Jonathan writes

> Hal wrote:
> >If imperfect or diverged copies are to be considered as 
> >lesser-degree selves, is there an absolute rule which applies, 
> >an objective reality which governs the extent to which two 
> >different individuals are the same "self", or is it ultimately 
> >a matter of taste and opinion for the individuals involved to 
> >make the determination?  Is this something that reasonable 
> >people can disagree on, or is there an objective truth about 
> >it that they should ultimately come to agreement on if they 
> >work at it long enough?
> The way I see it, "Me" or my self is a poorly defined concept. It can refer
> to a number of different things. It could refer to my physical body (now or
> in the past or future); the mind that is part of *this* physical body (now
> or in the past or future); any mind or body identical to this mind or body;

It's identical (or very similar) *minds* that I'm interested in.
"Mind" is a program, according to a very nice book "What is Thought"
by Eric Baum, that I'm reading now. Anyway, I consider it fairly
objective when two processes (programs or people) are very similar
or very dissimilar. Of course, there are few sharp dividing lines
in nature. Or even in reality.

> What you attach the descriptor "me" to is really a matter only of
> taste or context.

Well, I certainly don't believe you as exhibited by your behavior  :-)
I reckon that you sacrifice all the time for Jonathan Colvin, and
much more rarely for a particular tree in your front yard. In fact,
you even believe yourself to be the same person from day to day---
now, are you saying that this is just "taste" on your part, and
that someone who one day thinks he's the tree in the yard, the
next day chooses to think that he's the streetcar---are you saying
that this person is not seriously reality challenged?

> One could try to tighten the definition of "me" to make it non-
> ambiguous, but then inevitably this will run afoul of one of the
> various thought experiments this list enjoys entertaining.

Well, of course our beliefs about what is what are bound to be
ambiguous to some degree.  We want to be free of the unattainable
chimera of perfect definitions.  You really know when something
is for your good and when it's not, and all we're trying to do
is extend this---admittedly non-precise---understanding to a
broader class of cases that involve futuristic possibilities,
like teleportation and copies.


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