Science and Philosophy

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:28 pm UTC

CU, I think you're doing a bit of this.

AFAIK, Neurologists are not claiming to have an answer to this issue. Though, to be fair, philosophers are calling a lot of issues that AREN'T this issue, this issue.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:56 pm UTC

Which side of that, and are you sure it's CU you're talking to?

AFAIK, Neurologists are not claiming to have an answer to this issue.
I didn't say "neurologists", I said "a neurologist".
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:10 pm UTC

I was responding specifically to this, though I realize both CU and Tyn elaborated positions.
CorruptUser wrote:The teleportation thing always bothered me. Sure, you die and the doppelgänger lives, no one else cares. But if you replaced every atom in your body and create a clone named Theseus from the original atoms, it's the same thing. But that's what happens naturally, minus Theseus running around. So we are always dying. Everyone you ever loved is already dead. Yet we act as if we are still alive.


gmalivuk wrote:I didn't say "neurologists", I said "a neurologist".
And I wasn't responding to you. I was suggesting that the issue of the 'individual driving your consciousness', so to speak, the Ship of Theseus, is not something neurology is purporting to have solved. I'm saying CU (and maybe Tyn too) seems to be oversimplifying the philosophy of individuality.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10203
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:35 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Well, no, it's not the same. The structure is the same, but an accurate copy is not the original. This is fairly easy to establish scientifically(at least, within the bounds of the thought experiment).
No, it is not easy or even possible to establish scientifically, because science doesn't give us a definition of what "you" means. Is "you" the atoms (which are obviously not the same) or the structure (which is the same)? Are you reading the same sentence I'm writing? You're obviously seeing these words with different pixels on a different screen, but does that mean it's a different sentence?


This is a problem only with words, not with the actual facts. The scientist can study this effect, learn how it works, and label them however. The trouble is not with science, merely with applying dated labels to hypothetical future things.

No doubt labels will change as our capabilities do(words change all the time now, for sure), and thus the "problem" is unlikely to ever actually matter.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:56 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:This is a problem only with words, not with the actual facts. The scientist can study this effect, learn how it works, and label them however. The trouble is not with science, merely with applying dated labels to hypothetical future things.

No doubt labels will change as our capabilities do(words change all the time now, for sure), and thus the "problem" is unlikely to ever actually matter.
Except, y'know, for when human beings want to communicate with anyone who exists outside of their own heads. Which is most of the time...

Also, I'm not sure how you can so blithely claim it's unlikely to actually matter, given how much is riding on the answer (in a hypothetical world where transporter technology has been invented). If the person who comes out isn't the same as the person who goes in, then whoever threw the transporter switch can be charged with murder and the person who comes out no longer owns any of the property of the person who went in, is no longer married to that person's spouse, no longer has custody of that person's kids, no longer has a job at that person's workplace, and indeed no longer has so much as a name or identification number.

Science may care only about the actual facts and not about the words, but that just means science really isn't up to the task of dealing with most of the rest of human endeavor, where what words mean is actually rather important.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9290
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:05 pm UTC

And if the two people are identical, to the point that there is no distinguishable difference, how would the spacefuture know there is a difference? I mean, in such a society as you describe you could disinherit your siblings from the will by pretending they were teleported at some point and thus not "real".

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10203
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:17 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:This is a problem only with words, not with the actual facts. The scientist can study this effect, learn how it works, and label them however. The trouble is not with science, merely with applying dated labels to hypothetical future things.

No doubt labels will change as our capabilities do(words change all the time now, for sure), and thus the "problem" is unlikely to ever actually matter.
Except, y'know, for when human beings want to communicate with anyone who exists outside of their own heads. Which is most of the time...

Also, I'm not sure how you can so blithely claim it's unlikely to actually matter, given how much is riding on the answer (in a hypothetical world where transporter technology has been invented). If the person who comes out isn't the same as the person who goes in, then whoever threw the transporter switch can be charged with murder and the person who comes out no longer owns any of the property of the person who went in, is no longer married to that person's spouse, no longer has custody of that person's kids, no longer has a job at that person's workplace, and indeed no longer has so much as a name or identification number.

Science may care only about the actual facts and not about the words, but that just means science really isn't up to the task of dealing with most of the rest of human endeavor, where what words mean is actually rather important.


There have long been fears about the horrible social effects about to be wrought by coming scientific changes. Why, the next generation, with their newfangled gadgetry shall surely be corrupt, shiftless, unable to respect their elders, understand anything of value, and otherwise much worse than people of our time, which obviously represents the pinnacle of everything. The track record of such predictions is extremely poor.

We can talk to basically anyone, anywhere, and computers have not destroyed our lives or plunged us into a dreary cyberpunk future. Robots make many things, and have not risen up to take over the world. Travel has become comparatively cheap and commonplace. This has not destroyed culture or society. There is every reason to think this pattern will continue in the future.

Humans throughout all of humanity have been able to create words to describe the world around them. I see no reason to suspect that humans in the future will lose this capability, and will be just fine coming up with new labels to describe their changing world, just as we did. There is no more reason to be concerned that our language is not perfectly adequate for all the needs of the future than there is for us to panic that old english lacks terms to adequately describe everything in the present day.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:59 pm UTC

Literally no one in this discussion has expressed concern that technology will lead to humanity's downfall or whateverthefuck you're arguing against in that post.

All I'm saying is that it won't be science that resolves these very real, very relevant definitional issues. I never said or implied that they won't get resolved at all.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10203
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Literally no one in this discussion has expressed concern that technology will lead to humanity's downfall or whateverthefuck you're arguing against in that post.

All I'm saying is that it won't be science that resolves these very real, very relevant definitional issues. I never said or implied that they won't get resolved at all.


Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.

