Re: Quantum accident survivor

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2003 15:46:12 +0100

At 16:05 14/11/03 -0200, Eric Cavalcanti wrote:

>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Bruno Marchal" <>
> >>When you said earlier that:
> >>"In a materialistic framework, ' I ' am a bunch of atoms. These atoms
> >>happen to constitute a system that has self-referential
> >>qualities that we call consciousness."
> >
> >
> >I would say I *own* a bunch of atoms. And we should distinguish
> >third person self-reference like "after the self-duplication you will see
> >me at W and at M, say", and first person self-reference like "after
> >the self-duplication, if comp is true, I will either feel to be at W, or
> >I will feel to be at M, but I will never feel to be at both place at once.
>I agree that *own* is a better term. But I still don't agree that I should
>either feel to be W or M. I believe I would still be the original. I have
>been discussing this on this list for a while and did not yet see a
>convincing argument. In fact, I think the people in this list have various
>different beliefs in this topic. Some say I should somehow expect to be
>both at the same time;

To be precise I have no certainty in that domain, except probably that
if we postulate explicitly that we are "turing emulable" (comp) then we can
prove that from a first person perspective we will feel to be at W, or at
M, but
not at both place, neither at none place.

>some say personal identity does not exist at all,
>which is quite nice to be said but hard to make a sense of (if you are
>not an enlightened buddhist or something);

Indeed, I agree. To say personal identity does not exist at all has no
meaning except for a zombie (but from a zombie point of view the word
"exists", "pain" "matter" ... has no meaning).

>and some, like you, believe
>I should have equal subjective probabilities of being each.

The fact is that I am in a state of maximal ignorance before the experiment.

>But I don't see a justification for this beyond personal taste. I know
>I must have lost this argument earlier on this list, but could you
>refer me to a more complete argument, or give a description of it here?

OK, I try here (more reference below)
Remember that we accept the comp hyp as a working hypothesis. Note that
this is apparently original: in the literature talk about comp is always
directed toward a refutation or a defense of comp. I don't care becuase my
point is that ONCE we postulate comp, then we get that comp first person
indeterminacy, and eventually the complete reversal between physics and
"machine psychology" (physics being redefined as what is really invariant
in all consistent extension of the universal turing machine...).

So a computationalist is someone who says yes for using teleportation
(classical teleportation) where he is scanned and read at the correct level
(which exists by comp), then he is annihilated at D (departure city)
(under anesthesia if you prefer)
then he is reconstituted at some place.
Now suppose he is reconstituted at two different places, W and M to fix the
(D is different from W, which is different from M, he is still annihilated at

At each of those two places we can imagine he is reconstituted in some
closed box, and that he will localized himself by using a GPS system, and
will note
the result in his notebook. OK?
Now, with comp, the one in M will localized himself at M and write M in the
and the one in W will localized himself at W and note W in the notebook.
SO, If we ask before the experiment to a candidate where he will find himself
after the annihilation (! what he will note in the notebook) then

1) He cannot say "I will be at none places", because he believes comp, so he
believes he survives teleportation (and the duplication does not change
because the two copies are supposed to be computationaly independent).

2) He cannot say " I will be at the two places" because by the definition of
first person (which is just (at this stage) the content of memory/notebook), he
knows that each notebook will contained a note like "the GPS result = W" or
"the GPS result = M" and no notebooks will contained "the GPS result =
W and M".

3) He cannot say "I will be for sure at W" because, by comp (unless putting W
in the definition of his brain, but then choose other cities for the
both reconstitution are 100% (numerically) symmetrical.

4) Nor can He say " I will be for sure at M", for the same reason.

My feeling, if I remember correctly some of your post is that you
will, say 1), that is "I will be at none places", because (and tell me please
if I guess it correctly) you will say "I remain the original which has been
destroyed at D". I have no problem with that. It means you disagree right
at the start with the comp hyp.
There is a problem only if you believe in comp (mainly that you are turing
emulable) and still disbelieve with the comp first person indeterminacy.


If you want to know why comp eventually force us to derive the laws
of physics, perhaps the "simplest" exposition are the following

Discussion with Joel Dobrzelewski (+ a precision asked by George Levy):
UDA step 1
UDA step 2-6
UDA step 7 8
UDA step 9 10
UDA last question
Joel 1-2-3
Re: UDA...
Joel's nagging question

Tell me if something is not clear, thanks.

Received on Mon Nov 17 2003 - 09:42:46 PST

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