Re: effective probability

From: Gilles HENRI <>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 14:37:49 +0100

>Jacques M Mallah, <>, writes:
>> On Wed, 27 Jan 1999 wrote:
>> > This view is especially perplexing if my measure changes drastically
>> > over time. With some of our thought experiments, I could boost the
>> > measure of an instant of my consciousness by making copies of my brain
>> > state (say, a high-resolution X-ray). But the next instant, my measure
>> > drops again. Would I somehow expect to notice myself spending more
>> > time in that amplified instant? Suppose I spent half my days with a
>> > big brain and half my days with a small brain. Am I to be puzzled on
>> > those days I am in the small brain, faced with the mystery of why I am
>> > not experiencing the measure-enhanced big-brain days?
>> Making copies would not enhance your measure unless they are
>> functional copies, according to computationalism. Even if they are, it
>> would just mean you could expect an enhanced a priori chance of being on a
>> 'big brain day'. 'Small brain' days would not be of zero measure, so
>> would still occur, and if you find yourself in one, fine. It won't feel
>> any different, just as it wouldn't feel any different if you had an exact
>> twin you didn't know about.
>So what would distinguish big brain days from small brain days? You say I
>would "expect an enhanced a prior chance of being on a 'big brain day'".
>Does that mean that, if at some random time in my life I ask myself,
>"is this a big brain day?", that the answer would be more likely than
>not to be true? Surely not. Would I expect more things to happen to me
>on big brain days? Surely not. Would I remember big brain days better
>than small brain days? Surely not. Would there be any point in trying
>to arrange my life so that good things happen on big brain days and bad
>things on small brain days? Surely not.
>The fact is, there would be no detectable differences whatsoever
>between big brain and small brain days.
>What does it mean, then, for me to "expect an enhanced a priori chance of
>being on a 'big brain day'"? More generally, what does it mean for me to
>"expect to be" on any day? This concept does not seem to correspond in
>any way to my experience of reality.

Hey Hey and what about if the moon was made of Cheddar cheese? I agree with
Hal. The discussion can go anywhere if we assume totally unrealistic
events. We *are* physical systems.

I don't like too much this idea of replication of yourself. Even if you
make a precise copy of one's brain, it will immediately begin to diverge,
only by the fact that it is not at the same place, so it won't see the same
things. The fact that you would share the same past is not sufficient : two
twins have actually shared a common past (a single cell), but they are not
considered as the same person. Same with Dolly and her mother.
Of course an autist computer can be exactly replicated. But it means also
that it is not conscious in the human sense, knowing its environment. And
we don't say that two computers built by the same company and running the
same OS and program are "the same"! They are just clones.
Again the question of identity is subjective. If we had the technique to
duplicate human beings, we should redefine it: you could consider that
somebody alse can actually be born from yourself. This a matter of
definition, not of physical properties of the world (just like defining a
sand heap...)

Received on Tue Feb 02 1999 - 05:44:57 PST

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