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

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:36:01 +0100

On 25 Feb 2009, at 02:51, meekerdb wrote:

> On Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 7:16 AM, Bruno Marchal <>
> wrote:
> On 24 Feb 2009, at 03:04, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> >
> > 2009/2/24 Brent Meeker <>:
> >
> >> I tend to agree with Quentin that memories are an essential
> >> component of
> >> personal identity. But that also raises a problem with ideas like
> >> "observer moments" and "continuity". Almost all my memories are
> not
> >> being remembered at an given time. Some I may not recall for years
> >> at a
> >> time. I may significant periods of time in which I am not
> >> consciously
> >> recalling any memories. So then how can memories and continuity be
> >> essential? I practice we rely on continuity of the body and then
> >> ask,
> >> "Does this body have (some) appropriate memories?"
> >
> > The continuity is contingent on having access to the relevant
> memories
> > as required. If you are listening to a recording the parts where the
> > music plays must be from that particular recording, but the silent
> > parts could as easily be from any other recording. In the same
> way, if
> > you are staring at a blank wall thinking of nothing for a moment,
> then
> > during that moment you might be a generic human having such a
> similar
> > experience.
> Exactly (assuming comp). That is even the reason why amnesia can led
> to fusion of first persons.
> And given that there is (or should be) a notion of first person
> plural, with duplication of collection of people, there must be in
> "nature" a similar fusion process, and quantum erasing phenomenon is
> the normal candidate.
> Bruno
> It is the potential "fusion" that bothers me. It would seem to
> imply that after Stathis and I have a simultaneous moment of
> thinking of nothing our "closest continuations" might be mixtures,
> each having some memories belonging to Stathis and some belonging to
> me.

I don't see why. But Brent with amnesia could become Stathis if we put
Stathis memories in Brent's brain. That's all. After complete amnesia
you are potentially anyone, but there is no reason to become both
Stathis and Brent simultaneously, no more that you could feel to be in
both Washington and Moscow after a duplication experience.

> But this doesn't seem to occur - which we easily explain in terms of
> the causal continuity of the brain.

I agree. UDA just shows that if you assume comp you have to explain
the causal continuity of the brain in term of addition and
multiplication of numbers.


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Received on Wed Feb 25 2009 - 04:36:07 PST

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