Over the last hundred years or so, Science has given us quite a lot of insights into identity and self, but philosophy...pretty much keeps talking about the same old stuff. It seems strange to propose that it must be answered by philosophy when philosophy hasn't really made any progress on this in ages. The logical conclusion would be that philosophy CANT answer it. So, something else has to. And Science has been *very* good at answering questions.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:30 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:55 pm UTC

I wouldn't discount philosophies progress, nor it's ability to answer certain issues that science is not asking (the soul, concept of self, etc), but I'm with Tyn on this that science has continually demonstrated that it is capable of answering questions previously thought only answerable by theologians or philosophers. Incidentally, often by theologians or philosophers doing science.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10203
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:03 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?


This gets into the historical argument I mentioned earlier. I do not think I can adequately imagine all of the things science will ever be able to do. I certainly do not think that people in the distant past imagined all the things that Science has already answered.

No doubt a great deal of advancement will necessarily happen to create a teleportation machine that can pop a perfect copy of a human into existence. Hell, it may not even be possible, in which case, the issue never actually arises. If it does, it seems to be little different from taxonomy, in which defining what is similar enough to be "you" is merely a more precise categorization of say, what falls into a given species. Consider how much understanding DNA has affected how we approach taxonomy already...is it not natural to expect that additional understanding will allow more precise and accurate categorization in the future?

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:06 pm UTC

Then same question to you:

What scientific experiment can you imagine to test any of that? What empirical observations would answer the question of identity before and after a cloning event?

Keep in mind that we're taking as a premise that everything in the copies is identical down to the atomic level, so looking for differences won't get you anywhere.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:10 pm UTC

Presently, it couldn't be answered. Just like how 100 years ago, scientists couldn't tell you what material was the information carrying component of life. I agree that there are present questions that science is either not interested in answering (the soul) or unable to (the teleporter/cloning problem), but I don't think that means science will ALWAYS be unable to answer or address those questions.

Which is, of course, not proof that it will eventually answer those questions.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?


This gets into the historical argument I mentioned earlier. I do not think I can adequately imagine all of the things science will ever be able to do. I certainly do not think that people in the distant past imagined all the things that Science has already answered.
I believe that this is exactly what people mean by scientism. Science had answered lots of questions in the past, therefore science will answer this question in particular because science is awesome.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:57 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Then same question to you:

What scientific experiment can you imagine to test any of that? What empirical observations would answer the question of identity before and after a cloning event?

Keep in mind that we're taking as a premise that everything in the copies is identical down to the atomic level, so looking for differences won't get you anywhere.

Indeed, it seems like you could safely stipulate that every natural property is identical between the copies.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:09 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?


This gets into the historical argument I mentioned earlier. I do not think I can adequately imagine all of the things science will ever be able to do. I certainly do not think that people in the distant past imagined all the things that Science has already answered.
I believe that this is exactly what people mean by scientism. Science had answered lots of questions in the past, therefore science will answer this question in particular because science is awesome.
The important difference being no one is claiming science can presently answer this question. And indeed, afaik, no scientist is trying to.

And as for their natural properties, I glibly suggest that a very important and obvious property is non-identical, and that is their location.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:01 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Presently, it couldn't be answered. Just like how 100 years ago, scientists couldn't tell you what material was the information carrying component of life. I agree that there are present questions that science is either not interested in answering (the soul) or unable to (the teleporter/cloning problem), but I don't think that means science will ALWAYS be unable to answer or address those questions.

I didn't ask you to design an experiment with present day equipment to answer that question, I'm asking you to imagine what an empirical answer would even look like. Scientists 100 years ago definitely could have told you some characteristics an information-carrying component of life should have, for example, even if at that time they couldn't check precisely enough to find whether such a thing existed.

Izawwlgood wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?


This gets into the historical argument I mentioned earlier. I do not think I can adequately imagine all of the things science will ever be able to do. I certainly do not think that people in the distant past imagined all the things that Science has already answered.
I believe that this is exactly what people mean by scientism. Science had answered lots of questions in the past, therefore science will answer this question in particular because science is awesome.
The important difference being no one is claiming science can presently answer this question. And indeed, afaik, no scientist is trying to.

And as for their natural properties, I glibly suggest that a very important and obvious property is non-identical, and that is their location.
My location is not the same as it was when I wrote my last post here, and yet (presumably) I remain the same person.
---
My point here is that science cannot answer questions like, "Is this word defined correctly?" Science can tell us whether a definition actually applies to real or possible things, and it can tell us whether a definition is as coherent and useful as we once may have thought, and it can tell us whether things unexpectedly turn out to fall under or to fall outside the definition. It cannot tell us whether a logical definition was "correct" or "incorrect", though, because that is not how definitions work.

If that's confusing, imagine a mathematical term for numbers that include the letter 'h' when spelled out. Then there is no mathematical fact that can tell us whether we have correctly or incorrectly defined that word. All mathematics can do is tell us what mathematical properties are or aren't shared by the numbers falling under this definition. We can then make the *non-mathematical* decision of whether to keep talking about this word or not based on whether it describes a set of numbers with properties we find interesting.

Similarly, I'd argue that a proposed legal or social or personal definition of 'gmalivuk' cannot be determined correct or incorrect by any possible empirical observation. Science can tell us what properties a given definition implies or rules out, but it's a philosophical question whether it's a definition we ought to use.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:16 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I didn't ask you to design an experiment with present day equipment to answer that question, I'm asking you to imagine what an empirical answer would even look like. Scientists 100 years ago definitely could have told you some characteristics an information-carrying component of life should have, for example, even if at that time they couldn't check precisely enough to find whether such a thing existed.
[I'm lumping these two comments since they're related]
gmalivuk wrote:My location is not the same as it was when I wrote my last post here, and yet (presumably) I remain the same person.
Obviously, context matters; the question isn't about temporal changes in an individual, but about whether two perfectly identical clones are demonstrably different. Given the hypothetical nature of the question, pointing out one such difference at that temporal instance is pertinent. Obviously when we remove the hypothetical aspects of the query (clones), pointing out the temporal difference between Izawwlgood now and Izawwlgood 30m ago is far less relevant. Pointing out that Individual A and Individual B are identical in all things aside from their location is not irrelevent if A and B are physical clones of one another stepping out of a Cloneography Machine.

