Re: Quantum accident survivor

From: Eric Cavalcanti <>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 15:47:27 -0200


Sorry for the late reply to this:

> From: "Hal Finney" <>
> > You can "assume" anything you like!
> >
> > Seriously, we have had extensive and occasionally acrimonious debates
> > on this topic in the past, without much success or resolution. I think
> > that we have no good foundation for establishing the truth or falsehood
> > of any theory of identity in absolute terms. Instead, these issues
> > must be considered matters of taste.
> >
> > You can indeed choose to believe that as long as any version of yourself
> > continues in any universe, then you will consider yourself to still
> > be alive. You could also choose the contrary, that if the total measure
> > (ie. probability) of your survival is extremely small, that you are
> >
> > Hal Finney
> >
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank" <>
> Hi there,
> Hal, one nitpick about your comments:
> In the case of Quantum Immortality, I don't think it's a matter of taste,
> interpretation. It is a theory that every one of us can and ultimately
> test. Granted, we will only be aware of a positive result, but,
> nevertheless...
> cheers,
> Frank

I agree with you. The QTI is after all experimentally
testable, and of direct importance for all of us.

But I guess the problems in this discussion is the lack of precise
definition of the terms and of the philosophical framework.

First, in this discussion I am always assuming MWI.

In a materialistic framework - with nothing external to the
physical world - it is hard to define personal identity if we
take the MWI in account. But in this case there is clearly
no 'soul' or anything other than the configuration of atoms
to describe what we call 'ourselves'. In any branching of
the multiverse there are multiple copies of my body being
produced. Nevertheless, I only experience one of those
states. Therefore, I guess the best I could say is that ' I '
is one of the instances of this configuration.

Let me stress this point: *I am, for all practical purposes,
one and only one specific configuration of atoms in a
specific universe. I could never say that ' I ' is ALL the
copies, since I NEVER experience what the other copies
experience. The other copies are just similar
configurations of atoms in other universes, which shared
the same history, prior to a given point in time.*

In some of these branching universes, this configuration
of atoms that I call 'me' will not show signs of what we
call life anymore. Notice that death is no different from
any other branching in the multiverse in a materialistic
point of view. There is no 'soul' being detached from the
body or anything else. So there is no reason to suppose
that my personal experiences will not be, as before, one
of any of the future configurations of these atoms that I
call 'me', including those where this configuration is a
'dead' state.
In particular, after a severe car crash, most of these will
be dead. Notice again that 'dead' has, in this paradigm,
no supernatural meaning, it means nothing more than 'that
body does not show vital functions anymore'. In particular,
that body has no sensorial experiences anymore. But there
is yet no reason to suppose that I cannot be one of those
bodies. Therefore, in this framework, in the case of a severe
car crash, the probability that I have no more future sensorial
experiences - i.e., that I am dead for good (or bad?) - is
simply the measure of universes where my body is dead.

When some people suppose that our next experience is
necessarily one of the alive ones, they are tacitly assuming
a dualistic position.
But if we decide to accept a dualistic framework QTI would
probably be the least probable scenario. We could as well say
that the next experience would be of many other kinds: in other
bodies, reincarnation, or any transcedental experience like
going to heaven - there is no reason to decide between these.
For instance, QTI poses a difficulty for the dualist: at each
moment, if QTI and is true, an infinity of 'souls' is merging into
one single body, since this body is dying at an infinity of other
universes. How does this square with the common definition
of a 'soul' as an immaterial *individuality*?

Received on Tue Nov 04 2003 - 12:49:22 PST

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