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two questions

User Thread
 44yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that rollergirl is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
two questions
i don't profess to be any sort of expert on the subject, but i do enjoy philosophy immensely.

i love the fact that almost all philosophical questions don't have "right" or "wrong" answers. its' basis of study is to simply keep asking questions. in a child-like fashion, philosophers do not take for granted the answers that society says are "true". for example:

---------------------------

1. who are you?
mother, daughter, uncle, cousin, boss, employee, expert, lover, confidante, instigator, mediator, writer, photographer, observer.
>> are you the summation of your relationships, resposibilities and deeds here on earth?

tall, short, fat, skinny, brown hair, green eyes, small nose, big lips, happy-go-lucky, sensitive, shy, out-going.
>> are you merely a group of physical and emotional attributes?

what if you grew up with a different name? would you still be "you"?

who *are* you?

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2. where did the world come from?
whether or not you believe in the big bang, big god or big nothing, there are two schools of thought in this:
a) something has always existed (ie: god or a rock that exploded), or
b) something was created from nothing.

where did the world come from?

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"get busy livin' or get busy dyin'..."
[  Edited by rollergirl at   ]
 44yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that rollergirl is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
i'm pretty sure i agree with everything you've said, Decius. good points that make a lot of sense.

however, to me, in a way what you've said describes "what" you are. what you believe, what you would do in certain situations, what you look like and what you think about.

personally, i think "who" you are is tied closer to something intangible that we can't define. some might call it a "soul"...

i think that somewhere in between all of the genes and effects of the environment, there has to be an extra ingredient. something that ties everything together and makes the mathematical forumla a real-live person. as you've noted, 2 + 2 does not always equal 4:

quote:
Which, theoretically means, if they went through EVERYTHING you did, they would be similar to you.

Not necessarily the exact same

even identical twins that are raised together (or apart) have a significant number of similarities, but there is something other than their genes and environment that make them "individuals".

however, i have no idea what that "something" is... if i was to believe in a "soul", i think that would mean that i have to believe that something happens to that soul after the body dies. it wouldn't be a soul if it was truly tied to the physical morality of the body.

which means that i would have to believe in life after death... and i'm not sure i do.

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"get busy livin' or get busy dyin'..."
 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
some comments on "what" you are:

first off, i think the differences in identical twins are well accounted for by genes and differing experience alone. while they may grow up together and can't help but reach similar conclusions based on their (and each other's) experiences, their overall upbringing WILL be different. ex: they'll have different girlfriends (i hope), and get hurt in different ways. in addition, there are psychological mechanisms that multiply any slight differences the twins have. ex: if one is slightly weaker than the other, he may think physical strength is not as important a quality as he would if he were the stronger one. because of this, the strength gap gets bigger with time. same with intellect. a few decades pass, and you've got 2 very different people, even though they started out virtually the same. not to mention the original slight difference may have been due to an insignificant event ... one twin was out with the boys and developed an edge, while the other had dish night.

this is a bit off topic to what rollergirl said though. more on topic stuff coming up...

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 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
...

i think what you mean with the identical twins stuff is that even if the twins WERE truly identical, there's something different about them.

...correct me if i'm wrong.

i think this something has to do with consciousness, and ties into a discussion i had with a friend a while ago. basically two people that are identical down to the molecule seem identical to the outside world, but if you are one of these people, you still differentiate between yourself and your double. you do not see out of his/her eyes. the relevance of this is really difficult to explain, so i will use my world famous teleportation theory:

say you wanna teleport yourself from one place to another using a machine that disassembles you into your atoms, and reassembles you at your destination. all is well so far. but what if this machine reassembles 2 copies of you, at 2 different locations. which one are you? where do you appear? it cannot be both destinations, unless you mean that you now see out of both people's eyes, and that your experience of life has suddenly drastically changed. you could say neither and that you died, but that is a bit of a copout answer (did you say neither, you die, when there was only one destination?).

i have yet to solve this riddle, but i believe the answer lies in the wacky world of quantum mechanics, where indeed you would be both people, and somehow your 2 brains would instantly communicate with each other.

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 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
#2 is an interesting question, although i don't think i've ever met anyone who truly thought everything came from nothing (as you say, even god must've existed before in order to create it).

there might be a freakish mathematical anomaly which states that nothing existing (not even time) somehow leads to stuff appearing out of nowhere, including space, time, the laws of physics, and the rules that dictate what happens when nothing at all exists. however, the reason i accept this possibility is that anything i say to the contrary is based on logic or reasoning that is based on rules that came about during this creation. if nothing exists, not even logic, then nothing has to make sense. if nothing makes sense, then all i know is what i've experienced (and you can even rip that one apart), .. ie. no amount of reasoning can help me find truths. i obviously wasn't there to witness creation. the problem is, reasoning starts after the rules of reasoning are in place, and this question has to do with what happened before that. i have no tools to dig that far.

based on this, i think the notion that nothing existed is a bit of an unsolvable riddle, and i for one believe something was always there.

in addition to all that, the whole concept of before/after has to do with time which didn't exist before the universe. if there was ever nothing at all, it only existed for an instant, since there was nothing to measure how long this state was there.