But you ask a very apropos question, and my response is two fold; firstly, I'm going to throw up the biggest shrug I can and say "I dunno". I'm not a philosopher, and I'm not a scientist that studies consciousness or the neurological/psychological underpinnings of self/identity, etc. This is a bit like asking a linguist how to design an experiment to identify the activation domain of formin.

However, as someone with at best slightly above laymans understanding of neurology/psychology, I would design a series of baselines of neurological function and responses to familiar stimuli in the individual overtime, and then post cloning event, subject the two clones to the same tests. My hypothesis is that as their individuality diverges due to different experiences, their responses will diverge as well. If no difference is detected, I suggest the tests are not specific enough, or their experiences are not divergent enough.

Mind you, this tells you nothing of 'who is the original', and nothing of 'was there an interruption to the *self*'. I have no idea how to test that, but, again, don't think science is trying to, since as we've established, the situation is in and of itself hypothetical and based on what amounts to magic anyway. That's what I think is sort of frustrating in this matter; sure, there are things science can't answer, especially when you magically generate terms whose definitions distinctly (intentionally?) fall out of the realm of science.

gmalivuk wrote:My point here is that science cannot answer questions like, "Is this word defined correctly?" Science can tell us whether a definition actually applies to real or possible things, and it can tell us whether a definition is as coherent and useful as we once may have thought, and it can tell us whether things unexpectedly turn out to fall under or to fall outside the definition. It cannot tell us whether a logical definition was "correct" or "incorrect", though, because that is not how definitions work.
Sure, but see above. Science shouldn't be claiming to have answers here, or to be the sole purveyor of dialog or where these answers specifically come from. But it's not really doing as much, and I don't think anyone here is either.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Tyndmyr
Posts: 10203
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:34 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:
ahammel wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote: Why can't it be science? Science creates words by the bucketload, and is very frequently responsible for explaining the reality that we then label.
What experiment to you imagine you could perform that would resolve the issue?


This gets into the historical argument I mentioned earlier. I do not think I can adequately imagine all of the things science will ever be able to do. I certainly do not think that people in the distant past imagined all the things that Science has already answered.
I believe that this is exactly what people mean by scientism. Science had answered lots of questions in the past, therefore science will answer this question in particular because science is awesome.


It isn't a guarantee that science will answer it. As mentioned before, making perfect duplicates of people may not even be possible in the real world. But people are eager to proclaim that science cannot answer it. In fact, people are eager to carve out domains where science cannot go, so they think. Religion is perhaps the most notable of these. Really, though, what is there to prevent a religion from being tested scientifically? So it goes with basically anything else.

It is not a statement of certainty, it is a statement of probability. If praying to idols hasn't had any observable effects for the past hundred years, maybe it's not smart to bet on praying to idols in the future. Surely you can see correlations to areas in which philosophy has made no progress since describing the problem with the Ship of Thesus.

Science, however, has fundamentally produced progress and useful knowledge by the bucketload. I see no reason to expect this to suddenly stop. Nor do I think it reasonable to expect that modern day people can predict all scientific developments in the far future.

gmalivuk wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Presently, it couldn't be answered. Just like how 100 years ago, scientists couldn't tell you what material was the information carrying component of life. I agree that there are present questions that science is either not interested in answering (the soul) or unable to (the teleporter/cloning problem), but I don't think that means science will ALWAYS be unable to answer or address those questions.

I didn't ask you to design an experiment with present day equipment to answer that question, I'm asking you to imagine what an empirical answer would even look like. Scientists 100 years ago definitely could have told you some characteristics an information-carrying component of life should have, for example, even if at that time they couldn't check precisely enough to find whether such a thing existed.


"You can't actually do it" would be a rather concrete potential answer that makes it...not an actual paradox. See also, travelling faster than C. If you assume that an individual is travelling faster than C, you get some wonky results...but in practice, it appears that doing this is simply not possible, so no paradox arises.

This is not guaranteed to be the answer, of course. It's merely one potential answer, that we cannot yet prove(though the difficulty of measuring both direction and speed in QM means that getting the information to make a perfect copy would require a rather significant breakthrough in understanding).

gmalivuk wrote:My point here is that science cannot answer questions like, "Is this word defined correctly?" Science can tell us whether a definition actually applies to real or possible things, and it can tell us whether a definition is as coherent and useful as we once may have thought, and it can tell us whether things unexpectedly turn out to fall under or to fall outside the definition. It cannot tell us whether a logical definition was "correct" or "incorrect", though, because that is not how definitions work.


In other words, Science gives us fairly concrete, fact based information, not fuzzy, subjective summaries akin to 'good' or 'bad'. This is not a bug, it is a feature.

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:I didn't ask you to design an experiment with present day equipment to answer that question, I'm asking you to imagine what an empirical answer would even look like. Scientists 100 years ago definitely could have told you some characteristics an information-carrying component of life should have, for example, even if at that time they couldn't check precisely enough to find whether such a thing existed.
[I'm lumping these two comments since they're related]
gmalivuk wrote:My location is not the same as it was when I wrote my last post here, and yet (presumably) I remain the same person.
Obviously, context matters; the question isn't about temporal changes in an individual, but about whether two perfectly identical clones are demonstrably different. Given the hypothetical nature of the question, pointing out one such difference at that temporal instance is pertinent. Obviously when we remove the hypothetical aspects of the query (clones), pointing out the temporal difference between Izawwlgood now and Izawwlgood 30m ago is far less relevant. Pointing out that Individual A and Individual B are identical in all things aside from their location is not irrelevent if A and B are physical clones of one another stepping out of a Cloneography Machine.


In practice, this is what we already do to distinguish between apparently identical objects that seem to differ only by spatial location. The "second tree from the left" is a perfectly reasonable way to designate one from a number of visually identical objects. The degree of fidelity doesn't seem particularly important here. Designation is already a solved problem. Different designation systems could, of course, be tested against one another, if one wished to be scientific.

