How to Travel Faster than Light
Elliot (Robert)
Source: Analysis 41.1,January 1981, pp. 4-6
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. The inter-stellar beam-transport system has been working smoothly for years now. All one has to do is attend the departure centre at the appropriate time. The rest is simple. One's biochemical details are recorded and one's body is then disintegrated. The recorded biochemical blueprint is electro-magnetically transmitted to the arrival centre at the desired destination. The traveller is then re-embodied in accordance with the blueprint out of the appropriate elements from the element bank.
  2. However some people were dubious about beam-transport in the early days. What worried them was the fact that beam-transport involved disintegration of the body. They found it hard to accept that a person could survive bodily discontinuity.
  3. However beam-transport does nothing to interfere with psychological continuity1 and cohesiveness. Travellers leave and arrive with the same psychological characteristics, and there is, after all, a direct causal chain which links a traveller's final departure stage with his initial arrival stage. As the philosophers showed long ago these conditions are sufficient to ensure personal survival2.
  4. Beam transport does have its limitations. Despite the fact that it enables travel at the speed of light it still involves enormously lengthy transit times. The problems this causes for social and personal relation-ships have been well documented. The solution though, is quite simple. Let me explain.



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 2: See, for example, "Parfit (Derek) - Personal Identity" and "Perry (John) - The Importance of Being Identical". The arguments contained in these papers are decisive in establishing a theory of personal survival which should allay any fears one might have concerning beam-transport.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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