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PostPosted: September 25th, 2007 00:46:30 am 
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The famous essayist Paul Graham has written about philosophy. Lewis shall be amazed.

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PostPosted: September 25th, 2007 21:06:26 pm 
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Ha ha.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2007 05:50:49 am 
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grrr.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2007 20:22:36 pm 
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Lewis looks pretty amazed to me.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2007 20:25:35 pm 
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Personally I still think Graham's best essay is this one.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2007 20:27:09 pm 
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http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html

I kind of like this one, but it might just be that I don't like high school in general.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2007 20:47:45 pm 
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The high school one partially gibes with my experience in that school is a lot like a prison or holding cell(save for a few classes tought by really good teachers) but I don't see the social structure he describes. Maybe it's because of AP and honors classes, where the more challenging content implies more intelligent people implies less of a need for that social structure.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 02:51:44 am 
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I...um...I don't think I'd ever heard of Paul Graham before stumbling into this thread.

Which I somehow missed until just now (thanks again to the weird way in which unread posts are marked).

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 03:36:01 am 
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I found him by typing "why" into google.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 03:39:58 am 
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Well, I'm about 1/8 of the way through the essay on philosophy. What do you all think about his statement that no one really exists as individual entities? I think it's absurd and absurdly demonstrated (there is nothing in modern science, as far as I know, to indicate that two people could survive, each using half of a single brain).

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 03:48:02 am 
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I remember a news story where someone had to have half her brain removed, and she turned out alright.

Also, there was an episode of House, M.D. where a piano player had to
spoiler warning!! wrote:
have half his brain removed.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 04:45:40 am 
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I would like to see said news story.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 05:04:54 am 
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The division case relating to the problem of personal identity is actually only loosely based on actual science. But there is a genuine worry, since people can survive with massive portions of their brain missing, and if we ever design prosthetic medulla oblongatae or whatever, we might be able to actually perform the case like that.

But another way to get at the worry is this: Imagine we had transporters like on star trek. Now imagine that one time, it misfires, and instead of decomposing you on earth and assembling you on the ship, it just assembles a you on the ship, and leaves a you on the earth. Are you one or the other or both or neither of the people?

Here is the exact same sort of worry, but in a much clearer case:

Ship of Theseus:
Theseus is going off to war, so he asks you, his good friend to take care of his ship. You agree, and whenever one of the planks of wood making up his ship starts to rot, you replace it. Well, Theseus is gone a long time, and before he gets back, you've replaced every plank on the ship. Theseus returns and says, "That's not my ship!" So you gather together all the rotted out planks and reassemble them into a ship, and show it to Theseus, and he says, "I asked you to take care of my ship, and this ship is in total disrepair." Setting aside the fact that theseus is being kind of bitchy, which ship, if either, is his ship, and did you manage to follow his instructions? Also, we can treat this as a jumping off point for thinking about the relationship of a complex object to its parts. Can it survive replacement of some of its parts? What about all of its parts? Etc. Etc. Since you too are made of parts, we have to wonder how our conclusions about boats will apply to people.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 05:05:59 am 
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william wrote:
The high school one partially gibes with my experience in that school is a lot like a prison or holding cell(save for a few classes tought by really good teachers) but I don't see the social structure he describes. Maybe it's because of AP and honors classes, where the more challenging content implies more intelligent people implies less of a need for that social structure.


I thought his nerd one was crazy whiny and crazy self-indulgent, and I was kind of filled with the urge to tell him to suck it up and shut up.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 05:19:14 am 
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Have you seen The Prestige?

I can't really say more because it would spoil the ending (which I thought was pretty bad, though the rest of it was really good), although I guess the mere fact that I'm bringing it up in response to Lewis's post is already a spoiler.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 05:59:27 am 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
But another way to get at the worry is this: Imagine we had transporters like on star trek. Now imagine that one time, it misfires, and instead of decomposing you on earth and assembling you on the ship, it just assembles a you on the ship, and leaves a you on the earth. Are you one or the other or both or neither of the people?



Didn't they split Kirk in two like this?

