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The Ghost of Theseus Problem

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Michael View Post

    That's the essential mistake the Ship of Theseus critiques. You're just stating that certain elements of identity are essential without actually justifying it. Like, how impaired or altered does your brain have to be before it's no longer you?
    To be fair, the Ship of Theseus question is not quite intended for these sort of frameworks.


    Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Male/neutral pronouns accepted, female pronouns enjoyed.
    Currently Working On: Memento Mori(GtSE)

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    • #17
      Someone has a car crash, is in a coma for a month and in a wheelchair for the rest of their life - a ghost of them appears during the crash, and haunts their living counterpart's bedside.

      Ten years later, the person dies of cancer.

      The two ghosts meet. Which one of them is the real person?

      Neither in one sense (they're both copies) the older ghost in another sense (they have continuity of conciousness, while the comatose one didn't) the younger ghost in another (they're the closest to the living person) and both in another (they're both different versions of them).

      The book mentions it because we knew the metaphysical quirk of the CofD setting that allows for ghosts of living people, ghost buildings, etc means characters in the setting who are reasonably knowledgable about ghosts will have wrestled with this kind of conundrum. Sin-Eaters come firmly down on the side of "it doesn't matter, ghosts are thinking, emoting, self aware beings, ergo they're people," but this kind of thing allows room for antagonists to believe they aren't harming real people when they abuse the dead.

      It absolutely has the potential to reduce sympathy for ghosts - that's the *point*, that Sin-Eater culture has sympathy for ghosts *anyway*.
      Last edited by Dave Brookshaw; 07-04-2018, 05:48 AM.


      Dave Brookshaw, freelance writer and Developer

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
        The book mentions it because we knew the metaphysical quirk of the CofD setting that allows for ghosts of living people, ghost buildings, etc means characters in the setting who are reasonably knowledgable about ghosts will have wrestled with this kind of conundrum. Sin-Eaters come firmly down on the side of "it doesn't matter, ghosts are thinking, emoting, self aware beings, ergo they're people," but this kind of thing allows room for antagonists to believe they aren't harming real people when they abuse the dead.

        It absolutely has the potential to resuce sympathy for ghosts - that's the *point*, that Sin-Eater culture has sympathy for ghosts *anyway*.
        Gods I love this game.


        Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Mummy 2e; Scion - Mysteries of the World

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
          Gods I love this game.
          Same, the more I read about it, the more I remember why I liked it in the first place.

          Also, credit where it's due, because these 2nd Editions keep breathing new life and power in these games in such a way the best cinematographic equivalent I could think of is the scene in the first Matrix where Trinity helps Neo resurrect and he proceeds to kick ass. I mean, I was always fond of Geist and had fun writing about it, but the game is back, improved and ready to usher in all sorts of ghostly goodness in the CoD as a whole.

          I'm both impressed and glad that I paused some things I was working on in order to write them with the new Geist
          Last edited by Cinder; 07-04-2018, 04:31 AM.


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          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Michael View Post
            That's the essential mistake the Ship of Theseus critiques. You're just stating that certain elements of identity are essential without actually justifying it.
            On the contrary, that's what you're doing here:
            Or, they both have a legitimate claim on that originality.
            ... implicitly making that claim about memory (since that's all the ghost and the living person would have in common). If someone cloned my body, that clone wouldn't be me - but they would be another person in their own right. Why should I see it any differently with a clone of my mind?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post

              The book mentions it because we knew the metaphysical quirk of the CofD setting that allows for ghosts of living people, ghost buildings, etc means characters in the setting who are reasonably knowledgable about ghosts will have wrestled with this kind of conundrum. Sin-Eaters come firmly down on the side of "it doesn't matter, ghosts are thinking, emoting, self aware beings, ergo they're people," but this kind of thing allows room for antagonists to believe they aren't harming real people when they abuse the dead.

