Deletion, creation and movement

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
Steve3007
Posts: 7590
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Dolly Parton
Location: UK

Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » April 27th, 2020, 10:55 am

Consider the following two descriptions of a process:

1. Delete an X from place A. Create an X at place B.

and:

2. Move an X from A to B.

Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?

If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 723
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Umberto Eco
Location: Panama
Contact:

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Count Lucanor » April 27th, 2020, 7:50 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 10:55 am
Consider the following two descriptions of a process:

1. Delete an X from place A. Create an X at place B.

and:

2. Move an X from A to B.

Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?

If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?
"Delete" and "create" have an ambiguous meaning here, unless they meant an absolute deletion and creation: things that pop off in or out of existence. Otherwise, someone might interpret that something is deleted when it's taken out of sight and created when it's made visible, which of course could imply moving it and the the problem would not make sense. As an alternative, it could be proposed this way:

1. Destroy an X from place A. Build an X at place B.

and:

2. Move an X from A to B.

Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?

If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?


Tentatively, my answer is yes, because the same output is obtained, and it is the output that is instrumental. If we need an ambulance to go to the hospital, it really doesn't matter how it managed to arrive for fulfilling the goal of going to the hospital. The background of its origins becomes irrelevant.

X would have to be an entity that serves a function, in other words, is instrumental in reaching that goal. It must be noticed, however, that humans can find a function for everything, even for letting a piece of junk rust in the backyard for ages, for the pure pleasure of it.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 9:05 am

Steve3007 wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 10:55 am
Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?
If we're dealing with discrete, quantized spatial locations and A and B are such locations immediately adjacent to each other. (Which is of course assuming that such discrete, quantized spatial locations can exist.)
If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?
It would have to be an entity small enough that it's contained within one of the discrete, quantized spatial locations.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 9:08 am

I suppose I didn't really answer this from an instrumental context, but rather a literal context.

Instrumentally, we could say that they're the same as long as we don't care about/didn't or can't know about the motion or change in question.

By the way, though, on my view, things aren't literally the same when they move from one location to another, or when they're numerically distinct, including temporally.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 9:16 am

If you're thinking about this in terms of the "teleportation" issue, usually the concern there is just in what manner the entity at time B is connected to the entity at time A, with a focus on the distinction between "sameness" due to causally, contiguously connected phenomena and "difference" due to an absence of the same.

So in other words, what makes x "the same x" is that the different state of x at B as opposed to A involves phenomena that are contiguously, causally connected. But with something like "teleportation," where what that's really amounting to is taking a "picture" of sorts of x at location A, destroying x at location A, and then recreating x at location B, the x at location B does not have the contiguous, causal connections to x at location A that we usually require to consider something "the same" x.

Hence worries that in this sort of teleportation, you're actually being killed at A and something else is being brought into existence at B.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 9:20 am

I should have said "time or location B" at the start of that last post.

Wossname
Posts: 255
Joined: January 31st, 2020, 10:41 am

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Wossname » April 28th, 2020, 9:45 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 9:16 am
Terrapin Station » 21 minutes ago

If you're thinking about this in terms of the "teleportation" issue, usually the concern there is just in what manner the entity at time B is connected to the entity at time A, with a focus on the distinction between "sameness" due to causally, contiguously connected phenomena and "difference" due to an absence of the same.

So in other words, what makes x "the same x" is that the different state of x at B as opposed to A involves phenomena that are contiguously, causally connected. But with something like "teleportation," where what that's really amounting to is taking a "picture" of sorts of x at location A, destroying x at location A, and then recreating x at location B, the x at location B does not have the contiguous, causal connections to x at location A that we usually require to consider something "the same" x.

Hence worries that in this sort of teleportation, you're actually being killed at A and something else is being brought into existence at B.

I seem to remember reading a science fiction book as a child in which there was a malfunction and the person's "information" was teleported and recreated at location B but the person was not destroyed in location A (i.e. the teleporter). It raises questions about personal identity. I can't for the life of me recall the name of the book.

Tell me T.S., if Star Trek referred to something real, would you get into their transporter and be beamed fom one location to another?

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » April 28th, 2020, 10:37 am

Wossname wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 9:45 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 9:16 am
Terrapin Station » 21 minutes ago

If you're thinking about this in terms of the "teleportation" issue, usually the concern there is just in what manner the entity at time B is connected to the entity at time A, with a focus on the distinction between "sameness" due to causally, contiguously connected phenomena and "difference" due to an absence of the same.

So in other words, what makes x "the same x" is that the different state of x at B as opposed to A involves phenomena that are contiguously, causally connected. But with something like "teleportation," where what that's really amounting to is taking a "picture" of sorts of x at location A, destroying x at location A, and then recreating x at location B, the x at location B does not have the contiguous, causal connections to x at location A that we usually require to consider something "the same" x.

Hence worries that in this sort of teleportation, you're actually being killed at A and something else is being brought into existence at B.

I seem to remember reading a science fiction book as a child in which there was a malfunction and the person's "information" was teleported and recreated at location B but the person was not destroyed in location A (i.e. the teleporter). It raises questions about personal identity. I can't for the life of me recall the name of the book.

Tell me T.S., if Star Trek referred to something real, would you get into their transporter and be beamed fom one location to another?
I think I probably would, and the likelihood of that would be increased if we could restore health, agility, increase lifespan etc. as an added bonus.

