Re: another puzzzle

From: Stathis Papaioannou <>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005 14:05:26 +1000

Eric Cavalcanti writes:

>I believe that the solution is not 3-rd person communicable. I believe that
>I press the button 100 times, I'll never experience leaving the room, but
>there will be 100 copies of me claiming otherwise. That is because I
>that my 1-st person probability (in the sense of degree of belief) in this
>is NOT equal to the fraction of functionally identical copies. I believe
>that my first person expectation is not measurable by 3rd parties.
>The only way I can be convinced otherwise is by doing the test. But then
>would never know, because empirically (for 3rd parties) the result would be
>the same in either case.
>I know that sounds somewhat solipsist in the end, but I can't believe
>that merely scanning me can affect my future. And I would like to
>be convinced otherwise, because I don't like solipsism.

What do you mean, "the only way I could be convinced otherwise is by doing
the test"? You agree that there is no 3rd person difference, but the whole
point is that there can't be any *1st* person difference either! What do you
imagine this 1st person difference could be?

Actually, I sympathise with you, because for many years I wondered, if I
went into a teleporter, would the person who came out the other end really
be me, or would I have been committing suicide? Then a few years ago, on a
Sunday afternoon driving home from the supermarket, it suddenly dawned on me
that this was a crazy question. Other than thinking I was me, remembering my
thoughts, behaving like me, looking like me, etc., what other evidence could
there possibly be that the copy really was me? If I were to be consistent, I
would have to wonder whether the person I was a few months ago was "really
me", because the atoms comprising my body today are probably completely
different. In fact, in *every respect* the person I was a few months ago
differs more from me as I am today than I would differ from a teleported
copy. In what way is the destruction of the original in teleportation
different to the destruction of the original which occurs in the course of
normal life, other than the speed with which it happens? If you collected
all the discarded matter from your body over the course of a year, you would
probably have more than enough to build a whole alternative person. Would
you consider that person "dead", replaced by a mere copy? If not, could you
give a consistent explanation for why you would consider teleportation to be
basically different?

--Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Fri Jun 24 2005 - 00:06:39 PDT

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