Stathis writes

> > same here; if you are interested in knowing what the
> > case is, and not merely what the appearances are, then you
> > have to understand that you are a physical process, and it
> > may so happen that you execute in different places, and in
> > different times, and that overlaps are possible.
> 
> Certainly, this is the objective truth, and I'm very fond of the objective 
> truth. But when we are talking about first person experience, we are not 
> necessarily claiming that they provide us with objective knowledge of the 
> world; we are only claiming that they provide us with objective knowledge of 
> our first person experience.

"Objective knowledge of my first person experience", eh?  I'll
have to ponder that one!  Perhaps it will help if I contrast
it with subjective knowledge of my first person experience  :-)

> I [may] have to say that we are two different people when we
> are separated by time as well as space or across parallel
> universes. What I would say is that my successor tomorrow 
> is potentially "me" if there is continuity of consciousness
> between all the intermediates between now and then.

I'm skeptical of "continuity" requirements. Now I do not believe in
Greg Egan's equations in "Permutation City": according to a premise
of the story, it order to obtain the you of tomorrow, there is a
short-cut alternative to just letting you run.  And that is to
determine the solutions of an immense number of differential
equations that do not in fact emulate your intermediary states.
If this were so, then it may be that you could discontinuously
skip past all of tonight and tomorrow's experiences, and just
start living by directly experiencing the day after that.

It's easy to imagine this being possible; when I was a teen and
was faced with the loathsome task of mowing the lawn, I wondered
if it could be possible for me to just not have that experience
at all, but for my life to just magically resume after the chore
was completed (somehow).  I was aware that what I wanted was not
simply memory erasure.

> The successor of my duplicate with the headache does not satisfy
> this criterion and is therefore not potentially "me".

Well, are you sure?  What if he takes a memory-erasure pill
(that works much more perfectly than Midazolam) and thereby
becomes a past state that is identical to one of "your"
past states, and then evolves forward into states that you
definitely consider to be your natural successors.

After people are uploadable, this could happen without much
fuss all the time. The interplay of and algebraic combinatorial
possibilities of *memory addition*, *experience*, and *memory
erasure* lead back to the notion that one is just a fuzzy set
in the collection of all persons or person-states.

> Arbitrary though this criterion for continuity of identity
> may be, it is the criterion our minds have evolved with,
> and calling it irrational will not change that fact.

Well, some of this is involuntary, but some of it is not.
I've never seen how to shake *anticipation*, for example,
and suppose that we're just stuck with it, problems and
all. But actually I don't have any problem believing that
I *am* my duplicates, even those across the room, who are
just me seeing a different perspective of the room (and
perhaps having slightly different thoughts).

> If we are to be strictly rational and consistent, it 
> is simplest to go to the extreme of saying that *none*
> of the instantiations of an individual are actually the
> "same" person, which is another way of saying that each
> observer moment exists only transiently. This would mean 
> that we only live for a moment, to be replaced by a copy
> who only thinks he has a past and a future.

Mike Perry, in his book "Forever For All" develops these
from the idea of "day-persons", i.e., the idea that you
are not the same person from day to day. But that's 
certainly not a satisfactory way of extending our usual
notions into these bizarre realms; you and I want to live
next week because we believe that we are the same persons
we'll be then.  And the idea that we *are* fuzzy sets in
person space permits this.

> We die all the time, so death is nothing to worry about.

On this definition, yes. But this is *such* an impractical
approach. We all know that it's bad for your neighbor when
he dies, despite us and him totally believing in the MWI.
We would like to avoid having to say that we die all the
time.

Lee

> I actually believe this extreme view to be closest to the "objective 
> truth", but I still make plans for the future and I still don't want to 
> "die" in the more usual sense of the word. Being "rational" is completely 
> incapable of making any impact on my biological programming in this case, 
> and as you know, there are people in the world who hold being rational in 
> much lower esteem than the members of this list do.
> 
> --Stathis Papaioannou

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