Re: Quantum suicide and immortality

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 11:07:38 -0700

ZeroSum wrote:
> The Wiki article "Quantum suicide and immortality" (http://
> states:
> "Also, the philosopher David Lewis, in "How Many Lives Has
> Schrödinger's Cat?", remarked that in the vast majority of the worlds
> in which an immortal observer might find himself (i.e. the subset of
> quantum-possible worlds in which the observer does not die), he will
> survive, but will be terribly maimed. This is because in each of the
> scenarios typically given in thought experiments (nuclear bombing,
> Russian roulette, etc.), for every world in which the observer
> survives unscathed, there are likely to be far more worlds in which
> the observer survives terribly disfigured, badly disabled, and so on.

I think this is just a misinterpretation of the physics. All those scenarios and
their effects are essentially classical. In Julian Barbour's metaphor they are
all strands in the same branch and are classically indistinguishable. Since the
brain is a classical information processor, they all correspond to the same
conscious stream. Since classically you are either killed or not, or maimed or
not, there is are not huge numbers of worlds in which you are maimed to
different degrees that are consciously distinct.


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Received on Sun May 10 2009 - 11:07:38 PDT

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