Re: A calculus of personal identity

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 16:19:09 +0200

Le 20-juin-06, à 09:43, Lee Corbin a écrit :

> I have before stated my long-held opinions on this,
> namely that it's best to regard one's duplicates
> as self. As a corollary, the "you" that ends up
> in one place is "100% you" and so is the other.

If you meant by self "my third person self", I agree.
if you meant by self my first person self conceived in a third person
way, I still agree.
If you talk about first person as first person can know them, I
No person can feel to be at two places at once (assuming comp).

> Consider this alternative experiment: we reveal to
> you that every minute of the last two years you have
> had one thousand duplicates created in fake rooms,
> streets, passage ways, or in bed, wherever you happen
> to be. At random, 999 are chosen to be immediately
> destroyed, with only the 1 at the end of each minute
> carrying on.

*Are* chosen or *were* chosen? I mean do you assume the experiment will
be carried on, and that the next years I will be multiplied again in
that way?
What do you mean by "destroyed", is it an absolute annihilation (which
exists only in thought experiments and nowhere else), or a concrete
annihilation (which I will survive by comp or Q-immortality).

> Oh, yes, you might be very philosophically upset.
> But it would end up making no real difference to
> you. You would find that you, as always, have more
> important things to worry about, and life would go
> on normally.

If you talk only about a past experience and promise me to stop
multiplying me without my consent, I will either conclude that I have
been very very very very ... lucky, or that you have find a way to make
absolute annihilation (I doubt it though).

> No important difference exists between one person
> to whom this is happening, and his neighbor to
> whom it is not. They both feel similarly, and
> by hypothesis lead very similar lives.

OK, but just to be sure: would you say the same thing in case the copy
are not destroyed, but send to some place P.
In that case I would say there is (at first sight) 999/1000 that in
next minute I will be the one send in the place P, so that in the "long
run", there is almost no chance I continue my normal life. I will be
In case of absolute annihilation, I agree with you (on content, not on
the way you arrive at the conclusion: the comparison between me and the
neighbor is done in a third person way, and only the first person
expectation should count. Let me illustrate why. Let us iterate 64
times the B-->WM duplication experiments, except that
-1) I substitute the Hell for Moscow.
-2) In Brussels I am never aware I will be duplicated, I believe that I
am just tele-transporting myself to Washington.

Then there is a high objective probability that I will find myself
subjectively in Hell after some trips, but if you keep interviewing the
one who is reconstituted in washington, obviously he will tell us
everything is fine, given that by construction, you interview the lucky
one. Those in Hell knows your reasoning is unconvincing. You are doing
statistic with a biased sample.

Again, if you were thinking about absolute annihilation I agree with
you, but only in that case.

> For this reason, our concepts and language must
> adapt to reality, not try to make reality adapt
> to them.

We don't know reality, we can adapt ourself only to appearances, and
bet those appearances hide some reality (and be wrong most of the time,
but so we learn).


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Received on Tue Jun 20 2006 - 10:20:29 PDT

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