Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Brent Meeker writes:
>> 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 
>> emprically
>> 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.
> If I were a day-person and you woke me in the middle of the night, I would 
> say that the person
> who went to bed last night was Stathis-1 and the person now awake is 
> Stathis-2. I would agree
> that Stathis-1 and Stathis-2 are comprised of mostly the same matter and have 
> similar mental
> attributes, but the fact remains, the brains of my species have evolved so 
> that waking up from
> sleep makes them believe they are a new person. This isn't a model or a 
> theory; it's more like
> reporting that I'm hungry, or frightened. Philosophical problems arise when 
> this feeling of
> continuity of identity (or lack of it) is equated with some empirical fact. 
> It happens that in
> our own evolution physical and mental continuity has been strongly correlated 
> with the subjective
> feeling of continuity of identity, and it is tempting to say that therefore 
> physical and mental
> continuity is equivalent to or (slightly weaker) necessitates continuity of 
> identity. However,
> this default model that we all use day to day is flawed on two counts. 
> Firstly, the correlation
> is not necessary, but contingent on evolutionary circumstances. It is easy 
> enough to imagine
> rational beings like the day-people who have a completely different approach 
> to personal
> identity. Secondly, the default model is not even internally consistent, as 
> shown in duplication
> thought experiments. If I am to be duplicated tomorrow and one of the copies 
> tortured, I am
> worried; but when tomorrow comes, and I am not tortured, I am relieved. How 
> is it that I "become"
> one or other copy when my mental continuity with both is the same? There is 
> no ambiguity in the
> empirical facts, but there is ambiguity in how I experience continuity of 
> identity - because
> these are two different things and there is no simple, consistent 
> relationship between them.

Well, the default model, personal continuity, is consistent absent 
duplications...and there ain't 
any yet.

My example of waking you up and asking your name was a weak one.  I agree with 
Lee that the test of 
a model is in the behavoir it predicts (and not just the vocal behavoir).  And 
on that basis I think 
the model of personal continuity would be a better one, and you might even 
convince a day-person of 
it; Just the reverse of trying convince people here that there isn't *really* 
continuity.  Of course 
if they didn't act as if there were personal continuity, their physical 
continuity would likely end.

Brent Meeker

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