In star trek when people get on the transporter they pop out somewhere. But how do we know if they are not just clones. Is there a test that actually exist in real life that can actually tell if a transferred concusiness is genuine and not a clone?

  • Define genuine. Your consciousness has inevitably evolved, ergo, it is different, since yesterday. Given that there's a clear difference between today's and yesterday's, is yesterday's one genuine?
    – RodolfoAP
    Commented Jan 30, 2022 at 18:09
  • Given that we have no idea whether this is possible, and if possible, how to accomplish this. I don't see this as a well-posed question. Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 18:40
  • @RodolfoAP i should of commented a long time ago. But you know how you cant read peoples minds and see the world in there perspective. Well how can we tell that in the star trek or any other instance that you would continue to only see the world with your eyes and not stop seeing at all? I'm sorry if this doesn't clear things up this topic is very complicated. Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


Have a look at the page on Teletransportation paradoxes. These are best approached not having definitive final or universal answers, but as thought-experiments to explore the implications of our ideas about identity.

From a logic perspective, by the law of identity, once a version of you stops having continuity with your world-line, it becomes a different 'thing' - if a teleported version existed and the initial being continued, they would be diverging in similarity from the moment of splitting. The Ship of Theseus and the Fading Qualia thought experiments or other ways to push our ideas.

We accept substrate independence, say of programs run on different hardware, so you could shift the concept of identity from matter following a world-line to an organisational structure. I make the case in this answer, who is 'identical' becomes about who is asking, for what purposes: What makes consciousness different for two different people?

Buddhist thought is rooted in challenging our intuitions that we have something unchanging about us. In the Buddhist view we are all enmeshed with each other. There are only causes and conditions, no essences. Hume's Bundle Theory of identity comes to a similar perspective.

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