On Wed, May 31, 2006 at 03:30:00PM -0700, Brent Meeker wrote:
> Of course such cases already arise in which Alzheimers or schizophrenia 
> changes a person into
> "someone else", i.e. we say he is "no longer himself".  Just because there is 
> an continuum of
> intermediate states it doesn't follow that there is no "fact of the matter".
> Brent Meeker

Of course our personalities change through time - we are not the same
person as the child we remeber being and the personalities
in other Multiverse branches that branched from us are also different

These are also indisputably contiguous cases. The case in contention
is something like - is it possible to go from Jesse Mazer (I think it
was) and move in incremental steps through the Multiverse, stepping
from "person" to "person" and end up at Bruno Marchal? It is not
immediately obvious to me that this should be true. If anything, the
various analogies we have point to the opposite conclusion.

If two persons are contiguously linked then I would accept that
Parfit's thought experiment works, and leads to a spectrum of persons
between the two end points. For example, if I step into Bruno's
duplicater in Brussels, and end up in Washington, then I do believe it
will be possible (in theory) to perform Parfit's experiment on myself
and my twin in Moscow for as long as we both live (ie years after the

However, I'm not sure I can be so easily converted into a person whose
origin is completely different (different birth, different childhood
etc.) without passing through unconscious states.

This would imply that there exist "islands" of indentity, and having
limited awareness in time and multispace, we can only ever be aware of
one instance from each island, but that might change with technology.

BTW another analogy is the islands of geneflow within biological
species. Within biology, we have such things as ring species, where
two species at a location (eg Britain) cannot interbreed, yet can
interbreed with neighbouring species to the east and west in an
interrupted chain that circumnavigates the pole. (Sorry I may not be
explaining the concept of ring species too well - look up Wikipedia).

In such a case, perhaps "ring identities" such as Jesse Mazer <->
Bruno Marchal do exist - but I'd like to be surer of the analogy. Also
ring species are the exception, not the rule, in Nature.


A/Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 8308 3119 (mobile)
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UNSW SYDNEY 2052                         [EMAIL PROTECTED]             
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