There are questions that could be discussed like "what should we do with a machine that can make perfect copies of people". Those questions are also not immune to science.

Nobody really seems to have a problem with any of these scenarios when they are not about a human. It's the whole "you" that seems to throw them for a loop somehow. The intrinsic belief that they are special somehow. Nobody worries about "which is the real chicken" if you have a hypothetical chicken duplication machine. They are both chickens. They are identical, save for location. They are both real. And now, we dine like kings. Why should people be any different?

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:29 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:It isn't a guarantee that science will answer it. As mentioned before, making perfect duplicates of people may not even be possible in the real world. But people are eager to proclaim that science cannot answer it. In fact, people are eager to carve out domains where science cannot go, so they think. Religion is perhaps the most notable of these. Really, though, what is there to prevent a religion from being tested scientifically? So it goes with basically anything else.

Well, one criterion that you see a lot is that scientific theories ought to be verifiable or falsifiable by empirical evidence. If a claim doesn't imply any empirical predictions, that's often seen as reason to dismiss it as a scientific theory. Given that things are dismissed as scientific for this reason, I don't know why we should think that "basically anything" can be tested scientifically. Especially when gmal has several times failed to get even the vaguest outline of an answer to how scientific results could settle the teleporter identity question.

Tyndmyr wrote:Science, however, has fundamentally produced progress and useful knowledge by the bucketload. I see no reason to expect this to suddenly stop. Nor do I think it reasonable to expect that modern day people can predict all scientific developments in the far future.

Nobody here expects that scientific progress will stop or thinks that we can predict all scientific developments in the far future.

Tyndmyr wrote:"You can't actually do it" would be a rather concrete potential answer that makes it...not an actual paradox. See also, travelling faster than C. If you assume that an individual is travelling faster than C, you get some wonky results...but in practice, it appears that doing this is simply not possible, so no paradox arises.

The teleporter question is not a paradox (i.e. a set of jointly contradictory, but individually highly plausible claims) nor does "You can't actually do it" answer it.

Tyndmyr wrote:In other words, Science gives us fairly concrete, fact based information, not fuzzy, subjective summaries akin to 'good' or 'bad'. This is not a bug, it is a feature.

You are simply assuming, without argument, that topics not investigated by science are "fuzzy," "subjective," and not "fact based."

Tyndmyr wrote:Nobody really seems to have a problem with any of these scenarios when they are not about a human. It's the whole "you" that seems to throw them for a loop somehow. The intrinsic belief that they are special somehow. Nobody worries about "which is the real chicken" if you have a hypothetical chicken duplication machine. They are both chickens. They are identical, save for location. They are both real. And now, we dine like kings. Why should people be any different?

Because humans, unlikely anything else we've come across, are persons, and personal identity raises philosophical questions that do not apply to chickens. gmal has already noted some of the ethical issues in this area, such as ownership. Since chickens don't own things, philosophical problems about ownership do not apply to them.

Izawwlgood wrote:That's what I think is sort of frustrating in this matter; sure, there are things science can't answer, especially when you magically generate terms whose definitions distinctly (intentionally?) fall out of the realm of science.

What is frustrating, exactly, about an example of a question that cannot be settled by science being carefully selected so that it cannot be settled by science?
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:01 pm UTC

Tyn and Iz: Surely you don't object to the fact that, when a religion or pseudoscience makes claims that aren't empirically testable, we exclude those claims from the realm of science, right?

Why then, when I ask a philosophical question which is by design every bit as empirically untestable, do you backpedal and assure me that I shouldn' t rule it out of the realm of science just yet?

I'll ask again, is the sentence I'm writing the same sentence as the one you're reading? Is that a question science can answer? What empirical characteristics should we look for, in sentences, to determine whether one of them is the same as another? Is location important? Is medium?

How about a piece of music? Are two playings of an audio file of Beethoven's 9th the same song? How about two audio files ripped from the same CD? How about two CDs made from the same recording?
Recordings from the same performance?
Performances of the same orchestra?
Performances of different orchestras?
An orchestra performance and a MIDI file?
The performance and the sheet music?
The sheet music and the notes as memorized by an expert?
Any of those things and the notes as conceived in Beethoven's head?
Any of those things and the arrangement(s) in A Clockwork Orange?

I contend that "the same person" is analogous to "the same piece of music", in that the identity is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. Specifically, I claim that this is so because all empirical observations can tell us is which particulars are different between two examples. Science is not equipped to determine which differences are the important ones.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:11 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Especially when gmal has several times failed to get even the vaguest outline of an answer to how scientific results could settle the teleporter identity question.
Yes, when you ask a non-scientific question, you will fail to get a scientific result. That is not surprising, and not interesting, especially insofar as no scientists are suggesting they have the answers. What is surprising, and perhaps interesting, is that non-scientific questions are being raised to science as some kind of... I'm not even sure; proof/challenge that science doesn't have all the answers? I've also provided more than the vaguest outline of an answer. If you don't want to respond to it, that is of course fine, but don't assert the above when it's demonstrably false due to the post three above yours.

Asking a scientist 'What is beauty?' should not surprisingly net you a non-scientific answer. Also not surprisingly, if the scientist says "I cannot answer that scientifically", you shouldn't conclude that science is a failed enterprise that needs artists/philosophers to conduct it's science. Which isn't to suggest is a trend that's wholly happening here, but then, it's certainly a trend I've seen elsewhere.

gmalivuk wrote:Why then, when I ask a philosophical question which is by design every bit as empirically untestable, do you backpedal and assure me that I shouldn' t rule it out of the realm of science just yet?
I... haven't really; I've mostly been on board with your assertion that philosophical questions which are empirically untestable today are empirically untestable today, and even asserted as much with my attempt at answering your point. What I *do* disagree with is the notion, however, that all of these issues that are 'assuredly non-empirical' are such, and have tried to point out that issues that were previously thought to be assuredly untestable, have in some cases, been tested. We know heaven is not beyond the sphere of the sky, for example, even though it was assumed man could never reach that far.

