RE: A calculus of personal identity

From: Lee Corbin <>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 21:51:05 -0700

Bruno writes

> >> BM: In that case I would say there is (at first sight)
> >> 999/1000 that in the next minute I will be the one
> >> sent in the place P, so that in the "long run", there
> >> is almost no chance I continue my normal life. I will be
> >> upset.
> >
> > LC: I would say that you will continue your normal life, and you will
> > also have a lot (too much) measure in the Martian penal colony.
> I see what you mean and I agree with you, but now, you were again
> talking about third person description of the first person point of
> view (I will write 1-pov, 3-pov, ...).

Yes. I find that the 1st person accounts to be pretty subjective,
actually. They also lead to inconsistencies and unnecessary
differences of opinion. In history, the 1st person experience
(e.g. the stars revolve around the Earth) are always upstaged
sooner or later by actual, objective data.

> When I am saying there is almost no chance I continue my normal
> life, I was talking about my expectation for my future first
> person experience,

I agree with you. If, that is, we are talking about the entire
set of future instantiations that have your memories. E.g., as
we said, .999999 of you go to an unpleasant place, and only one
of you stays on Earth. If the rest of them get no runtime at all,
or insignificant amounts of runtime, then you still continue to
live, even if it might seem that you do not: objectively speaking,
you do. After all, this business of making duplicates who die
almost instantly could have been going on since your birth.

> not about an absolute 3-description of where all my possible
> 1-pov will be realized. Of course, once the multiplication has
> been done, then normality resumes.
> Each morning I am multiplied into a continuum of Bruno Marchal drinking
> cups of coffee, and by the quantum rule (or just comp actually) there
> exist 1-pov where my coffee tastes tea. Despite this the relative
> probability of such personal events are rare, and I don't take them
> into account in my expectations.

Exactly so. One should indeed not take them into account. We must go
with the practical, and with that which happens in greatest measure.

Now the version of me who continues on Earth *would* be very
unhappy (though he would become used to it) if each second .9999
percent of him was taken away to hell forever. This is because
I must anticipate being in hell (just as you are saying). However,
the *feeling* of anticipation cannot so far as I know be placed
on entirely rational grounds. I gave up trying in 1986.


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Received on Fri Jun 23 2006 - 00:45:50 PDT

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