Wossname
Posts: 255
Joined: January 31st, 2020, 10:41 am

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Wossname » April 28th, 2020, 1:08 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
April 28th, 2020, 10:37 am
Terrapin Station » Today, 3:37 pm

Tell me T.S., if Star Trek referred to something real, would you get into their transporter and be beamed fom one location to another?
I think I probably would, and the likelihood of that would be increased if we could restore health, agility, increase lifespan etc. as an added bonus.


I am dithering in my head on this one, but your added bonus is a good point and just might clinch it for me too.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 4201
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by LuckyR » April 30th, 2020, 4:21 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 10:55 am
Consider the following two descriptions of a process:

1. Delete an X from place A. Create an X at place B.

and:

2. Move an X from A to B.

Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?

If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?
The two are identical for distances at the boundary between the Newtonian and quantum.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Ayaan_817
Posts: 25
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 1:22 am

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Ayaan_817 » May 1st, 2020, 2:25 am

Steve3007 wrote:
April 27th, 2020, 10:55 am
Consider the following two descriptions of a process:

1. Delete an X from place A. Create an X at place B.

and:

2. Move an X from A to B.

Are there any circumstances in which you would be able to regard 1 as instrumentally equivalent to 2?

If "yes" would 'X' have to represent a particular kind of entity, or could it represent anything?
What you're saying here is teleportation.
Now, teleportation is the dematerialization of a substance down to its elementary particles and projecting those particles through another dimension and then back to our dimension at some coordinates [x, y, z]

But if you look at it from a different perspective, that's like saying I broke a cup and its pieces went to another dimension and then returned in its original form. So, did the cup even break at all?

If I split a brain into its 2 sides, left and right, and put those halves in different bodies, which body would be the original one that we began with? Keep in mind that living with one halve of a brain is medically possible.

I'm sorry if I swayed away from the original subject but no, 1 cannot be instrumentally equivalent to 2 as numbers are not even real. In fact, nothing is in fact real.

Consider it like this-

time is nothing but like unique frames in a reel and you can say the frame is a universe and the reel is the multiverse consisting of infinite frames.
Mutiple 'consciousness' are travelling through these frames and projecting them as what we call reality.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 9188
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Greta » May 1st, 2020, 4:56 am

If one is to be destroyed in one location and recreated in another, I hope that one is at least rendered unconscious before being killed prior to one's relocated resurrection!

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » May 1st, 2020, 6:25 am

Ayaan_817 wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 2:25 am
In fact, nothing is in fact real.
Oy vey.

There has to be a philosophy board that's not full of people who think stuff like this. (Please?)

User avatar
Steve3007
Posts: 7590
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Dolly Parton
Location: UK

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Steve3007 » May 1st, 2020, 6:41 am

Thanks for all the replies so far. I'll try to deal with some of the individual points raised later.

The particular entity that I had in mind in starting this topic was the abstract concept of money, as a result of a discussion in another topic with Wossname. I say "the abstract concept" to make it clear that I'm not talking about any of the physical representations of money, perhaps made from paper or various kinds of metal. I'm talking about fiat money - money that exists purely as an agreement or resolve in human minds (The word "fiat" being a Latin word which represents this).

I was interested in the question of whether, if a quantity of fiat money disappears from one place and the same quantity appears somewhere else, we can regard this as that quantity moving from the former place to the latter. The curious thing appears to be that, according to some theories, the answer to that question can be either "yes" or "no". If you're paying for your groceries using your credit card in a supermarket it's "yes". If the government is taxing and spending it's "no". At least according to one theory. That's interesting, The reason for the difference appears to be that, legally, the government doesn't have to tax and spend. They can do one without the other. But, legally, you do have to pay for your groceries.

But I thought it worth spinning off a new topic because clearly the general concept is applicable to other situations. For example, teleportation has already been mentioned in the posts above as an example, and in fact it has been discussed previously around here.

In the OP I asked about "particular kinds of entities" because one of the first divisions that struck me, when considering this in the context of fiat money, was the division between abstract concepts and material objects. I noted in the original topic, one of the differences between those two is that different instances of abstract concepts are literally identical to each other, whereas material objects generally aren't. For example, as an abstract concept, one US dollar is identical to another. But one US dollar bill clearly isn't. There are numerous physical differences (slight weight difference, different folds in the paper, someone's written on one of them with a biro, etc). You can't write on an abstract concept with a biro!

To switch across disciplines again: this then relates to such things as the concept, from modern physics, that certain elementary particles, such as electrons, are regarded as literally identical. This proposition has observable effects, such as the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

And so the cross disciplinary applicability of the concept goes on. And that, to me, is part of the essence of Philosophy: taking an idea, stepping way back from the details of individual disciplines, and observing its universality.

User avatar
Terrapin Station
Posts: 3338
Joined: August 23rd, 2016, 3:00 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell and WVO Quine
Location: NYC Man

Re: Deletion, creation and movement

Post by Terrapin Station » May 1st, 2020, 7:23 am

Steve3007 wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 6:41 am

I was interested in the question of whether, if a quantity of fiat money disappears from one place and the same quantity appears somewhere else, we can regard this as that quantity moving from the former place to the latter. The curious thing appears to be that, according to some theories, the answer to that question can be either "yes" or "no".
With anything like this, we're talking about an abstraction, a concept-formulation, and it's simply a matter of how you want to think about it.

I noted in the original topic, one of the differences between those two is that different instances of abstract concepts are literally identical to each other, whereas material objects generally aren't. For example, as an abstract concept, one US dollar is identical to another.
Again, this depends on the person in question, how they formulate their abstractions. As a nominalist who is acutely aware of these issues from my philosophical background, for example, in my abstractions I don't think of dollars as being literally identical. But I'm sure it's more common to think of them as identical.

Post Reply