I remember reading a paperback book in the late 1970s or early 1980s that consisted, at least partly, of a series of thought experiments about identity. Examples were teleportation to another planet were the teleport machine broke and a copy was made on the distant planet, but the original survived, or, I think, brains in vats. I seem to remember that these were told as fiction, with a professor being the character that performed the various experiments. I started looking for the book again a few years ago believing it to be from Stanislaw Lem, but I searched through his titles and couldn't find exactly the book I remember. Maybe this description means something to someone who could help me?

  • Some of that brings up vague memories of a short story (or not quite short story?) by R A Lafferty I read in the 1970s.
    – DarenW
    Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 7:33

4 Answers 4


The Mind's I came to my mind when I read your description. May be it is it.

  • Thanks for your answer. No it is not the book I'm trying to find. I have "the Minds I" and the subject matter is close. The book I'm looking for was more of a novel size and shape. It was very much written in the style of Lem, like the Futurological Congress, but with shorter chapters.
    – leancz
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 13:29

It sounds similar to Stanislaw Lem's The Star Diaries (1971). The narrator, Ijon Tichy, isn't a professor but the collection is introduced by a Professor of Comparative Astrozoology.

I don't think it mentions teleportation but the first story has Tichy meeting and arguing with near-future versions of himself. In "The Fourteenth Voyage" he buys an electric brain. The next story has him swapping places with his future self and the one after that talks about souls in machines and autoevolution.

  • Thanks, this isn't the book I was looking for. I read Star Diaries and it is a fantastic book, especially the "versions" story.
    – leancz
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 11:44

Might be this (in German) http://www.amazon.com/Studie-Stanislaw-Gedankenexperimente-pers%C3%B6nlichen-Identit%C3%A4t/dp/3638860841/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1332516791&sr=8-5

Though, I've never read it.

But I read his "Summa of Technologies", which includes descriptions of similar experiments. Unfortunately, I don't know if translation to English exist.


Rouge Moon? Unlikely that it is the book you're looking for, but it has some similarities to what you describe.

  • This is not the book in question - sounds good though. Thanks.
    – leancz
    Commented Jan 7, 2014 at 7:51

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