Saturday, November 18, 2017

Do we systematically misunderstand our own language?

Suppose that God had created Adam and also, in an identical space-time, an exact copy of Adam. Such a God could swap Adam with that other person, then swap them back, and do that over and over again, and it would make no difference empirically: they have identical memories and everything. The only difference would be that direct reference to Adam in this space-time would keep failing. Similarly, what if fundamental particles (or other substances) are constantly being replaced by identical particles (substances)? It would hardly make any difference, and so we can hardly rule it out. We can assume that it does not occur, of course; and so we can assume that reference is direct. But, surely language would work normally even if such replacements were occurring.

Friday, November 03, 2017

The Trouble with Transporters

In Star Trek people are beamed from place to place using transporters, even though logic dictates that if so then people should not eat food, whereas in Star Trek they do eat food. The logic is as follows: When people are transported in Star Trek their molecules are converted into energy which is then beamed to another place and turned back into the original people. But when people eat they replace some of their molecules with ones from food, so that we can easily imagine that all their molecules are replaced, with the old ones being crapped out. If that crap was collected and its atoms rearranged into an exact copy of those people, then that would just that, copies. So, if that is how things are, then transporters would kill people and create copies of them.