On 4/29/07, Jason <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

Person identity is useful when talking about everyday situations, but
> I think it muddies things, especially if one tries to bind a
> continuous conscious experience with a person.

That's true. It's rather like comparing familiar classical mechanics with
the strange things that happen at relativistic speeds or very small scales.
Our brains did not evolve to easily cope with these things.

  For example, how can
> you explain what happens if one were to make 5 exact duplicates of
> some individual?  Do you say their consciousness fractures, do you say
> it multiplies, do you say it selects one of them?

If five copies of you were made secretly in five different labs, then
without further information each of the copies would believe he was the
"real" you and had somehow been drugged and transported to a distant place
(or something like that). From a third person perspective, there are now
five copies, not in communication with each other, sharing past memories up
to a certain point. From a first person perspective, you have a 1/5 chance
of finding yourself in one of the five labs, and otherwise will feel
perfectly normal. Do you think it could possibly be otherwise?

Just because
> observers have memories of experiencing the same observer's past
> perspectives in no way implies there is a single consciousness that
> follows a person as they evolve through time (even though it very much
> seems that way subjectively).

But the whole point of consciousness is that "it seems that way". I really
can't know how many identical copies of my mind are running, what sort of
hardware (if any) they are running on, whether I was created one second ago
complete with false memories, or any other diabolical variation on these
themes. However, whatever is actually going on, I hope that it or some
equivalent process will continue going on, because then it will seem that I
have survived another moment, which is important to me.

Stathis Papaioannou

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