Re: Causation, Indexical facts &Self-sampling

From: Jacques M Mallah <>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 20:02:30 -0400

On Tue, 13 Apr 1999, Nick Bostrom wrote:
> The Self-Sampling Assumption (SSA), the idea that you should reason
> as if you were a random sample form the set of all observers,
> underlies many of the discussions we have had on this list. About
> half a year ago I discovered some paradoxical consequences of this
> assumption. It seems to imply that weird backwards causation and
> psychokinesis(!) is feasible in our world. In this small paper I
> describe these possible counterexamples and discuss whether they
> really are as paradoxical as they appear at first blush:

        There may actually be an interesting issue related to this.
        It's not surprising that the Copernican principle (or SSA as you
call it) fails to be useful when the observer, like Adam, just happens to
be in an atypical position. It remains true that it will work for most
observers and that one should use it; even Adam.
        The interesting thing is that if Adam believed in the MWI, he
could calculate (roughly) the distribution of observers, and then he would
realize that the effective probability of him seeing himself have a child,
and therefore of any correlated coin flips or deer crossings, was the same
as a third party observer would calculate.

                         - - - - - - -
              Jacques Mallah (
       Graduate Student / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
            My URL:
Received on Fri Apr 16 1999 - 17:03:57 PDT

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