I'm not suggesting that philosophy is dead or useless. I'm suggesting that some issues philosophy levies are answerable by science, and that answering them scientifically would be an example of 'doing science'. I'm also in agreement that some issues philosophy levies are unanswerable by science, because they are, as you point out, non-scientific, and that's fine. What I take issue with is philosophy using those latter issues as proof/evidence that science 'needs philosophy' to move forward, or continue, or whatever.

gmalivuk wrote:I contend that "the same person" is analogous to "the same piece of music", in that the identity is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. Specifically, I claim that this is so because all empirical observations can tell us is which particulars are different between two examples. Science is not equipped to determine which differences are the important ones.
And I'd agree with you, mostly, though would add, perhaps philosophically, perhaps neurologically, that a significant difference is that the 'same person' or 'same piece of music' are non-analogous insofar as a person can observe their surroundings, while a piece of music cannot.

Tyndmyr wrote:Why should people be any different?

As pointed out, because people are conscious, and that makes for a different set of parameters.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:18 pm UTC

Why do you think consciousness is relevant?

Some of the questions would remain even if we removed consciousness from the equation. Duplicate someone in a coma, and there's the question of which copy the family has a right to unplug, for example.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:21 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Yes, when you ask a non-scientific question, you will fail to get a scientific result. That is not surprising, and not interesting, especially insofar as no scientists are suggesting they have the answers.

This line of discussion began when gmal mentioned that a particular scientist had claimed that science would be able to resolve the teleporter question. I get that what gmal and I are saying aren't a rebuttal to your main contentions in this thread. But they were also never presented as such.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9290
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:22 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Tyn and Iz: Surely you don't object to the fact that, when a religion or pseudoscience makes claims that aren't empirically testable, we exclude those claims from the realm of science, right?


No. In epistemology you would ask about Descartes' Evil Demon (brain in a vat problem), which is VERY much a part of science; every scientist must understand that the instruments they use to test results only report back what they report back, and that it doesn't mean that what the report back is true. We must always accept the remote possibility that what our tools measure isn't what is there. Where our telescopes see the stars is not where the stars are, or even where the starlight originated. We have to use math and physics to figure out the locations in our galaxy, and even then there was something we couldn't explain via calculated masses, thus the whole 'dark matter' hypothesis.

But when someone insists that the Evil Demon does exist without any supporting evidence? When people declare that the hypothetical evil genius has us all hooked up to machines that feed us false information, and outside the vats is a magical fantasy land of physics we have no means of comprehending? That everything including our memories poofed into existence last Thursday? Science gets to call bullshit.

User avatar
firechicago
Posts: 621
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:27 pm UTC
Location: One time, I put a snowglobe in the microwave and pushed "Hot Dog"

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby firechicago » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:51 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But when someone insists that the Evil Demon does exist without any supporting evidence? When people declare that the hypothetical evil genius has us all hooked up to machines that feed us false information, and outside the vats is a magical fantasy land of physics we have no means of comprehending? That everything including our memories poofed into existence last Thursday? Science gets to call bullshit.

On what possible grounds?

This is a serious question. By definition we can not offer empirical evidence for the proposition that empirical evidence is reliable. Sure, we can rely on things like Occam's razor to insist that the proposition that our experiences are real is in some sense epistemically superior to the proposition that we are in the Matrix. But Occam's Razor isn't really an argument supported by science, it's more an axiom that science is based on.

Answering the radical epistemic skeptic ("how can we know anything?") is a whole sub-field of philosophy in its own right. Obviously no one really takes the radical skeptic's argument seriously, but how you answer that argument has important implications for how you think knowledge works, and insofar as science is a knowledge-generating enterprise, it has important implications for how science ought to work. And this is not a discussion that science really has anything to say about, because science itself is an important subject of the conversation, and using science to support science is inevitably circular.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:54 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Yes, when you ask a non-scientific question, you will fail to get a scientific result. That is not surprising, and not interesting, especially insofar as no scientists are suggesting they have the answers.

This line of discussion began when gmal mentioned that a particular scientist had claimed that science would be able to resolve the teleporter question. I get that what gmal and I are saying aren't a rebuttal to your main contentions in this thread. But they were also never presented as such.
Which is why I pretty clearly didn't frame them as such;
Izawwlgood wrote:Which isn't to suggest is a trend that's wholly happening here, but then, it's certainly a trend I've seen elsewhere.


gmalivuk wrote:Why do you think consciousness is relevant?

Some of the questions would remain even if we removed consciousness from the equation. Duplicate someone in a coma, and there's the question of which copy the family has a right to unplug, for example.
I'm admittedly not familiar with a particularly broad range of these philosophy consciousness/identity problems. To your above example, I would suggest that the family would have the right to pull life support on the body in the coma, since the body not in a coma still has decision making faculties and is not a dependent. If there was something intrinsic to that problem that I'm missing, I apologize in advance, but feel that's how an ethicist would reply.

As for why consciousness is relevant; in the same way that, say, a brick is a brick is a brick, and the individuality of the brick is somewhat irrelevant, and the file of the song you are listening to is identical to the file of the song you've just sent me, these are both objects or bits of information that are effectively inert. They are read, consumed, absorbed, experienced, and are not in the active process of rewriting themselves.

It's similar to 'why is life different than non-life'. Yes, life is arguably just ongoing controlled chemical reactions, but you wouldn't point to a hot spring and conclude that it was life when you compared it side by side to a cat. Consciousness is interesting in this equation insofar as it changes the parameters. But, perhaps I'm missing something to your point; can you perhaps provide additional examples of the teleporter/clone problem that remain in the absence of consciousness?

