Re: [Fwd: NDPR David Shoemaker, Personal Identity and Ethics: A Brief Introduction]

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 23:22:31 +1100

2009/2/24 Bruno Marchal <>:

>>> From a logical point of view Shoemaker is right. You can say "no" for
>>> many reasons to the doctor.
>>> The copy will not even behave as you.
>>> The copy will behave like you, but is a phi-zombie.
>>> The copy behaves like you and as a soul/personality/consciousness,
>>> but
>>> yet is not you (and you are dead)
>> This last is the problematic one. If it is valid, then it is also
>> valid to say that I only live for a moment and continuity of identity
>> is only an illusion.
> I don't think so. Unless you assume comp, but then to say the copy is
> not you has no meaning at all.
> This last is not really problematic, it is just equivalent with the
> negation of comp.
> It is brought by non-comp-people who, on the contrary insist a notion
> of continuity which is broken by digital substitution.
> For a computationalist, the "continuity" is given by the comp history,
> and is not broken by teleportation and the like, not even self-
> differentiation through self-duplication.

As I see it, to say that the copy has all your important mental
qualities but still isn't you because it lacks your soul - the
significant thing about the soul here being that it is something over
and above mental qualities - is equivalent to saying you assume comp,
but the copy still isn't you.

>> Actually, I have no objection to this way of
>> speaking, but we would then just have to say that this illusion of
>> continuity is just as good as what we hitherto thought was real
>> continuity.
> I think we agree. Just note that when I don't write "assuming comp" I
> consider also the case when comp is false. Perhaps I shouldn't.
>>> The copy is you (in Parfit sense: that it is as better than you).
>>> And,
>>> the copy can be you in deeper and deeper senses (roughly speaking up
>>> to the unspeakable "you = ONE").
>>> I talk here on the first person "you". It is infinite and unnameable.
>>> Here computer science can makes those term (like "unnameable") much
>>> more precise.
>> I don't see how the copy could be me in a deeper sense than having all
>> my thoughts, memories etc. It would be like saying that if I wave my
>> magic wand over you you will become specially blessed, even though
>> nothing will actually change either subjectively or objectively.
> The copy could be you in the deeper sense that it could be you even in
> the case where he loses some memory, all memories, or in case he got
> new memories, including false souvenirs. But then it is like in the
> movie "the prestige", your brother can be you. This path leads to the
> idea that we are already all the same person. It is "not being the
> other" which is an illusion in that case. I don't insist on this
> because we don't need to see that arithmetic is the theory of
> everything (and that physics comes from there). But it is needed for
> the "other hypostases" and the whole theological point.

I still don't understand your point. Assume that the copy is
arbitrarily close to the original me in every mental quality: is there
still some sense in which it might not really be me? If you can come
up with an answer, then it could equally well be applied to walking
across the room, which none of us do worrying that we won't survive
the experience.

Stathis Papaioannou
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Received on Tue Feb 24 2009 - 07:22:39 PST

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