X-Message-Number: 19539
From: "Lee Corbin" <>
Subject: RE: Being in Two Places at the Same Time
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 00:36:03 -0700

Dave writes

>> What if you remembered being in both Flagstaff and Phoenix on
>> a particular day two weeks ago?
>> Moreover, you recall that when you were in Flagstaff, you knew
>> perfectly well that there was a concurrent duplicate of you in
>> Phoenix, and you recall that in Phoenix that day you knew of
>> the duplicate in Flagstaff?
>> Would you still be so sure that you couldn't be in two
>> places at the same time?

> This statement might assume the conclusion in the premises where you say
> "...you knew perfectly well there was a concurrent duplicate of you in
> Phoenix...."  and  "...you knew of the duplicate in Flagstaff?"  One of the
> jobs of this thought experiment is to try to conclude if a duplicate is you.
> If we put that in the premises, (or any form of it), we can't really use it
> in the conclusion.  Maybe I am not looking at this correctly?

Yes, I should clarify that.  What I'm saying that what each person
knows is that there is a molecular replica of himself in the other
city that is indistinguishable in terms of its interactions with
other people, its personality, and so on.  At the bottom level
physical level, they resembles each other about as much as you
resemble yourself from earlier this morning (especially if, say,
you got a blow to the head that wiped out some short term memory).

Then later, these two persons merge memories.  Now, isn't it
possible in principle for this to have already happened to you?
It might be proved to your satisfaction that a few weeks ago a
trick was played on you, and so far as all the world was concerned
two Dave Pizer's woke up on July 1st, and went about their errands.
You distinctly remember getting a hair cut some time around then,
and also going shopping.  Then its proved to you that these actually
occurred simultaneously, and that an attempt was later made to merge
these two people.  Since you recall both sequences of events with
utter clarity, and since you assume that the video tapes aren't
incorrect, then perhaps you'd conclude that you had been in two
places at the same time.

> Anyhow, I think I see what you are getting at.   I would look at it as two
> similar persons (like very close twins), who each had their own experience
> and then somehow the memories were inserted into one of the self-aware hunks
> of neuronal tissue of one of the twins.

Yes, up to here.

> I think you could get that effect by just inserting any old memories,
> (manipulating synaptic connections in the cortex), and then having the
> part of the brain that "feels" the memories access that connection.

Well, by "duplicate" here, I mean that the absolute bulk of the 
memories would have to be the same.  All the memories, except
the last few hours, say.

> I still see consciousness and memories as two distinct parts of the brain.

That doesn't seem unreasonable to me, either.

So with my usage of duplicate here---specified as a nearly identical
collection of molecules---if such a merging process did occur, and
perhaps the fissioning and merging were fairly periodic, like once
a month, do you think that you'd come to believe that you had been
in two different places at the same time?

Michael LaTorra writes

> Not only can I accept that "I" (definition not given) can be in two
> places at the same time, but I actively desire to be able to do so.
> One of my Transhumanist goals is to create multiple instantiations of my
> "self" so that I can work toward several goals in parallel. These several
> entities who are each "me" would periodically merge memories so that we
> could knit together a common past and benefit from one another's knowledge.

Yes that's neat, though I simply like being alive so much that being
alive in more than one place is even better.  Not just safer, but
quantitatively better.

> Mike Perry has discussed "fissioning" of individuals into multiple
> instantiations both on Cryonet and in his book FOREVER FOR ALL.
> Please refer to his writings for a thorough and logically tight
> explanation of this phenomenon.

Oh, sure.  In my very last post on identity to cryonet, in fact, I quoted
nearly a page from FOREVER FOR ALL.  It's *the* theoretical reference for
anyone who subscribes to the pattern (or state) theory of identity.  Mike
was even kind enough to mention me in the acknowledgements, because, I 
think, of the discussions that we've had which go back to 1988.

Of course, not everyone accepts the pattern theory of identity,
but that book is as good as or better than any that would get
them to change their minds.


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