And yes, it is because of anthropomorphism; we feel our consciousness is unique, so we have a hard time thinking about it being anything but.

firechicago wrote:And this is not a discussion that science really has anything to say about, because science itself is an important subject of the conversation, and using science to support science is inevitably circular.
And also perhaps because continually unasking the question is a fun thought exercise but not a particularly productive one? So, sure, you can keep Mu'ing it up, but that doesn't actually deconstruct, say, cardiology.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:10 pm UTC

The reason I contend that you are not responding to points I'm making is because you keep saying stuff like the following:

Izawwlgood wrote:non-scientific questions are being raised to science as some kind of... I'm not even sure; proof/challenge that science doesn't have all the answers?
Of course science doesn't have all the answers because as you said there are non-scientific questions. I'm not sure who you think is making this point as a challenge, though.
you shouldn't conclude that science is a failed enterprise that needs artists/philosophers to conduct it's science. Which isn't to suggest is a trend that's wholly happening here
It's not a trend that is at all happening here.
What I *do* disagree with is the notion, however, that all of these issues that are 'assuredly non-empirical' are such
As far as I can tell no one has put forth that notion about "all of these issues". I have put forth that notion about one specific issue, and that's it.
What I take issue with is philosophy using those latter issues as proof/evidence that science 'needs philosophy' to move forward, or continue, or whatever.
Who has said any such thing?

---

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Why do you think consciousness is relevant?

Some of the questions would remain even if we removed consciousness from the equation. Duplicate someone in a coma, and there's the question of which copy the family has a right to unplug, for example.
I'm admittedly not familiar with a particularly broad range of these philosophy consciousness/identity problems. To your above example, I would suggest that the family would have the right to pull life support on the body in the coma, since the body not in a coma still has decision making faculties and is not a dependent. If there was something intrinsic to that problem that I'm missing, I apologize in advance, but feel that's how an ethicist would reply.
You're missing the fact that both bodies are still in comas. Duplicating a comatose body doesn't de-coma it, after all, unless location was the only reason it was in a coma in the first place.

As for why consciousness is relevant; in the same way that, say, a brick is a brick is a brick, and the individuality of the brick is somewhat irrelevant, and the file of the song you are listening to is identical to the file of the song you've just sent me, these are both objects or bits of information that are effectively inert. They are read, consumed, absorbed, experienced, and are not in the active process of rewriting themselves.
Do we judge the brick's identity as irrelevant because it is inert, or because we don't tend to care much about bricks?

Songs are intellectual property and as such their identity is very much not irrelevant to lawyers or to the people who stand to benefit from a decision one way or the other.

It's similar to 'why is life different than non-life'. Yes, life is arguably just ongoing controlled chemical reactions, but you wouldn't point to a hot spring and conclude that it was life when you compared it side by side to a cat. Consciousness is interesting in this equation insofar as it changes the parameters. But, perhaps I'm missing something to your point; can you perhaps provide additional examples of the teleporter/clone problem that remain in the absence of consciousness?
They're all questions that arise out of duplicating an unconscious person, as long as you understand that both versions remain unconscious.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
TheGrammarBolshevik
Posts: 4878
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:12 am UTC
Location: Going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:13 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I've also provided more than the vaguest outline of an answer. If you don't want to respond to it, that is of course fine, but don't assert the above when it's demonstrably false due to the post three above yours.

No, you've provided an answer to some other question (namely the question of how to differentiate two different clones), but you haven't provided an answer to the question gmal and I are talking about, which is the question of whether personal identity is maintained across a teleportation.
Nothing rhymes with orange,
Not even sporange.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:But when someone insists that the Evil Demon does exist without any supporting evidence? When people declare that the hypothetical evil genius has us all hooked up to machines that feed us false information, and outside the vats is a magical fantasy land of physics we have no means of comprehending? That everything including our memories poofed into existence last Thursday? Science gets to call bullshit.
No, it doesn't.

Scientists may criticize that person for believing in useless untestable things with no practical bearing on the human experience, but the judgment that someone shouldn't believe such things is a fundamentally philosophical one.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
CorruptUser
Posts: 9290
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:33 pm UTC

It's part of philosophy, but it's also part of the Scientific Method. It's that overlap of both. You need some basic philosophy to do science, in much the way you need some math to do chemistry in spite of them being "separate" fields.


There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
-Leonard Nimoy, quoting someone else.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:49 pm UTC

While I've no interest in pointing fingers, I think it is something that has been asserted in this thread, and is something that has been asserted elsewhere in internet land. As I stated in the very beginning of this thread, this mostly stems from conversations I've had with a friend of mine about the intersection of philosophy and science, as in his own work he as come across a great number of Philosophy of Science writers. I think that's one of the issues with philosophers talking about science (and of course, scientists talking about philosophy); you invariably bludgeon the source material to death so handedly it's frustrating for someone to even attempt to pick up the pieces.

gmalivuk wrote:You're missing the fact that both bodies are still in comas. Duplicating a comatose body doesn't de-coma it, after all, unless location was the only reason it was in a coma in the first place.
I did indeed misunderstand then. The family can pull the plug on both comatose bodies. As should be no surprise to you, I feel consciousness is of the utmost relevance in discussions on individuality/self. Indefinitely not conscious, no self.

gmalivuk wrote:Do we judge the brick's identity as irrelevant because it is inert, or because we don't tend to care much about bricks?
Good question, I'd say both, the latter of which being a shortcoming in our own thinking.

gmalivuk wrote:Songs are intellectual property and as such their identity is very much not irrelevant to lawyers or to the people who stand to benefit from a decision one way or the other.
They are commodities, and as such, effectively fungible. I feel, that individuals are not fungible, though that is of course the point of the cloning/teleporter issue, and why I presented the half-answer of identifying which is A and which is B. As I admitted though, that doesn't answer the notion of originality, to which I have no good solution for (though which is for the most part irrelevant to intellectual property), and I think is somewhat of a non-scientific problem, insofar as it requires non-scientific conditions to be generated.

gmalivuk wrote:They're all questions that arise out of duplicating an unconscious person, as long as you understand that both versions remain unconscious.
So can you give examples of what becomes contentious? My initial hunch on the matter is if I am comatose, and you render a million clones of me, and each are comatose, nothing has changed and you pull the plug on each if you wish. Is the issue 'What happens if we try medicine A on clone 1, and medicine B on clone 2, and only one medicine works'?
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:While I've no interest in pointing fingers, I think it is something that has been asserted in this thread
I read this as, "I don't remember who said it, but I'm sure it was someone in this thread."

