RE: Dualism and the DA (and torture once more)

From: Jonathan Colvin <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 17:39:48 -0700

>> Bruno wrote:
>>> Note that the question why am I me and not my brother is strictly
>>> equivalent with why am I the one in Washington and not the one in
>>> Moscow after a WM duplication. It is strictly unanswerable. Even a
>>> God could not give an adequate explanation (assuming c.).
>> (JC) Ok, does that not imply that it is a meaningless question?
>Not at all.
>> If you want to
>> insist that this question is meaningful, I don't see how this is
>> possible without assuming a dualism of some sort (exactly which sort
>> I'm trying to figure out).
>> If the material universe is identical under situation (A) (I am copy
>> #1 in
>> washington) and (B) (I am copy#2 in washington), then in
>what way does
>> it make sense to say that situation A OR situation B might have
>> obtained?
>Just ask the one in Washington. He will tell you that he feels
>really be the one in washington. The experience from his
>personal point of view *has* given a bit of information "he
>feels himself to be the one in washington, and not in Moscow".
>At this stage he can have only an intellectual (3-person)
>knowledge that its doppelganger has been reconstituted in
>Moscow. And he remember "correctly by comp" his past history
>in Brussels. <snip>

I'm sure the one in Moscow will also answer that he feels really to be the
one in Moscow. But what you haven't answered is in what way the universe is
any different under circumstance (A) than (B). This is because there is
surely *no* difference at all.

This is the reason why it makes no sense (to me) to take the position that
if I copy myself, there is a 50% chance of (A) me being observer A, and a
50% chance of (B) me being observer B. There is no difference between (A)
and (B).

This is also the reason why I choose (A) a 50% chance of torture over (B)
being copied ten times, and one copy getting tortured (where it is suggested
there is only a 10% chance of me getting tortured). There are clearly two
different possible universes under (A) (one where I get tortured, one where
I don't). Under (B), there is no way I can make sense of what the 10%
probability applies to. The universe is identical under situation (a) I'm
person 1 who gets tortured and (b) I'm person 2-10 who doesn't.

To insist that there *is* a difference surely requires some new kind of
dualism. Perhaps it is a valid dualism; but I think it should be accepted
that theories reifying the 1st person are fundamentally dualistic. But I
know what your response will be..the dualism comes from reifying the 3rd
person independent universe, and if we accept only the 1st person as "real",
there is no dualism. It is quite a metaphysical leap, though, to discard the
3rd person universe. I'd like to know how to justify such a shift.

It does not seem simpler by Occam, because instead of 1 universe containing
many observers, we have a multiplicity of universes, each with 1 observer.

How does this differ from solipsism?

How do we make sense of other observers within *our* universe?

If there questions have been addressed before on the list, feel free to
point me to the relevant archive section.

Jonathan Colvin
Received on Sat Jun 18 2005 - 20:45:35 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:10 PST