Graves, but Graves is still alive for another hour. Would Data be Dr. Graves? No, since Graves still existed when Data acted like him. What about if Graves were alive for another 10 seconds? Still no, since there is overlap. There can be no overlap (since two people cannot be identical to one person), not 1 second or a microsecond. This entails that in order for Graves to live, he must first be dead. This is clearly absurd. In order to survive you must die? As David Kyle Johnson said

“Quick, kill me so I won’t die.”[3]


Our most basic common sense tells us dying will kill you, not help you survive.


The resolution is affirmed. To Con!


[1] http://en.memory-alpha.org...

[2] Davidson, Donald. "Knowing One's Own Mind." Reprinted in Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective (pp. 15–38). New York and Clarendon: Oxford University Press. Originally published

in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 60, 1987

[3] http://www.thegreatcourses.com...


Wylted

Con

My opponent is correct that my position seems counter intuitive at first. However the value of my position is that it is more logical and easier to argue. His position is based on gut feelings.

What this debate really seeks to understand is what defines the "self". In that spirit, let us examine the question.

We Are Not Our Body

It cannot be said, that we are our body. Bodies change over time. At one point we a laughing giggling little babies, at another point we might become wrinkly old men who get around in wheel chairs. Our bodies change and we are something new. A tree that is carved into a chair is no longer a tree, despite coming from the same body.

We can lose our arms and legs, our entire body and as long as our consciousness is in place we still consider us to be us. We are not our bodies.

We Are Not Our Thoughts

We know that the self is not the body. Our body changes. We have completely different bodies at 9 months old than at 90 years old, (Literally as cells replace themselves every so often) yet we are considered the same person.

We are not our thoughts and memories either. We have completely different thoughts and memories 5 years ago than we do today, yet we consider ourselves the same person. Despite the fact that my body and brain may be completely different 5 years from now, I'm still the same person and responsible for decisions I made 5 years ago.

The Self Revealed

The majority of scholars would agree that the self is neither our thoughts or our bodies. Rene Descartes says;
"I can abstract from the supposition of all external things, but not from the supposition of my own consciousness."

Descartes argues that the self is our consciousness. David Hume argues something similar:

"It is plain, that in the course of our thinking, and in the constant revolution of our ideas, our imagination runs easily from one idea to any other that resembles it, and that this quality alone is to the fancy a sufficient bond and association. It is likewise evident that as the senses, in changing their objects, are necessitated to change them regularly, and take them as they lie contiguous to each other, the imagination must by long custom acquire the same method of thinking, and run along the parts of space and time in conceiving its objects."

What Hume is saying is that the self is basically the loose cohesion of personal experience. John Locke said a similar thing. The self is the continuation of your psychology. It isn't based on a current or past state of being, but the continuation of those states which are loosely connected.

I repeat THE SELF IS THE CONTINUITY OF OUR PSYCHOLOGY

Ira Graves

The continuity of psychology arguments are relevant to Graves because the doctors psychology continued while using Data's hardware as a containment unit.

Conclusion

B I'd really like to address my opponents arguments now, because some of them just by happenstance are actually rebuttals to my argument. I think it's appropriate to address them here and may have anyway if he didn't mention them, but will refrain.

I look forward to my opponents rebuttal round. Though he has anticipated my arguments well and basically provided no positive arguments up until this point.

Good luck.
Debate Round No. 2
n7

Pro

Thanks Wylted.


Con’s argument goes like this.


1: We are either the continuation of mental events, mental events themselves, or our bodies.

2: We are not are bodies or our mental events.

C: We are the continuation of our mental events.


The problem is that premise one is a false trichotomy. There are many theories of personal identity which Con didn't touch upon.


The Physical View

Con only presents one version of the physical view (and a very hard to defend one). There are much better versions out there such as Peter Unger’s view.



….person Y is identical to person X—in other words, X will

survive into the future—if and only if three things are true: Person

Y has to have mental capacities, the brain that realizes person Y’s

mental capacities has to be physically continuous with the brain

that realized person X’s mental capacities, and there has to have

been no moment in time between the existence of person X and

person Y where that physically continuous object -the brain- did

not have mental capacities. [1]


Although this view has aspects of the psychological view it’s different and doesn’t entail Dr. Graves survived. As Data’s positronic brain fails to be physically continues with Graves’ brain.


Perdurantism

Another view is David Lewis’ Perdurantism. A person is a temporal being with various temporal parts. What makes us identical over time is the complete temporal “worm” or the sum of temporal parts [2]. Data and Graves may form a new time worm, but it’s not the same time worm as Graves’.


Further-Fact View

The final one I will bring up is the further fact view. This states identity exist beyond physical or psychological facts. It exists within an Aristotelian essence or Cartesian soul. Although I believe this one is the weakest of the three, I bring it up to show Con’s false trichotomy.



Conclusion


Con’s argument fails because it commits the fallacy of false choice. There exists more than the three views of personal identity that Con presented.


Sources

___________________________________________________________________

[1] Unger, Peter. “The Physical View.” In Self and Identity, edited by D. Kolak

and R. Martin, 192–213. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991.

[2] https://books.google.com...

Wylted

Con

Wylted forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
n7

Pro

Con has violated rule two and forfeited. :'(
Wylted

Con

Wylted forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
This might help

http://www.debate.org...

I don't know of a specific source that states breaking a rule ends in a 7 point loss. It's usually known because other people on the site use some similar system.
Posted by Nac 1 year ago
Nac
Thank you. Is there a specific source you could give me for this? There are most likely more rules I am unfamiliar with, and I would like to rectify that situation.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
Full 7 points.
Posted by Nac 1 year ago
Nac
Would the rules imply full points to Pro, or just conduct and arguments?
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Hey can you vote on this. I'm having a hard time getting votes on even my stupid debates http://www.debate.org...
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
I believe in you!!!!!
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
I'm intimidated by this subject, but I still think I can put together a strong argument. I have to find some really old notes and refer back to them
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
I'll accept tomorrow
Posted by n7 1 year ago
n7
We can still call it LD. Instead of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas it'll be Tad Lincoln- William Douglas
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
No, it doesn't have a name. But I wouldn't refer to it as an LD format.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Nac 1 year ago
Nac
n7WyltedTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. According to the interpretation of the rules Pro established in the comments, full points to pro.
Vote Placed by MrJosh 1 year ago
MrJosh
n7WyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct for the forfeiture.
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
n7WyltedTied
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Vote Placed by Subutai 1 year ago
Subutai
n7WyltedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF.