Afterlife and the Persistence of the Self
In a recent blog post, Ian accuses me of being "instinctively a strong dualist." His reason seems to be that I affirm that the self persists in normal circumstances but does not persist under teleportation. Unfortunately I could not follow his reasoning.
I hold that from moment to moment, we persist as persons. I don't see anything inconsistent with physicalism there.
I hold that if we were teleported to another location, we would cease to exist and be replaced by a replica. My reason is that instead of being teleported, we could be duplicated at another location without ceasing to exist at the original location. Intuitively we would remain the original person who is duplicated, and the additional person being created at the new location would be a mere replica. Again, I don't see that there is anything inconsistent with physicalism here.
Ian insists that according to physicalism, our identity is in our physical body, therefore if a body is a replica of me, it must be me. But this is impossible. If I make a replica of me without destroying the original, how can the replica be me? By hpothesis there are two numerically distinct persons! It seems that Ian is confusing numerical identity with qualitative identity. All I'm saying is that a replica is not numerically identical to the original—a rather basic point.
Incidentally, Ian also invokes near death experiences, apparitions, and ESP. While near death experiences and apparitions are real hallucinatory phenomena but are no evidence of an afterlife (or of a non-physical mind), I am not aware of any serious evidence that ESP is real.
If anyone detects merit in Ian's objections and feels like explaining such merit to me, I would be grateful.