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 51yrs • F •
Deke is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
I'll answer #2 in the way that I believe it. "I believe that In the beginning was the Word, & the Word was with God, & the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; & without him was not any thing made that was made." In the beginning God created the heaven & the earth. The earth is the Lord's, & the fullness thereof; the world, & they that dwell therein.

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 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
that's an interesting way to look at it, decius, but i'm not sure it solves my problem (and i hope i'm understanding it correctly). the central idea of my teleportation riddle is the contrast between one's 1st person experience of being teleported to one destination, vs two.

if there is only one destination, the what you would experience is obvious: your surroundings would instantly become those of the destination, kind of like time travelling in back to the future. a flash of light, and your surroundings have changed to where you wanted to be. however, if there are 2 destinations, what would you see happen to your surroundings, or to you?

i can see how in some sense the 2 copies of me may actually be one person (i think), but is this any different from arguing that YOU and I are actually one person, too unaware to realize it? "you" and "i" are then 2 components of a greater whole. i've always been *this* part, and you've always been the other. however, if you suddenly died, i would have no idea that it happened, but you certainly would. if an alien being took over your body and assumed your behavior, no one would know anything happened, except you. it is this disconnectedness that for me (for the purpose of this discussion) defines where one person ends and the next begins. thus if 2 people came out of the teleporter, and their consciousness was disconnected, i would call them 2 different people. i don't think this matters much though, as long as we agree that one's experience is the same whether you think you're a whole person, or only a component of a > 1 person total. my question is, regardless of whether i'm part of something more or not, if i went in, what would i expect to see coming out?

let's say i'm in moscow and wish to go to london to meet my wife. i'm given the opportunity to catch such a splitting teleporter with destination 1 = paris, and destination 2 = london. is this a good deal for me? or do i have a 50% chance that i'll end up in paris, while another guy who claims to be me is getting busy with my wife?

what if i were split, and the paris copy was destroyed before it fully materialized? well, i would expect this to be just like a 1-destination teleportation. i should just end up in london, unaware of anything that happened in paris.

what if the paris copy were destroyed AFTER it materialized?

is this a safe means of transportation, assuming that teleportation with 1 destination IS safe? consider also that i may not even know a second copy is being created. what would i experience, and where would i end up?

all this suggests to me that consciousness or the soul (whatever it is that makes me ME, in *this* body, with *these* ideas) is indivisible and is not physical (at least not physical in a classical, non-quantum way).

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that melon_gibson is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
To answer the question: who are you?

It is a basic answer to me that you, are simply you. Thats it.
You cant say 'who would you be if your name was different cause it wouldnt be you. I believe that one tiny event in life can change everything. Though it's not pre-determined. A prime example of my belief is the film sliding doors. Not a great film but I think it shows that 'you' are just a being, living out a list of events, which creates 'you'. Therefore there is no 'what if' questions to be asked because everything that happens is a creation of 'you' and this is why people change throughout there life.
Hope that makes sense to some of you.

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"Live by the sword die by the sword"
 44yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that rollergirl is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
quote:
To answer the question: who are you?

It is a basic answer to me that you, are simply you. Thats it.

good point. but that's like saying an apple is an apple.

it's also a fruit, red (or green), perishable, comes from trees, has seeds in the middle and a little stem on top and tastes good.

i don't think an apple is just an apple.

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"get busy livin' or get busy dyin'..."
 35yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that shadowcult is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Melon is right. You are you only because of your experiences in life.
I have noticed in things I write, maybe I'll check it a month later and I'll have a different point of view only because I have more experiences that I have gone through since then that change me so much that i'm no longer the same person.
So you are not only, just you but also only the person, you are at a specific point in time. You can never be anyone else or even yourself again. God i'm good. lol

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"Emotions are for the weak minded, so cry me a river build a bridge and get over it."
 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Saying that you cease to be 'yourself' every moment because your experiences have changed is fine, but are you saying you die every instant and are replaced by a different 'soul' -- not you? (I don't actually believe in souls per se, but I use it to illustrate a point)

Clearly, your 'soul' gets transfered to the new you every instance that passes by as you change, so you don't completely stop being you after the moment passes. To me the question is basically what is it that makes up the soul, and what traps your soul in *this* body and not some other one. If it's the fact that it must travel continuously through space with time, then obviously it can't jump out of your body all of a sudden and go somewhere else, but then my teleportation thing is meant to illustrate that whatever this soul is, it can't be completely defined by matter because matter can be duplicated, while your experience of existence should not be. Aside from the fact that experiencing life in 2 bodies simultaneously sounds like madness, you also have to explain why/how information between the 2 is able to flow. Can the soul *just* be a physical thing, and a byproduct of classical physics? I don't think it can.

