Re: adult vs. child AB causation

From: Jack Mallah <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 08:07:48 -0800 (PST)

--- On Tue, 2/10/09, Brent Meeker <> wrote:
> >>> 2) If the data saved to the disk is only based on A1> (e.g. discarding any errors that A2 might have made) then one could say that A1 is the same person as B, while A2 is not. This is causal differentiation.
> >>
> >> Yes, but I'm assuming A1 and A2 have identical content.
> >
> > That actually doesn't matter - causation is
> defined in terms of counterfactuals. If - then, considering
> what happens at that moment of saving the data. If x=1 and
> y=1, and I copy the contents of x to z, that is not the same
> causal relationship as if I had copied y to z.
> Isn't that making the causal chain essential to the experience; contrary to the idea that the "stream of consciousness" is just the computation? The causal chain is not part of the computation, A1 and A2 could be implemented by different physics and hence different causation.

--- On Tue, 2/10/09, russell standish <> wrote:
> But surely the counterfactuals are the same in each case too? In which case it is the same causal relationship. We're talking computations here, each computation will respond identically to the same counterfactual input.

I believe you both are taking what I wrote out of context. Sorry if I was not clear.

In the above I was talking about the moment at which the data is saved, from either A1 or A2, when making the transition to B in the thought experiment.

BTW, causation (sensitivity to counterfactuals) is part of the criteria for an implementation of a computation. So in that sense causation is essential to the experience.


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Received on Wed Feb 11 2009 - 11:07:56 PST

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