At 07:54 31-07-2006 +0000, you wrote:
>Jeremy Bowman: imagine a "transporter" that sends your molecules
>through space and perfectly re-constructs them at the other end. What
>if it builds an exact molecule-by-molecule replica of you at the other
>location, using numerically different but exactly the same kinds of
>Joao Sousa: No problem. The same me continues living and remembers his
>Jeremy Bowman: What makes you so sure you don't die during this
>process, and a mere surrogate you begins life complete with memories
>like yours? Being dead is a bit of a problem, isn't it?
>Joao Sousa: I don't understand where is the problem. [...] The 2
>survivors will have my memories, will be me, because these memories
>are stored in the physical structure, which you assume were perfectly
>copied. For example, both of them will remember the face of my mother
>like me, and remember their identity card number. What's the problem?
>Jeremy Bowman: The main problem is that it's very hard to say which
>circumstances entail the death of the original you, and which do not.
>Which of the various "transportation" methods are equivalent to going
>to sleep and not waking up? Let's assume it's bad for you to go to
>sleep and not to wake up, even if someone just like you does wake up.
>Which forms of transportation are bad for you?
>The initial temptation is to identify one's "self" with the exact
>arrangement of one's molecules. But that can't be right, because one's
>consciousness must "reside" in exactly one brain.
I disagree. The concept of "one's consciousness" is an illusion! The
feeling of self is just another Qualia, another sentient feeling like the
others (a very adaptive one). I would prefer to conceptualize consciousness
as a constant flow of atomized sentient feelings coming in. I prefer to
think this way: if I feel a pinprick, first *there was a pinprick*, and
*the feeling of pinprick was created* in my organism; some miliseconds
later, a cascade of other feelings followed, among them, those that related
all things to Self, producing, so to speak: "I'm here in this place, that
bush is there, and I felt a pinprick". Dennett argues in these lines.
So, I don't see a problem in your thought experiment. The two surviving
organism copies will continue to live their life, feeling pinpricks, and
producing the same illusions of Self ("I'm feeling a pinprick") that the
previous one had.