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 42yrs • M •
zoltan-the-meek is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
i dont think there is much point in persuing Q2 because it is simply imposible to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion, i for my part dont think that the universe was created by some benevolent being. as for Q1 who am i? strikes me as the old chestnut nature vs nurture. As pointed out identical twins(well as identical as they can be) still show diffrent personality traits so it would appear that nurture, that is your upbringing and experiences effect who you are and who you become. however this in itself is not satisfactory because it is coherent to say that to people who are physicaly different yet have exactly the same experiences would not be the same person. the mental largely depends on the physical. as to the concept of there being a "soul" that is rife with problems not least how does the soul interact with the body, and as was rightly pointed out why should a soul attach itself to a physical entity in the first place? it seems clear to me that it dosent and that thoughts are brain events and brain events only.

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"my brain hurts"
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wesdawgy is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
As to the 'teleportation' theory, I believe in what Shadow and Melon have said. You are you because of your individual experiences in life. If you were transported to London, and a like-you was transported to Paris, one might be learning something new at a company training seminar, the other might be unknowingly "screwing your wife". The two would defintely have diferent thoughts at those moments, and cum away with different experiences to add to their 'train-of-thought'. There are so many things that influence the way you think and the way you feel about different things, that decisions would be made differently at each point.

As to the 'Creation Theory', I have always wondered what "god" was doing before "god" made earth, if it happened that way. Did "god" sit around for a day, a year, a trillion years before deciding to make humans and Earth?
How was "god" created, and by whom?
I think this is beyond the scope of our minds, but I have always wondered.

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"I'd like to say something profound....."SOMETHING PROFOUND""
 43yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that think4yourself is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
wesdawgy, I think you missed my point, but fear not! I have had serious trouble finding the words to describe this IN PERSON, let alone on a message board, so it's probably just me. I appologize in advance for the long post I'm about to make.

The point is that up until the moment of teleportation, you and your double are totally physically identical (how you want to achieve this is something I'm flexible on). The point is that if there is no soul, or some unique element that can't be duplicated, then you encounter a problem: something that you have direct experience with goes missing. The reason I use an extension of normal teleportation as my method of keeping the two you's identical is because it dodges many counter-arguments and gets to the heart of the matter quickly. Let's do it in stages:

1. You are taken apart and reconstructed at a target location. This seems like a viable method of teleportation that most people think will work in transfering your body and your consciousness over to the target. After all, if your body is reconstructed EXACTLY like it was before the transport, then why wouldn't you simply appear there? There's nothing more to "you" than was contained in those atoms, right?

2. You are taken apart, but some carbon atoms used in the transport are replaced with identical carbon atoms from another source. Since the atoms used to construct you are identical, it shouldn't be a problem. Afterall, your body loses particles (and cells) all the time, and you don't cease to be yourself when new ones take their place.

3. Half of your atoms go to one location, your body being built out of other 'filler' atoms, atoms identical to the ones they're replacing. Meanwhile another you is being build elsewhere with the other half of 'your' atoms, and half fillers. Question is, which body will you appear in?

Most people I talk to about this fail to see the dilemma. They think you'll be both people and that there is no problem there. To an outside observer this is okay, but to YOU it is not, because an outside observer can't tell if you're a dead robot on the inside behaving as a human, or a conscious being. You, and you alone has access to that information. Only you know you're actually driving your vessel.

To further illustrate this, in his meditations, Descartes concluded that the only thing he truly knows is that he himself exists. Everything about the world may be an illusion, however his own existence must be in place in order for him to ask any questions. At the core of my argument is the idea that while everyone else in the world may only look like living breathing humans, they may just be robots, or computer simulations. You however cannot be. The fact that your mind/consciousness resides somewhere, and that it seems to be connected to your body at all times suggests my paradox. What if you made a perfect duplicate of yourself? Would it seem like the other you is as dead as everyone else in the world? If so, why would you be in your body and not 'his'? The perfect symmetry of the situation should make deciding your destination body impossible, since you have as much reason to appear in destination A as in B.

If you were transported to London, and a like-you was transported to Paris, one might be learning something new at a company training seminar, the other might be unknowingly "screwing your wife". The two would defintely have diferent thoughts at those moments, and cum away with different experiences to add to their 'train-of-thought'.

While starting the instant after the teleportation the two you's diverge and become different people, up to the moment of teleportation and 'reconstruction', they are identical with identical memories and experiences. You waking up as one of them preceedes any changes that follow.

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[  Edited by think4yourself at   ]
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wesdawgy is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
think...
Your clariification helped, especially the point at which we are comparing persons. I wasn't sure at which point the comparison was made.

"the only thing he truly knows is that he himself exists. Everything about the world may be an illusion, however his own existence must be in place."
Now this statement brings a whole lot more questions up. If 'he' 'himself' knows then would not both 'people' know that they individualy existed?
For example, lets say that I am the one who accidentally sends 'him' through the transporter and duplicates 'him'. I want to find both of them and figure out how to correct the mistake I made. I show up and tell 'him 1' that he does not exist. What then happens to the theory of self-knowing?
If they did know about the other half, who then becomes the main controller?
How does one verify that he is in fact in control of two bodies?

I hope I'm not straying off too far...
Wes

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"I'd like to say something profound....."SOMETHING PROFOUND""
two questions
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