We're about: Learning, Philosophy Discussions, Self-Improvement, Intellectual Discussion, Critical Thinking, and Debate. If you are the kind of person who likes to discuss philosophical topics then you'll feel right at home here.
...and no, we aren't necessarily formally trained philosophers.
Mary knows everything there is to know about the colour red. As a scientist, it has been her life’s work. If you want to know why we can’t see infrared, why tomatoes are red or why red is the colour of passion, Mary is your woman.
All this would be unremarkable, if it weren’t for the fact that Mary is an achromat: she has no colour vision at all.
The world, for Mary, looks like a black and white movie. Now, however, all that is to change. The cones on her retina are not themselves defective, it is simply that the signals are not processed by the brain. Advances in neurosurgery now mean that this can be fixed.
Mary will soon see the world in colour for the first time. So despite her wide knowledge, perhaps she doesn’t know everything about the colour red after all. There is one thing left for her to find out: what red looks like.
*A byte on the side*
Like many people who had been married for several years, Dick was bored with his relationship. There was no passion these days. In fact, Dick and his wife hardly slept together at all. However, Dick had no intention whatsoever of leaving his wife. He loved her and she was an excellent mother to their children.
He knew full well what the usual solution to this problem was: have an affair. You simply accept that your wife satisfies some of your needs and your mistress others. But Dick really didn’t want to go behind his wife’s back, and he also knew that she could not deal with an open relationship, even if he could.
So when Dick heard about Byte on the Side Inc. (‘Even better than the real thing!’) he had to take it seriously. What the company offered was the opportunity to conduct a virtual affair. Not one-handed cybersex with a real person at the other end of the computer connection, but a virtual reality environment in which you ‘slept with’ a completely simulated person. It would feel just like real sex, but, in fact, all your experiences would be caused by computers stimulating your brain to make it seem to you as though you were having sex. All the thrills of an affair, but with no third person, and hence no ‘real’ infidelity.
Why should he say no?
*Beam Me Up*
For Stelios, the teletransporter is the only way to travel. Previously it took months to get from the Earth to Mars, confined to a cramped spacecraft with a far from perfect safety record. Stelios’s TeletransportExpress changed all that. Now the trip takes just minutes, and so far it has been 100 per cent safe. However, now he is facing a lawsuit from a disgruntled customer who is claiming the company actually killed him.
His argument is simple: the teletransporter works by scanning your brain and body cell by cell, destroying them, beaming the information to Mars and reconstructing you there. Although the person on Mars looks, feels and thinks just like a person who has been sent to sleep and zapped across space, the claimant argues that what actually happens is that you are murdered and replaced by a clone.
To Stelios, this sounds absurd. After all, he has taken the teletransporter trip dozens of times, and he doesn’t feel dead. Indeed, how can the claimant seriously believe that he has been killed by the process when he is clearly able to take the case to court?
Still, as Stelios entered the teletransporter booth once again and prepared to press the button that would begin to dismantle him, he did, for a second, wonder whether he was about to commit suicide… " Curled from The Pig That Would Be Eaten By Julian Baggini. Festus, Ebuka and Victor get together to discuss this thought experiment over a few drinks. What are your thoughts?