gmalivuk wrote:Songs are intellectual property and as such their identity is very much not irrelevant to lawyers or to the people who stand to benefit from a decision one way or the other.
They are commodities, and as such, effectively fungible.
How does this actually address any of the questions raised by IP law or that I posted in my earlier mention of Beethoven's 9th?

gmalivuk wrote:They're all questions that arise out of duplicating an unconscious person, as long as you understand that both versions remain unconscious.
So can you give examples of what becomes contentious? My initial hunch on the matter is if I am comatose, and you render a million clones of me, and each are comatose, nothing has changed and you pull the plug on each if you wish. Is the issue 'What happens if we try medicine A on clone 1, and medicine B on clone 2, and only one medicine works'?
Sure, that could be one question: if one of the post-duplication bodies regains consciousness, does that one have all the rights and properties of the pre-duplicated individual? Or does that only work if the original (i.e. the one in the original's location) is the one that wakes up?

Additionally:
Which clone or clones should have its treatment or non-treatment dictated by a living will if one exists?
Which clone or clones must die before a last will and testament can be executed?
Which clone or clones (if any) should have its organs donated based on the wishes of the pre-comatose person?

And how about if the person isn't comatose but merely unconscious? Does that change anything? I know you said consciousness was the important thing, but surely you don't think that your family has the right to throw your passed-out-drunk body into an incinerator just because you're not conscious at that moment, right? Well what if it's your passed-out drunk body that's duplicated, rather than someone in a coma? Does the family then have the right to kill either one, or an obligation to seek medical care for either one, if it looks like there might be a case of fatal alcohol poisoning without treatment?

Edit: Note that I'm not saying you don't have answers to these questions, or that an understanding of science can't help you decide how to answer them. I'm simply saying that they are fundamentally legal/ethical (philosophical) questions, rather than scientific ones.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby morriswalters » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:20 pm UTC

If the person transported by teleportation is identical in all respects, then the Scientist is correct, at the point were the second person is created he is a different person. He could never be the same as the original person, since he would have different experiences from that point forward. Unless someone is willing to argue that his experience can be identical to the original after that. You need only one assumption for this to hold. That everything we are is an expression of every experience that we have had to the point of teleportation. This is testable and falsifiable with that condition. Assuming that you can teleport someone, and unless teleportation is instantaneous, there will be a measurable time difference between the two, among other things. The problem is one of semantics and law, not philosophy.

The neater question is what is implied if teleportation is possible? I'll go back into silent mode.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18685
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:29 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:I read this as, "I don't remember who said it, but I'm sure it was someone in this thread."
If you wish.

gmalivuk wrote:How does this actually address any of the questions raised by IP law or that I posted in my earlier mention of Beethoven's 9th?
Izawwlgood wrote: I feel, that individuals are not fungible, though that is of course the point of the cloning/teleporter issue, and why I presented the half-answer of identifying which is A and which is B. As I admitted though, that doesn't answer the notion of originality, to which I have no good solution for (though which is for the most part irrelevant to intellectual property), and I think is somewhat of a non-scientific problem, insofar as it requires non-scientific conditions to be generated.
Did you not feel the next part did? Could you rephrase your question then, as I must be missing what you're pointing out here; I understand you to be suggesting that the clone/teleporter problem is akin to making copies of a song, insofar as each copy is indistinguishable from one another, and trying to do so is somewhat irrelevant to their functionality. This is why I raised the point that songs and bricks are not conscious, not actively changing themselves, and brought up how 'life' is different from 'non-life'. The premise of individuality is irrelevant if you're talking about something that is by it's nature, not individualistic. Yes, the dollar bill in my pocket is atomically unique to the dollar bill in my desk, but no one who cares about its value or utility as a dollar bill cares, and as such, talking about it's atomic characteristics is a wholly useless context to describe it.

If you feel this is not answering your question, please state how, instead of quote sniping and dismissing everything else I've written without addressing any of it.

gmalivuk wrote:if one of the post-duplication bodies regains consciousness, does that one have all the rights and properties of the pre-duplicated individual? Or does that only work if the original (i.e. the one in the original's location) is the one that wakes up?
Yes? Again, I'm not an ethicist nor a Clone Law expert, but I'd wager that most would find it unethical to pull a Prestige and generate clones for the sole purpose of shooting them or dumping them into a tank to drown. Conversely, if you generated a Perfect-Clone-O-Matic and fed a single brick into it, I don't think there'd be anything wrong with setting it such that it generated one brick on your table, and the other brick outputted to the Earths core for destruction.

If the neuroscientist you mentioned was actually asserting that they could solve the problem or had all the answers, I'd suggest the SMBC comic I linked for CU was actually far more apropos for said neuroscientist. I think medical ethics is an example of crossover between philosophy and science that absolutely stands as a place both can contribute, and benefit from one another.

gmalivuk wrote:Which clone or clones should have its treatment or non-treatment dictated by a living will if one exists?
Which clone or clones must die before a last will and testament can be executed?
Which clone or clones (if any) should have its organs donated based on the wishes of the pre-comatose person?
Assuming the clones are still being generated in a comatose state;
1 ) The next of kin for the individual are also the next of kin for all clones, unless a clone regains consciousness and declares otherwise.
2 ) No idea. Assuming the conditions of the last will and testament are simply 'irrecoverably incapacitated', I'd say the last clone. If the last will and testament is 'upon my death', and there's a room full of clones sipping coffee in the next room, the condition hasn't been... fulfilled... handwavily.
3 ) Assuming they are also comatose, any or all of them. If they have regained consciousness, they have personhood.

gmalivuk wrote:And how about if the person isn't comatose but merely unconscious? Does that change anything? I know you said consciousness was the important thing, but surely you don't think that your family has the right to throw your passed-out-drunk body into an incinerator just because you're not conscious at that moment, right?

