Tom Caylor writes:

>There is also the issue of scientific prediction or induction, the
>prediction that someone who has murdered is more likely to murder
>again.  I think this is more important that memory when it comes to the
>issue of the practical societal definition guilt.  How can we predict
>that I might murder in the future, if I haven't yet murdered but a
>"parallel" version of me has?

This is actually my point: the issue of personal identity as it pertains to 
responsibility for past actions etc. is decided as a matter of evolutionary 
or social utility, not as a matter of empirical fact. That a certain person 
murdered someone at a certain time and place is a matter of empirical fact, 
safe from the scrutiny of philosophers. That this is the same person years 
later, deserving of punishment when he is caught and finally confesses, is 
philosophically problematic, even in a single world cosmology. Thought 
experiments involving copies are a common device used in the philosophical 
literature to make the issues easier to see - eg. Derek Parfit's "Reasons 
and Persons", in which he also discusses the ethical implications.

>I think this gets down to the key
>question raised here before on measure across the multiverse.  This is
>broader than the issue of personal identity, and makes the multiverse
>in my view very problematic.  To hypothesize a multiverse in order to
>solve the issue of personal identity is only to complicate the matter.

I don't understand what you are getting at here. Has someone proposed that 
the postulated multiverse "solve[s] the issue of personal identity"? I agree 
that the multiverse just makes it more complicated.

Stathis Papaioannou


>Georges, Peter:
>
>Arriving at a consistent and reasonable-sounding theory of personal
>identity
>in the multiverse is difficult, to say the least. Some list members in
>the
>past have argued that all copies of a person have an equal claim to
>that
>person's identity, so that we should feel responsible for the actions
>of
>even those parallel copies whose memories we will never share. I object
>to
>this on the grounds that it is unfair (it's not my fault if a parallel
>copy
>commits a crime, nor do I benefit in any way if a parallel copy has a
>rewarding experience), and also because any criterion for how similar
>two
>individuals have to be in order to be considered copies is ultimately
>arbitrary. I think the clearest way to talk about these matters is to
>relinquish the notion that two copies could be the "same person" in any
>objective or absolute sense. This naturally leads to the smallest
>possible
>unit of personhood, delimited in time, space and multiverse, and
>loosely
>analogous to the (somewhat controvesial) observer moment or
>observer-moment.
>In other words, if you say that it was Joe Bloggs at a specific time,
>place
>and multiverse branch who did the murder, there can be no argument
>about the
>identity of the accused. But if you then ask if this is the same Joe
>Bloggs
>a day or a year before or after the murder, the old philosophical
>arguments
>about personal identity all arise, and we have to answer that *by
>convention*, it is, and *by convention*, the older Joe Bloggs in those
>multiverse branches where he recalls committing the crime, but not the
>younger Joe Bloggs, and not the older Joe Bloggs in those multiverse
>branches where (in the absence of a memory disorder) he does not recall
>committing the crime, deserves to be punished.
>
>Stathis Papaioannou

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