Re: another puzzzle

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 12:03:07 +1000

Hal Finney writes:

>Stathis Papaioannou writes:
> > That is the basic idea behind these thought experiments with copies: as
> > more easily understood analogy for what happens in the
>I don't agree, and in fact I think the use of copies as an analog for
>what happens in the multiverse is fundamentally misleading. If it were
>not, you could create the same thought experiments just by talking about
>flipping coins and such.
>What is the analog, in the multiverse, of pushing a button to make a copy?
>When faced with the chance of torture, you are going to push a button
>to make a copy. What does that correspond to in the multiverse?

When you flip a coin in the multiverse, you are copied many times along with
the rest of the universe, with half the copies seeing heads and the other
half tails. If an experience such as torture is dependent on the outcome,
half the copies will be tortured and the other half won't. From a first
person perspective, it looks like there is only one universe with
probabilistic laws; from a godlike third person perspective, it is all
deterministic, with every possible outcome occurring in some branch or
other. The difference between the multiverse and thought experiments with
copies is, of course, that in the latter case only a part of the universe is
duplicated, and it is possible that the copies will meet. If you control
conditions in copying thought experiments to eliminate the effects of these
differences, then they should be a good analogy for what happens in the

--Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Wed Jun 22 2005 - 22:14:10 PDT

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