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Locke and StarTrek!

  1. Dec 1, 2003 #1
    Image you are a character on Star Trek. On the starship you step into the transporter. The machine breaks down your body, and then causes the matter on Planet Xelia to become organized into a body just like yours. That person then remembers what you did before getting in the transporter and sets about pursuing your mission of gathering samples and exploring the new planet. Would Locke say that person on Xelia is same person as you?

    You can check out Locke's view regarding personal identity here
    http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/Projects/digitexts/locke/understanding/chapter0227.html


    What's your personal opinion(regardless of Locke)?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2003 #2
    Here is my own opinion to the question above

    Personally, I believe Locke will believe that it's the same person. From what I understand, Locke believe a body can contain several different personalities, all independent from each other. However, only one can be "active" at a time, and the transition occurs only when the body lost the stream of conscious(ie. drunk, sleep, knock out)

    From the question, we can conclude that the StarTrek member did not lose the stream of conscious, because as far as I know, the transporter teleports instantly. The person remembers his/her objective before and after the teleportation, so whatever personality governs him/her at the time is not interrupted. S/he is still ther same person before and after.


    If we ignore Locke's point of view, then this becomes an open question. I can't think of any new ideas that support or disprove Locke's view(theoretically, since my understanding of Locke's idea might be insufficient/wrong). Any taker?
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2003
  4. Dec 1, 2003 #3
    I would liken transporting to cloning. If you create a clone of yourself, and you erased the part of the memory where the cloning occured, the clone would never know he was a clone. Furthermore, if you didn't erase the memory, and the clone knew what happend he wouldn't know if he was the clone, or the other you was. So at the moment of transport, all your memories, feelings, thoughts, and personality are transferred to your "new self" At that moment your "old self" at the starting point dies, and a "new self" is created. It all appears seamless to the observer, but the original self ceases to exist. It doesn't appear to be so, because you've in essence, been cloned. However in a sense, you die and are reborn when you go through the transporter. So if you're the original person who has never gone through the teleporter, you actually die the first time you use one. To the original person, that is the end of thier existence. From then on, all the other "you's" are just copies.

    At least that's how it would seem to me.
     
  5. Dec 1, 2003 #4
    We need to consult a StarTrek fan on this question: how exactly does the transporter work? Were there any cases/episode where transporter malfunctioning causes mental alteration?

    I'm aware that in one episode a crew member wasn't reconstruct fully and she ended up dead. But I'm only interesting in mental(mind), not physical state(body).
     
  6. Dec 1, 2003 #5
    actually, there was a whole episode in TNG on transporter psychosis but i forget the details.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2003 #6
    I did a little research. It seems like beside one episode in which Cap Kirk is splitted(Evil/good twin), there are't any other episode where usage of transporter causes alteration of mind

    transporter teleports material(life/inanimate) by converting the object into energy, then beam the energy to the destinated location. So I guess the clone theory is more portable in the scientific world.


    But according to Locke, a person is defined by his personalties. Thus if they are transfered to another body and aren't alter in anyway, it's still the same person.
     
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