Because no such thing as free will exists one has to consider three
different universes in which the three different choices are made. The three
universes will have comparable measures. The antropic factor of 10^100 will
then dominate and will cause the observer to find himself having made choice
b) as one of the 10^100 copies in the minute without torture.
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Monday, June 13, 2005 01:00 PM
Subject: more torture
> I have been arguing in recent posts that the absolute measure of an
> moment (or observer, if you prefer) makes no possible difference at the
> first person level. A counterargument has been that, even if an observer
> cannot know how many instantiations of him are being run, it is still
> important in principle to take the absolute measure into account, for
> example when considering the total amount of suffering in the world. The
> following thought experiment shows how, counterintuitively, sticking to
> principle may actually be doing the victims a disservice:
> You are one of 10 copies who are being tortured. The copies are all being
> run in lockstep with each other, as would occur if 10 identical computers
> were running 10 identical sentient programs. Assume that the torture is so
> bad that death is preferable, and so bad that escaping it with your life
> only marginally preferable to escaping it by dying (eg., given the option
> a 50% chance of dying or a 49% chance of escaping the torture and living,
> you would take the 50%). The torture will continue for a year, but you are
> allowed one of 3 choices as to how things will proceed:
> (a) 9 of the 10 copies will be chosen at random and painlessly killed,
> the remaining copy will continue to be tortured.
> (b) For one minute, the torture will cease and the number of copies will
> increase to 10^100. Once the minute is up, the number of copies will be
> reduced to 10 again and the torture will resume as before.
> (c) the torture will be stopped for 8 randomly chosen copies, and continue
> for the other 2.
> Which would you choose? To me, it seems clear that there is an 80% chance
> escaping the torture if you pick (c), while with (a) it is certain that
> torture will continue, and with (b) it is certain that the torture will
> continue with only one minute of respite.
> Are there other ways to look at the choices? It might be argued that in
> there is a 90% chance that you will be one of the copies who is killed,
> thus a 90% chance that you will escape the torture, better than your
> in (c). However, even if you are one of the ones killed, this does not
> you at all. If there is a successor observer moment at the moment of
> subjectively, your consciousness will continue. The successor OM in this
> case comes from the one remaining copy who is being tortured, hence
> guaranteeing that you will continue to suffer.
> What about looking at it from an altruistic rather than selfish viewpoint:
> isn't it is better to decrease the total suffering in the world by 90% as
> (a) rather than by 80% as in (c)? Before making plans to decrease
> ask the victims. All 10 copies will plead with you to choose (c).
> What about (b)? ASSA enthusiasts might argue that with this choice, an OM
> sampled randomly from the set of all possible OM's will almost certainly
> from the one minute torture-free interval. What would this mean for the
> victims? If you interview each of the 10 copies before the minute starts,
> they will tell you that they are currently being tortured and they expect
> that they will get one minute respite, then start suffering again, so they
> wish the choice had been (c). Next, if you interview each of the 10^100
> copies they will tell you that the torture has stopped for exactly one
> minute by the torture chambre's clock, but they know that it is going to
> start again and they wish you had chosen (c). Finally, if you interview
> of the 10 copies for whom the torture has recommenced, they will report
> they remember the minute of respite, but that's no good to them now, and
> they wish you had chosen (c).
> --Stathis Papaioannou
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