Brent wrote

> I would say that what makes a statement like "we're the same person from 
> moment to moment" true is
> that it's an inference from, or a part of, a model of the world that is 
> "true" in the provisional
> sense of scientific theories, i.e. it subsumes and predicts many empirically 
> verified observations
> (e.g. if I wake you up in the middle of the night and ask you your name 
> you'll reply 'Stathis') and
> it has not made any falsified predictions.  So in this sense we could say 
> that our model of
> personhood is better than that of the day-people - not in the sense that we 
> can show theirs is
> false, but in the sense that ours has greater predictive power and scope.

Well---I should have quoted this before I wrote that last post. Yes,
accurate beliefs (as I would call them) enable one to, as you say,
"subsume and predict many empirically verified observations".

As for your last statement about "greater predictive power and scope",
I can't quite agree, because the day-persons that Stathis postulates
*could* make just as accurate statements as we do, only they'd have
to do so quite circumspectly, in a round-about way. They'd have to
evolve the same meanings we have, and simply avoid the use of certain
terms we already employ for the purpose, e.g., "persons".

If in your example, Stathis grew up in the culture he hypothesizes, 
then when you woke him in the middle of the night and asked him his
name, he may say that he has not picked one for the day yet. If you
asked him what his name was before he fell asleep, he may have to say
that names are not as such used in the way you are suggesting. But
if you watch his actions (instead of listening to his unusual words),
then you see that the organism goes to the dentist today so that
there is less pain to the "same" organism later that year.

We are free to use whatever vocabulary we want to describe the situation.
It's hardly a coincidence that every culture on Earth has evolved terms
suggesting the continuation of personal identity beyond a day.

Lee


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