Certainly, typically when one refers to 'comatose', I feel, you are suggesting that they are comatose and unlikely to wake up. I'm a fan of brain activity being checked. I understand it's tentatively a medical ethics gray zone, but with the technology we have now, 'brain activity' is a passable metric to ascertain whether the individual still has consciousness or hopes of regaining it. Shiavo was dead. Hawking isn't just a vegetable.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby ahammel » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:31 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:If the person transported by teleportation is identical in all respects, then the Scientist is correct, at the point were the second person is created he is a different person. He could never be the same as the original person, since he would have different experiences from that point forward.

And personal identity is obviously defined by the sum of past experiences. Or is it? I dunno. Could we do some kind of experiment to find out? Probably not?

Ah well, philosophical question then.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25885
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:45 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:The problem is one of semantics and law, not philosophy.
"The problem is one of addition and subtraction, not arithmetic."

Izawwlgood wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:How does this actually address any of the questions raised by IP law or that I posted in my earlier mention of Beethoven's 9th?
Izawwlgood wrote: I feel, that individuals are not fungible, though that is of course the point of the cloning/teleporter issue, and why I presented the half-answer of identifying which is A and which is B. As I admitted though, that doesn't answer the notion of originality, to which I have no good solution for (though which is for the most part irrelevant to intellectual property), and I think is somewhat of a non-scientific problem, insofar as it requires non-scientific conditions to be generated.
Did you not feel the next part did? Could you rephrase your question then, as I must be missing what you're pointing out here; I understand you to be suggesting that the clone/teleporter problem is akin to making copies of a song, insofar as each copy is indistinguishable from one another, and trying to do so is somewhat irrelevant to their functionality. This is why I raised the point that songs and bricks are not conscious, not actively changing themselves, and brought up how 'life' is different from 'non-life'. The premise of individuality is irrelevant if you're talking about something that is by it's nature, not individualistic. Yes, the dollar bill in my pocket is atomically unique to the dollar bill in my desk, but no one who cares about its value or utility as a dollar bill cares, and as such, talking about it's atomic characteristics is a wholly useless context to describe it.

If you feel this is not answering your question, please state how, instead of quote sniping and dismissing everything else I've written without addressing any of it.
You pointed out how the identity of bricks is irrelevant, and lumped songs in with them. I pointed out that the identity of songs is relevant because IP law is a thing.

I never claimed that questions about song identity should be answered in the same way as questions about personal identity. I'm only claiming that questions about both cannot be answered empirically, and that questions about both are quite relevant to our lives.

How much, and in what ways, can two things differ before they should be considered differrent songs or different persons?

That is a philosophical and legal question, not a scientific one.

gmalivuk wrote:if one of the post-duplication bodies regains consciousness, does that one have all the rights and properties of the pre-duplicated individual? Or does that only work if the original (i.e. the one in the original's location) is the one that wakes up?
Yes? Again, I'm not an ethicist nor a Clone Law expert, but I'd wager that most would find it unethical to pull a Prestige and generate clones for the sole purpose of shooting them or dumping them into a tank to drown. Conversely, if you generated a Perfect-Clone-O-Matic and fed a single brick into it, I don't think there'd be anything wrong with setting it such that it generated one brick on your table, and the other brick outputted to the Earths core for destruction.
Again, we don't care about which brick is the original because we don't care about bricks in the first place. I could send the original to its destruction before cloning it with no more objection than if I do that to one copy afterwards. What if instead of a brick it was the Mona Lisa, though? Or something else with historical or sentimental value? I'd wager people would have pretty strong opinions in that case.

So if what "most would find unethical" is relevant (a philosophical position), I don't think consciousness is the important characteristic.

Regarding the rest of your post: Like I said, I don't mean to say you can't answer any of these legal/ethical questions. I only mean to say some such questions still exist even when consciousness is taken out of the equation, and the answers to them still have to be made with some premises outside of pure empirical science.

For example is the legal next-of-kin relationship a genetic one or a historical one? You're implying one answer to that question right off the bat when you assert that your next of kin are also your clone's next of kin, but I'd wager you did not arrive at that answer empirically.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

User avatar
Yablo
Posts: 453
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:57 am UTC
Location: Juneau, Alaska

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby Yablo » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:20 am UTC

ahammel wrote:The answer to the question "is science really philosophy?" is, I imagine, going to depend on what you mean by those words. That's not a fight I'd be willing to pick with a professional philosopher :P

That's why Socrates insisted on defining terms. He found that (or made it appear like) people were confused about what they thought and meant. That made people angry, and that anger made them sentence Socrates to death by drinking hemlock.

Moral of the story: Don't debate a professional philosopher unless you're willing to kill him.
If you like Call of Cthulhu and modern government conspiracy, check out my Delta Green thread.
Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments.

morriswalters
Posts: 7073
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: Science and Philosophy

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:07 am UTC

ahammel wrote:
morriswalters wrote:If the person transported by teleportation is identical in all respects, then the Scientist is correct, at the point were the second person is created he is a different person. He could never be the same as the original person, since he would have different experiences from that point forward.

And personal identity is obviously defined by the sum of past experiences. Or is it? I dunno. Could we do some kind of experiment to find out? Probably not?

Ah well, philosophical question then.
Not in context. The Scientist is correct. If the doppelganger woke up breathing and hungry and separate from his progenitor then he is a separate person. If the original work is destroyed as part of the process the point is trivial. The doppelganger is undetectable by the assumptions of the argument. That is the Science of the thing. The assumption is safe and partially tested. By identical twins.

The closely related argument about personal identity is purely Philosophical. You ask for an experiment to detect the difference without first having shown there is anything to detect. The question is of the type "what if". It becomes Science when you can demonstrate a method to show that personal identity exists for the original.

I stand corrected on my assumption the Law and Semantics are practical rather than Philosophical.


Return to “Serious Business”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests