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Consciousness thought experiment

dylancatlow
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2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,170
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2/18/2013 1:03:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I believe that the exact mental state one is in is the result of the arrangement of atoms in the body and surrounding world. Therefore, if one was to keep everything the same, nothing would change.
dylancatlow
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2/18/2013 1:05:46 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:03:17 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
I believe that the exact mental state one is in is the result of the arrangement of atoms in the body and surrounding world. Therefore, if one was to keep everything the same, nothing would change.

I'd agree.
FREEDO
Posts: 21,151
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2/18/2013 1:07:51 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Consciousness never "carries over" in the first place, from one second to the next.

The self is an idea and doesn't constitute anything literal.

See Hume's "bundle theory" of self.
THE CHOSEN ONE

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FREEDO
Posts: 21,151
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2/18/2013 1:55:50 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:09:12 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
It's weird to think of one's conscious in that way.

Take psychedelic drugs and you'll understand it better. There's nothing more eye-opening than experiencing while simultaneously reconciling that with the evident realization that you don't exist.
THE CHOSEN ONE

Also Grand Poobah of DDO
dylancatlow
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2/18/2013 2:04:00 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:55:50 AM, FREEDO wrote:
At 2/18/2013 1:09:12 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
It's weird to think of one's conscious in that way.

Take psychedelic drugs and you'll understand it better. There's nothing more eye-opening than experiencing while simultaneously reconciling that with the evident realization that you don't exist.

I'm a pantheist, so I think conscious is a little deeper than that.
philochristos
Posts: 3,012
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2/18/2013 1:13:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Assuming that all we are is the sum of our physical parts, our entire mental life is the product of our brain states (including he exact structure and all of the processes). If you destroyed the brain, the person would cease to exist. But if you put it back together again, I don't think the same person would come back in to existence. However, I think a person exactly like the original would come back into existence. He would have all the exact same mental states, including his thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, memories, etc. He would not be able to tell that he was a mere replica. It would seem to him as if he were the same person.

Here's another thought experiment to illustrate that point. Suppose that after destroying the original brain, you recreate two brains that have identical structures. In that case, both brains would produce identical mental states. So both of them would have the same thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, and memories. They would both feel like they were the original person. But obviously two people can't be in two different places at the same time. Besides that, from that moment forward, they would live distinct lives. So these would obviously be two distinct persons. One of them would necessarily be a replica, and if the other was made in exactly the same way, it would be a replica as well. They'd both be replicas.

Or consider another thought experiment. Suppose a super computer is able to record everything about your body and brain exhaustively, including the exact location of every neuron and synapse, including it's structure down to the atom. And suppose that said computer was able to use that information to build another body and brain exactly like yours down to the atom, and it could do it without any damage to you. You wouldn't have to be destroyed. Well, obviously, you would keep being you, and this other person would be a replica, even though it has all the exact same mental states as you. Well, that replica would actually BE you just because the computer waited until after you were dead to create it. If it's a replica before you are destroyed, then it would be a replica after you were destroyed as well.

I think what follows from these thought experiments is that it's not possible for a person to cease to exist, then to come back into existence. If somebody ceases to exist, they're gone forever. Anything else that comes into existence, regardless of how perfectly it resembles the person who ceased to exist, could only be a replica.

That's the problem with Christians like Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists who deny the existence of a soul capable of disembodied existence and think that we cease to exist when we die and come back into existence at the resurrection. It's also the problem with people who think Star Trek transporter technology will some day be achievable.

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"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

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TolerantSpirit
Posts: 37
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2/18/2013 4:43:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Only they can know.
Think before you talk.
KeytarHero
Posts: 612
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2/18/2013 5:38:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:13:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Assuming that all we are is the sum of our physical parts, our entire mental life is the product of our brain states (including he exact structure and all of the processes). If you destroyed the brain, the person would cease to exist. But if you put it back together again, I don't think the same person would come back in to existence. However, I think a person exactly like the original would come back into existence. He would have all the exact same mental states, including his thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, memories, etc. He would not be able to tell that he was a mere replica. It would seem to him as if he were the same person.

Here's another thought experiment to illustrate that point. Suppose that after destroying the original brain, you recreate two brains that have identical structures. In that case, both brains would produce identical mental states. So both of them would have the same thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, and memories. They would both feel like they were the original person. But obviously two people can't be in two different places at the same time. Besides that, from that moment forward, they would live distinct lives. So these would obviously be two distinct persons. One of them would necessarily be a replica, and if the other was made in exactly the same way, it would be a replica as well. They'd both be replicas.

Or consider another thought experiment. Suppose a super computer is able to record everything about your body and brain exhaustively, including the exact location of every neuron and synapse, including it's structure down to the atom. And suppose that said computer was able to use that information to build another body and brain exactly like yours down to the atom, and it could do it without any damage to you. You wouldn't have to be destroyed. Well, obviously, you would keep being you, and this other person would be a replica, even though it has all the exact same mental states as you. Well, that replica would actually BE you just because the computer waited until after you were dead to create it. If it's a replica before you are destroyed, then it would be a replica after you were destroyed as well.

I think what follows from these thought experiments is that it's not possible for a person to cease to exist, then to come back into existence. If somebody ceases to exist, they're gone forever. Anything else that comes into existence, regardless of how perfectly it resembles the person who ceased to exist, could only be a replica.

That's the problem with Christians like Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists who deny the existence of a soul capable of disembodied existence and think that we cease to exist when we die and come back into existence at the resurrection. It's also the problem with people who think Star Trek transporter technology will some day be achievable.

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

That's one reason I would never step in a transporter if that technology were ever developed.
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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2/18/2013 5:50:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'm fairly sure that all the atoms composing our body are replaced by other atoms at varying time intervals. So, some variation of this happens all the time.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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2/18/2013 6:30:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 1:13:49 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Assuming that all we are is the sum of our physical parts, our entire mental life is the product of our brain states (including he exact structure and all of the processes). If you destroyed the brain, the person would cease to exist. But if you put it back together again, I don't think the same person would come back in to existence. However, I think a person exactly like the original would come back into existence. He would have all the exact same mental states, including his thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, memories, etc. He would not be able to tell that he was a mere replica. It would seem to him as if he were the same person.

Here's another thought experiment to illustrate that point. Suppose that after destroying the original brain, you recreate two brains that have identical structures. In that case, both brains would produce identical mental states. So both of them would have the same thoughts, beliefs, emotions, personality, and memories. They would both feel like they were the original person. But obviously two people can't be in two different places at the same time. Besides that, from that moment forward, they would live distinct lives. So these would obviously be two distinct persons. One of them would necessarily be a replica, and if the other was made in exactly the same way, it would be a replica as well. They'd both be replicas.

Or consider another thought experiment. Suppose a super computer is able to record everything about your body and brain exhaustively, including the exact location of every neuron and synapse, including it's structure down to the atom. And suppose that said computer was able to use that information to build another body and brain exactly like yours down to the atom, and it could do it without any damage to you. You wouldn't have to be destroyed. Well, obviously, you would keep being you, and this other person would be a replica, even though it has all the exact same mental states as you. Well, that replica would actually BE you just because the computer waited until after you were dead to create it. If it's a replica before you are destroyed, then it would be a replica after you were destroyed as well.

I think what follows from these thought experiments is that it's not possible for a person to cease to exist, then to come back into existence. If somebody ceases to exist, they're gone forever. Anything else that comes into existence, regardless of how perfectly it resembles the person who ceased to exist, could only be a replica.

That's the problem with Christians like Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists who deny the existence of a soul capable of disembodied existence and think that we cease to exist when we die and come back into existence at the resurrection. It's also the problem with people who think Star Trek transporter technology will some day be achievable.

