Re: against UD+ASSA, part 1

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 20:23:13 +1000

On 03/10/2007, Jesse Mazer <> wrote:

> >A firm plan was formed to rear humans in two batches: the first batch to be
> >of three humans of one >sex, the second of five thousand of the other sex.
> >The plan called for rearing the first batch in one >century. Many centuries
> >later, the five thousand humans of the other sex would be reared. Imagine
> > >that you learn you're one of the humans in question. You don't know which
> >centuries the plan >specified, but you are aware of being female. You very
> >reasonably conclude that the large batch was >to be female, almost
> >certainly. If adopted by every human in the experiment, the policy of
> >betting >that the large batch was of the same sex as oneself would yield
> >only three failures and five thousand >successes. ... [Y]ou mustn't say:
> >'My genes are female, so I have to observe myself to be female, no >matter
> >whether the female batch was to be small or large. Hence I can have no
> >special reason for >believing it was to be large.' (Leslie 1996, pp.
> >222-23)

This sort of argument seems to go awry with some of the thought
experiments concerning duplication and personal identity. Suppose God
reveals to you that every other minute, he has been increasing your
measure a millionfold for a minute, then returning it back to normal.
What you don't know and have to guess is whether the increase is
happening during the odd or the even numbered minutes. It is currently
3 minutes past the hour, and you reason that, if you say that you are
sampled from the high measure period, a million versions of you will
be right to every one that is wrong, so you guess that almost
certainly the duplication is occurring during the odd minutes.
However, if you wait a while you can go through the same reasoning
about the even numbered minutes. Clearly, you cannot claim that the
duplication is almost certainly occurring during both the odd and the
even numbered minutes, since this inconsistent with the information
God has reliably provided you.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Wed Oct 03 2007 - 06:23:27 PDT

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