Duplication implications (sci-fi, metaphysics):

Total posts: [6]
1 TParadox14th Mar 2011 12:09:42 AM , Relationship Status: Sinking with my ship
For years, I've had this story in my head about a man who jury-rigs an emergency interplanetary teleport with nanites scanning and dissolving him at one end and a bioprinter reconstituting him at the other, with the optional twist at the end that the nanites rewrote their instructions to just scan and not dissolve him, to satisfy Asimov's Third Law, so now there are two of him.

Until slightly less years ago, I had it in my pile of "ends without a story." Then I started to think about beginning the story like that, and exploring the consequences of being copied. I know, it's hardly new ground (there are only about twenty episodes of Star Trek about such matters), but I'm not sure where to go with this. I'm thinking along the lines of "can a soul be duplicated?" and "What's the difference between a soul and a personality?" (Going with the assumption that his brain been scanned and re-formed at a sufficient resolution to leave all his memories intact)

The question is, if I go down this path, what does a soul look like, next to the other things that we look at when deciding what makes a person who they are?

I think I have two or three options on where to go with outcomes: one does not have a soul (which one has the soul is another question to ponder) and has to be destroyed, the non-ensouled one eventually gains a new soul, and this makes him express differently in some way, or some other option I haven't thought of because I haven't answered for myself the nature of souls for the purpose of the story.
Ave Imperator
If you go down that path, there are 3 options for souls.

1. They don't exist.

2. The soul is duplicated with the body and mind.

3. One of the copies is a soulless abomination (wouldn't recommend this one in sci fi.)

While it seems you've chosen the third option, it's your choice. Souls in fiction are generally invisible and amorphous, though they often are treated identically to ghosts when they're "detached" from the body.

edited 14th Mar '11 6:31:34 AM by Archereon

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I suppose since the original's soul gets copied in the transporter, then why not copy the soul in this duplication machine? It'll certainly add some weight when you have to face how to handle these copies. What can you do with these other people?
If you like it hard, go with option 1 or 2 from [up][up], the difference is just semantics on what is considered a soul. The implications of having separate continuations of equal worth from a certain brain-state should provide enough fuel for a story, no need to treat some of the people involved as subhuman.
The way I see it if you are alive and human you have a soul.

Portraying one of them as souless seems bigoted against clones.

Instead of asking : Who got the soul? why not ask: Who gets the identity?, and What does the one who doesn't get the identity do with his life?
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Total posts: 6