To me, that just shows how weird and nonsensical transporters and stuff is when we look at it through a dualist perspective. I mean, if I got an apple, then made another apple as a clone, we wouldn't go "WTF Mindfreak", or even claim that the apples aren't identical apart from current location. So why would bodies be different?
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muzebreak
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2/18/2013 6:41:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

I have contemplated this question for a long time. It is the only reason that I feel I could not go through with any form of teleportation. I could never, even after I did it, know whether whatever consciousness came out on the other side was the me of now. I sometimes feel scared to go to sleep for that exact reason. Is who wakes up in my body the one who went to sleep in it?
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
philochristos
Posts: 3,012
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2/18/2013 6:52:44 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 6:30:48 PM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
To me, that just shows how weird and nonsensical transporters and stuff is when we look at it through a dualist perspective.

It's actually materialism that causes the problem, not dualism. If all we are is the sum of our physical parts, then if our bodies are disintegrated, we cease to exist, and anything that comes into existence later can only be a replica. But if we have a soul capable of disembodied existence, then the body can be disintegrated and put back together, and as long as the same soul that animated the original body reanimates the new body, personal identity will remain in tact. You'll be the same person on the other side of the transporter.

Of course that raises the further difficulty of how we can transport a soul and make sure that one soul reanimates the new body rather than a different soul. But at least under substance dualism transporters are logically possible. They're not even logically possible under materialism.

I mean, if I got an apple, then made another apple as a clone, we wouldn't go "WTF Mindfreak", or even claim that the apples aren't identical apart from current location. So why would bodies be different?

Bodies are not different than apples, and I'm not claiming there's anything strange about creating replicas. What I'm saying is that a replica cannot be the same thing as the original. If we created an apple clone, no matter how many properties they had in common, they would still be two different apples. Likewise, if we created a human who was just like you physically and mentally, it would still be a different person.
"When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest." ~Proverbs 29:9

"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
FREEDO
Posts: 21,151
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2/19/2013 3:11:42 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/18/2013 2:04:00 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 2/18/2013 1:55:50 AM, FREEDO wrote:
At 2/18/2013 1:09:12 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
It's weird to think of one's conscious in that way.

Take psychedelic drugs and you'll understand it better. There's nothing more eye-opening than experiencing while simultaneously reconciling that with the evident realization that you don't exist.

I'm a pantheist, so I think conscious is a little deeper than that.

Nothing contradictory about that. See the Primacy of Consciousness theory.
THE CHOSEN ONE

Also Grand Poobah of DDO
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,170
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10/18/2017 2:48:21 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Consciousness is totally independent of atoms.
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,564
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10/18/2017 3:04:41 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/18/2017 2:48:21 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Consciousness is totally independent of atoms.

you better hope that's not true, as your only hope at this point is a brain transplant
EtrnlVw
Posts: 4,454
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10/18/2017 3:45:40 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Consciousness is the core of all of life, it is the Creator Itself.
Now, there is a subtle difference (or major) between the pure state of the Creator and the individual ego. The individual ego self is first created in the mental and causal worlds, where there is what resembles a "blueprint" of each soul in creation that "carries" over upon the rearrangement of bodies.
Yes, the consciousness would carry over but they would also experience anything the body does. You are a conscious being inhabiting a material body, and in that you are tied to the physical nervous system, but, you are not atoms in and of themselves. The atom makes up creation, material bodies for your conscious soul to experience temporally.
EtrnlVw
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10/18/2017 3:46:24 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/18/2017 2:48:21 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Consciousness is totally independent of atoms.

Absolutely.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,170
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10/19/2017 2:25:40 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/18/2017 3:04:41 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 10/18/2017 2:48:21 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Consciousness is totally independent of atoms.

you better hope that's not true, as your only hope at this point is a brain transplant

That was a good one
keithprosser
Posts: 5,368
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10/19/2017 7:40:38 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

Until a few years ago I didn't know that some people are actually 'anti-teleportists'. Having discussed it afair bit over the years its seems that most 'hard core' materiaist monists have no probem with teleporting but dualist do have a problem.
keithprosser
Posts: 5,368
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10/20/2017 1:45:58 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?

What I have noticed in other deabates (that were actually quite lively) is that people were far more likely to go from pro- to anti-telport, presumably because teleporting seems ok when you see it on star trek but after you think about the dying, copy-making and identity issues teleporting seems less attractive.
ebuc
Posts: 1,354
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10/20/2017 2:06:37 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?:

First off you dont understand the differrence between instantaneous{ no time } and time{ 5 seconds }.

