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

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 09:43:41 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> 2009/2/27 Bruno Marchal <>:
>> Gosh! And what if the backup has been done last year, or one minute ago? I
>> will be dead too? Less dead?
> This shows a potential problem the psychological criterion for
> personal identity. If I am facing death it is little consolation to me
> if a backup was made an hour ago, since I (the presently speaking I)
> will not be able to anticipate any future experiences. Only if there
> exists some copy who will have a memory of my present experiences
> would I not object to dying, and this would require a backup updated
> every moment. In that case, I should also object to an hour of memory
> loss, due to a medication like midazolam. But I don't think that
> taking midazolam is tantamount to dying. Inconsistency! Either I have
> to agree that taking midazolam is like dying, or I have to agree that
> dying while leaving an old (how old?) backup behind does not matter.
> If I agree to the latter, then I give up worrying about the thing I
> don't like about dying, which is the fact that I won't be able to
> anticipate any future experiences. And if I give up worrying about
> that, then there isn't anything else that worries me about dying. So
> if I think that taking midazolam is no big deal (which I do), to be
> consistent I should also think that death is no big deal.

But isnt' there a range here. I would certainly feel less anxious
about dying if there were a backup of me made an hour ago than if it
were made months or years ago or if there were no backup at all. On
the other hand, an hour of memory loss from taking midazolam may be
less worrisome simply because we, as a culture, have a lot of
experience with loss of consciousness and memory from anesthesia, etc.


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Received on Fri Feb 27 2009 - 12:43:56 PST

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