Re: FIN insanity

From: Jacques Mallah <>
Date: Sat, 01 Sep 2001 14:45:55 -0400

>From: "Saibal Mitra" <>
>There are different versions of QTI (let's not call it FIN).

    I'm certainly not going to call it a "theory". Doing so lends it an a
priori aura of legitimacy. Words mean things, as Newt Gingrich once said in
one of his smarter moments.

>The most reasonable one (my version, of course) takes into account the
>possibility that you find yourself alive somewhere else in the universe,
>without any memory of the atomic bomb that exploded. I totally ignore the
>possibility that one could survive an atomic bomb exploding above one's
>head. My version doesn't imply that your a priory expected lifetime should
>be infinite.

    Your version may not imply immortality, but I don't really see how it's
different from other versions (and thus why it doesn't).

>I say:
>1) If you are hurt in a car accident and the surgeon performes brain
>surgery and you recover fully, then you are the same person.

    OK, that's merely a matter of definition though.

>2) You would also be the same person if the surgeon made a new brain
>identically to yours.

    I'm not sure what you mean here. The new brain would be the same as the
old you, the old one would remain the same, the old one was destroyed, or

>3) From 2) it follows that if your brain was first copied and then
>destroyed, you would become the copy.

    A matter of definition agin, but let me point out something important.
If your brain is copied, then there is a causal link between the old brain
and any copies. Thus it's quite possible for an extended implementation of
a computation to start out in the old brain and end up in the copy, without
violating the requirement that implementations obey the proper direct causal

>4) From 3) you can thus conclude that you will always experience yourself
>being alive, because copies of you always exist.

    I don't see how 4 is supposed to follow from 3. In any case, it's
certainly not true that copies of you always exist. Rather, people who are
structurally identical do exist, but they are not copies as they are not
causally linked. Even if they were linked in the past, they have diverged
on the level of causal relationships between your brain parts vs. their
brain parts.

>5) It doesn't follow that you will experience surviving terrible accidents.

    If 4 were true, I don't see how 5 could be true.

                         - - - - - - -
               Jacques Mallah (
         Physicist / Many Worlder / Devil's Advocate
"I know what no one else knows" - 'Runaway Train', Soul Asylum
         My URL:

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Received on Sat Sep 01 2001 - 11:47:12 PDT

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