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

From: russell standish <>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 12:28:41 +1100

On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 08:34:48PM +1100, 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.

If Multiverse (or COMP), and no cul-de-sacs is true, then the backups
are actually irrelevant. There will always be next OM to
experience. If "no cul-de-sacs" is false, however, then true death is
possible, and I'm not convinced that the presence of backups will help

Either way, there is little to be concerned about :)


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
UNSW SYDNEY 2052         
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Received on Fri Feb 27 2009 - 20:28:21 PST

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