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 06:00:15 am 
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chenjesu wrote:
Lewis Powell wrote:
But another way to get at the worry is this: Imagine we had transporters like on star trek. Now imagine that one time, it misfires, and instead of decomposing you on earth and assembling you on the ship, it just assembles a you on the ship, and leaves a you on the earth. Are you one or the other or both or neither of the people?



Didn't they split Kirk in two like this?


There is an episode of TNG with two rikers.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 06:15:24 am 
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No, I know they split Kirk in two, one of his personalities was a wimp, one was an animal.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 07:50:26 am 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
The division case relating to the problem of personal identity is actually only loosely based on actual science.

But another way to get at the worry is this: Imagine we had transporters like on star trek.


Lewis, Star Trek: The Original Show isn't actual science either.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 07:56:33 am 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
chenjesu wrote:
Lewis Powell wrote:
But another way to get at the worry is this: Imagine we had transporters like on star trek. Now imagine that one time, it misfires, and instead of decomposing you on earth and assembling you on the ship, it just assembles a you on the ship, and leaves a you on the earth. Are you one or the other or both or neither of the people?



Didn't they split Kirk in two like this?


There is an episode of TNG with two rikers.


I'm pretty sure the extra Riker (the one that didn't go back to the Enterprise and went by Thomas instead of Will) went on to join up with the Maquis at some point, and showed up on DS9 and caused some trouble. He was kinda jaded.

I don't know about Kirk because I never really got the hang of TOS. Or Enterprise, but that was mostly because it never came on a channel I got at my house. Are there enough trekkies here for a Star Trek thread?

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 10:28:19 am 
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Lewis Powell wrote:
The division case relating to the problem of personal identity is actually only loosely based on actual science.

In psychology class we learned about this.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 10:42:07 am 
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chenjesu wrote:
I remember a news story where someone had to have half her brain removed, and she turned out alright.

Also, there was an episode of House, M.D. where a piano player had to
spoiler warning!! wrote:
have half his brain removed.

House, M.D. isn't actual science.

But hemispherectomies have happened before and will happen again. For epilepsy.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 13:07:02 pm 
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That's not removing half of the brain, that's just partially severing the connection between the two halves.

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In fact, the largest number is about 45 billion, although mathematicians suspect that there may be even larger numbers.

It's not a Devil May Cry game unless Dante gets pinned to a wall and/or the ground by his own sword.
Preferably multiple times.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 13:29:23 pm 
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When Kirk was split in two, he was split into his "good" side and "evil" side, and we learn the valuable lesson that neither side can live without the other and that you can't just reject either. So neither of them was really kirk until they were forced back together.

Also, re: Theseus and his ship, I think there was an episode of Judge Judy like that. I think she ruled in favor of the guy taking care of whatever it was.


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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 18:10:22 pm 
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BatmanAoD wrote:
That's not removing half of the brain, that's just partially severing the connection between the two halves.

Actually I think it's completely severing the neural connection. Sometimes they have to even remove half of the brain but they usually try to just remove the corpus callosum since that's a bit less destructive.

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PostPosted: September 27th, 2007 21:08:28 pm 
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completely severing the corpus collosum is a pretty effective way of dividing the brain in two, and with no means of communicating between them, each half can be considered to have a seperate mind which has wacky implications for philosophy that brain surgeons try not to think about.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2007 01:06:22 am 
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william wrote:
House, M.D. isn't actual science.


Don't they research medical symptoms and effects before they make their episodes? You'd think they had a doctor help write the script.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2007 13:55:45 pm 
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I'm pretty sure they just flip through a medical dictionary and say: "ooh! Here's a really wierd one! Encephokinephrangeiosis! what if someone had that... and a tapeworm... and was radioactive."


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2007 16:55:30 pm 
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Clancy wrote:
When Kirk was split in two, he was split into his "good" side and "evil" side, and we learn the valuable lesson that neither side can live without the other and that you can't just reject either. So neither of them was really kirk until they were forced back together.

Perhaps there's a lesson here for us all, about what it is to be human.

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