I can see an interesting new problem in this thread. Let me put it in a thought
experiment as the praxis in this list requires.
You are in the same torture room as before, but now the guy is going to
torture you to death. You have three options:
A: you flip a coin to decide whether you are going to be tortured;
B: you press the copy button 100 times;
C: you press the copy button once.
What do the people in this list choose?
For some people, creating copies increases their 1st person probability
of escaping torture. So that at each time they press the button they can
associate with that a 50% probability of escape. These would
choose B, since then they would have a very near certainty of escaping
For others, creating copies does not increase any such probability, and
there is ultimately no meaning in talking about 1st person probability.
But for some reason they seem to feel a strong connection with the
copies, as if they are all the "same person". They think it is just as
good to offer a good meal to the copies as it is to offer it for
themselves. These people should choose C, since in this case they will
be comforted by the fact that a copy of themselves would survive and have
a good life. They don't really need more than one. Actually, one is much
better than many, since they wouldn't have the legal and financial problems
associated with having lots of copies around.
For others, as myself, creating copies does not increase my 1st person
probability of escaping torture. And differently from Lee, I think it is just as
good to offer a good meal to my copy as it is to offer it to my family and
friends. But it is definitely different from offering it to me.
These people would choose A.
I cannot really understand choice B. Would anyone really choose that or am I
just grossly misunderstanding some opinions in this list?
About choice B, it raises other interesting questions: suppose you know that
the copies are going to undergo some sort of plastic surgery a week or so
after the experiment, and will look very different from yourself now. They could
also undergo some type of slow personality modification (as education), such
that they would at any moment agree that they are experiencing a continuity
of identity. Would you still choose B? What if this change really isn't slow,
but sudden, at the time of creation of the copy? Does it make a difference?
Then what is the difference between doing a copy of yourself or a copy of
someone else, since any two people could be connected by a series of
continuous transformations? Would you still be comforted by the fact that
someone, even if very different from you, would be created to replace you?