Thought Experiment 1 Is it suicide?

Introduction: This is the first in the series of thought experiments I will blog about. The pont of a thought experiment is to get your brain cogs moving and make you think deeper. There is NO right or wrong answer. If you choose to respond, give a well-thought out argument.


For Stelios, the teletransporter is the only way to travel.  Previously it took months to get from Earth to Mars, confined to a cramped spacecraft with a far from perfect safety record.  Stelios' TeletransportExpress changed all that.  Now the trip takes just minutes, and so far it has been 100% 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.

Uploaded 10/26/2008
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