Stathis writes

> If [a] species believed that 2+2=5, or that their kidneys were the organs of 
> respiration,
> they would be wrong. But if they believe that they wake up a different person 
> every day,
> and live their lives based on this belief, they would *not* be wrong; they 
> could hold
> this belief quite consistently even if they knew all there was to know about 
> their biology.

I claim that there is an important sense in which they *would* be wrong,
that is, nature endowed us with a strong prejudice that we are the same
creature from moment to moment for a reason. A creature exhibits a great
deal of fear if a threat arises not to "it" itself in the sense of the
creature this moment, but "it" in the extended sense. It acts consistently
to ensure that itself of a few moments hence does not come to harm, and we,
of course, understand quite well why nature did this.

Creatures who do not identify with themselves a few moments hence are
"punished". They undergo pain or discomfort that is linked by their
intelligence to what the other creature (i.e. its self of a few moments
ago) actually did.  Again, in this way they become fearful of future
pain, and, on the other hand, eager to ravish future gain.

Suppose on the other hand that this is incorrect. Suppose that identity
does not extend in time past one Planck constant (whatever that is).
Then no object or person "survives". But then the term "survival" is
also lost.

(Words don't have absolute meanings; only meanings that convey relative
utility and which correspond to actual structure in the world. An object
and even a person *does* persist in time as is revealed by a close
examination of structure. It simply isn't very different from moment
to moment, and if it is, then the entity has not survived. For example,
a rock that is crushed into dust no longer exists as a rock.)

Each person reading this would act in the following way if he suddenly
heard a loud animal roar behind him. If he then looked around a saw a
large tiger, all thoughts about the futility of survival past one
Planck constant would vanish. If the person takes a flying leap, and
just manages to get on the other side of a door, and is able to slam
it shut in the tiger's face, the person will rightfully be relieved.
Why shouldn't we say that the person has survived, at least for the
nonce until the tiger figures out that it may be able to burst through
the closed door?


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