Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

Lets go over this again. There is a 100% chance that some copy of Kory Heath will find himself in the non-bizarre world, even though there will be one billion copies which find themselves in the bizarre worlds. If that single, lucky copy is not *you*, then who is he? Or rather, I should ask, if you are not *you*, then who are you? Force of habit makes us think that only one copy can be the "real" you, which is what you are assuming when you say that "the chances are very low - one in a billion - that *I* will be that copy". If all these copies exist, then each is equally entitled to claim to be the "real" you, and each will probably stamp his foot and insist that he (and he alone) *is* the real you. This is what I tried to show with my teleportation vacation thought experiment. The stay-home copy believes he has been cheated because he (the "real" he, in his opinion) missed out on seeing the planets, whereas in fact two thousand copies with equal claim to being the "real" person did find themselves off Earth.

I suppose our minds really are not designed to deal with the concept of multiple copies of ourselves. We insist that there can only be one copy extant at a time, and reason as if this is the case. It becomes less problematic if we talk only about third person probabilities.

Your argument assumes a certain metaphysical view about consciousness--namely, that all truths about reality can be described in third-person terms, that there are no first-person truths (like truths about 'qualia', such as Nagel's question 'what is it like to be a bat' -- see http://members.aol.com/NeoNoetics/Nagel_Bat.html ) which are not just ways of restating third-person facts. From a third-person point of view, it's certainly true that it would be meaningless for me to wonder which of two copies "I" am about to experience becoming, but for those who see consciousness as something more than just a certain type of behavior, the question could be meaningful, and a mathematical theory of consciousness (perhaps along the lines of David Chalmers' 'psychophysical laws') might tell you the probabilities that your next experience would be that of one copy vs. another.


Jesse

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