I had to work today, so instead of a story, I present a series of related questions about which I spoke with a friend yesterday. We had differing opinions on the answers.
• If an object is replicated precisely, with impeccable precision down to the very last molecule, is the copy of the object essentially that object?
• Does your answer to this question change if the original object ceases to exist as the copy is created?
• Does your answer to this question change if the object being replicated is not, in fact, an object, but a person? Imagine that the person is not replicated just bodily, but that their mind — their personalty, thoughts, memories; everything that is them; what in the stories on this blog would be called “the spirit”— is replicated as well.
• If a person is replicated impeccably, is the copy, essentially, the original? Even if the original continues to exist?
• Say that the person’t body is not replicated, but their consciousness is, perhaps within a machine. Do we now think of that machine as that person?
• Say the person’s body dies in the process of replicating their consciousness within the machine. Do we think of them alive within the machine, since a perfect copy of their consciousness survives? Or do we still consider that person to have passed on?