It depends on how much distortion occurs in the process. The below is beginngs for a process for doing your above.

..."The omnitriangulated strip is an extraordinary mathematical transformation in which you can graphically accommodate the omnidirectionality of all systems in an exactly coordinated mathematical accounting. It can project and print out on a strip all gravitational and radiational data, be they in the form of stars, fishes, or anything.

.... They are all coordinatably print-outable onto one continuous flat ribbon map. What we have is a true prototype of an omnidirectional typewriter. It can print out each omniembracing layer of each frequency layer of each convergent-divergent system. When you print out the omnidata on such a strip, it identifies specifically where and when each event in the transformation occurs."...

http://www.rwgrayprojects.com...
dylancatlow
Posts: 13,564
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10/20/2017 5:02:40 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/20/2017 2:06:37 PM, ebuc wrote:
At 2/18/2013 12:54:32 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Imagine I could delete a person's atoms completely and then put them back together instantly 5 seconds later. Would that person experience it as nothing happening? Would their consciousness carry over?:

First off you dont understand the differrence between instantaneous{ no time } and time{ 5 seconds }.

I think what I meant was "the reassembly of their atoms would be instantaneous rather than step by step, and this would happen 5 seconds after they were erased".

But thanks for your consideration.
ebuc
Posts: 1,354
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10/23/2017 1:21:14 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/20/2017 5:02:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I think what I meant was "the reassembly of their atoms would be instantaneous rather than step by step, and this would happen 5 seconds after they were erased".

Assembly or reassembley of anything takes time. All operations, procedures etc, takes time. You dont seem to understand that all of occupied space processes take time.

Spooky-action-at-a-distance happens not because of instanteity. Rather because point A and point B are at 90 degrees to each other and function like a key in a door, so that, when we observe point A point B be will always be at 90 degrees to point A.

ebuc
keithprosser
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10/23/2017 2:15:25 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/20/2017 5:02:40 PM, dylancatlow wrote:

I would argue that our identity is primarily in our thoughts, memories, likes and dislikes and 'peronality' (for want of a better term). I beieve all those things are products of electro-chemical activity in the brain and nothing else, is there is no 'dualistic' element involved. That is my 'personlity' is not the physical firings of neurons in my brain but the meaning of the pattern of those firings.

The consequence of that view is that reproducing that pattern would reproduce 'me', because thre is no other element of me other than thay pattern. Hence assuming a teleporter results in the production of an obect that reproduces the same pattern of neural activity (even if that pattern is phsically manifest using different matter) then it 'works'.
As I see it the only way a teleporter could 'not work' is if one supposes that things like 'personal identity' have a dualistic form of existence that is indepenent of matter and hence not teleportable by a matter-based process.
I don't believe in dualistic stuff - there is only matter and its activity. As both of those are (presumably) sucessfully recreated by a teleporter I am fine with it. I have seen telepoters work on star trek and they do preserve personality (unless the malfunction of course). I really wish I could teleport rather than having to hang around in airports for hours.
linate
Posts: 212
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10/23/2017 7:40:17 PM
Posted: 1 month ago
maybe i shouldn't be injecting religous thinking into a philophy forum, but what about souls and life in the new being? if you could 'scan' someone and get a print out replica.

i would highly speculate based on religion alone that you might be able to replicate someone, but you can't give them a spark of life. all youd have is a human body.

if i'm wrong, does this new person have a soul? id think God wouldn't allow a human to exist, even it's just a clone, without a soul. but one could conjecture he wouldn't have a soul too though, i guess.
ebuc
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10/24/2017 2:24:14 AM
Posted: 1 month ago
At 10/23/2017 7:40:17 PM, linate wrote:
if i'm wrong, does this new person have a soul? id think God wouldn't allow a human to exist, even it's just a clone, without a soul. but one could conjecture he wouldn't have a soul too though, i guess.:

Biological = soul ergo biological/soul are synonyms.

Humans do not have a soul, they are a soul. Simple, not complex to grasp.

ebuc