"Stathis Papaioannou" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes: > OK, I think I'm clear on what you're saying now. But suppose I argue > that I will not survive the next hour, because the matter making up my > synapses will have turned over in this time. To an outside observer the > person taking my place would seem much the same, and if you ask him, he > will share my memories and he will believe he is me. However, he won't > be me, because I will by then be dead. Is this a valid analysis? My view > is that there is a sense in which it *is* valid, but that it doesn't > matter. What matters to me in survival is that there exist a person in > an hour from now who by the usual objective and subjective criteria we > use identifies as being me.
The problem is that there seems to be no basis for judging the validity of this kind of analysis. Do we die every instant? Do we survive sleep but not being frozen? Do we live on in our copies? Does our identity extend to all conscious entities? There are so many questions like this, but they seem unanswerable. And behind all of them lurks our evolutionary conditioning forcing us to act as though we have certain beliefs, and tricking us into coming up with logical rationalizations for false but survival-promoting beliefs. I am attracted to the UD+ASSA framework in part because it provides answers to these questions, answers which are in principle approximately computable and quantitative. Of course, it has assumptions of its own. But modelling a subjective lifespan as a computation, and asking how much measure the universe adds to that computation, seems to me to be a reasonable way to approach the problem. > Even if it were possible to imagine another way of living my life which > did not entail dying every moment, for example if certain significant > components in my brain did not turn over, I would not expend any effort > to bring this state of affairs about, because if it made no subjective > or objective difference, what would be the point? Moreover, there would > be no reason for evolution to favour this kind of neurophysiology unless > it conferred some other advantage, such as greater metabolic efficiency. Right, so there are two questions here. One is whether there could be reasons to prefer a circumstance which seemingly makes no objective or subjective difference. I'll say more about this later, but for now I'll just note that it is often impossible to know whether some change would make a subjective difference. The other question is whether we could or should even try to overcome our evolutionary programming. If evolution doesn't care if we die once we have reproduced, should we? If evolution tells us to sacrifice ourselves to save two children, eight cousins, or 16 great-great uncles, should we? In the long run, we might be forced to obey the instincts built into us by genes. But it still is interesting to consider the deeper philosophical issues, and how we might hypothetically behave if we were free of evolutionary constraints. Hal Finney --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---