              It absolutely has the potential to reduce sympathy for ghosts - that's the *point*, that Sin-Eater culture has sympathy for ghosts *anyway*.
              Many mages seem like they're purpose-built antagonists for sin-eaters. I hope the Awakened get called out by name, and not just generic necromancers, in the Antagonist section of the corebook.

              You can never have too much crossover...
              Last edited by branford; 07-04-2018, 03:11 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Dave Brookshaw View Post
                It absolutely has the potential to reduce sympathy for ghosts - that's the *point*, that Sin-Eater culture has sympathy for ghosts *anyway*.
                Hasn't it been stated that the Bound are themselves (two) ghosts? Because that would mean they aren't the original version of the inhabitant of their body either. Which is interesting

                It also makes me think of a scenario where someone eaten up enough with something to cause a ghost has a near-death experience - but as a result, they realise that life is too short and move on. However they also leave a ghost behind, which retains the full obsession - and now regards their living counterpart as betraying the core (as the ghost sees it) of themselves.

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                • #23
                  Okay, thanks for the replies.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by xiongrey View Post
                    You know, I've asked myself this question a lot, albeit in a different format. It is all based on the original philosophical question of course. But still.

                    What if you were to step into a machine that would create another you. a la The Prestige (movie not the book). No matter which one you are, both are not in the original physical location as you were before turning on the machine so it's ambiguous who the "original" person is.

                    The question is: What would you do. Would you demand they die? That they go away and take other names and lives? Who has more right to the life you now live? Would you demand they do things for you so that you don't have to? The question is interesting because no matter what answer you give, the other one is likely to feel the same.
                    Something of a digression, but this also reads like an excellent summary of the issues surrounding fetches in Changeling: the Lost. I'm over here taking notes for my next CtL campaign, and wondering about crossover potential...

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by itokro View Post

                      Something of a digression, but this also reads like an excellent summary of the issues surrounding fetches in Changeling: the Lost. I'm over here taking notes for my next CtL campaign, and wondering about crossover potential...
                      In fact, in my games, it's canon a fetch is a Doppleganger who has been artificially made and repurposed with her own trash-body. That's why Gentry need to abduct people before they can copy them; the trauma of being kidnapped by alien slavers is necessary to spin off a ghost, and that forming ghost is caught and put into a body; the ghost of what could have been.


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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Leliel View Post

                        In fact, in my games, it's canon a fetch is a Doppleganger who has been artificially made and repurposed with her own trash-body. That's why Gentry need to abduct people before they can copy them; the trauma of being kidnapped by alien slavers is necessary to spin off a ghost, and that forming ghost is caught and put into a body; the ghost of what could have been.
                        Ghost or Hedge Ghost? Because that can have an impact regarding what powers work with/on them.


                        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                        • #27
                          Though ghosts may be people... I would personally hunt down every doppelgänger of me and eat them, can’t take the chance of there being a Reaper Korogra hiding somewhere in the Great Below, jealousy plotting my downfall for being the (possible) original

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                            Ghost or Hedge Ghost? Because that can have an impact regarding what powers work with/on them.
                            After being fused with fae magic and symbolically appropriate detritus, it really doesn't matter. They can be either, they aren't allowed to fully form before they're permanently bound to a new body. It does mean Underworld fetches tend towards being left-brain thinkers, to use an inaccurate metaphor. If you've played Warframe, think Sun vs Moon; Hedge fetches are more passionate, friendly, and heedless of other's perspectives, while Underworld fetches are languid, empathetic, and amoral.


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                            • #29
                              They're people, and their thoughts and feelings are valid, but that doesn't naturally mean people will perceive them as the same person if they know how ghosts work.

                              Like, lets say your married but than you die. Now, your spouse knows a little bit about the occult, and one of the few nuggets they know is how ghosts are created. This could cause them to have a negative reaction to the ghost. This isn't a bad plothook for a story, so it isn't a problem per se, but I think people don't properly consider the issue from the perspective of the ghost's loved ones.

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