Kory Heath wrote:
> On Oct 30, 2008, at 3:58 PM, Brent Meeker wrote:
>> Of course the point is that you're not the same "you"
>> from moment to moment in the sense of strict identity of information
>> down to the
>> molecular level, or even the neuron level.
> I agree, but that doesn't change the point I was trying to make. If
> the collection of molecules that comes out the other end of the
> teleporter is not identical to me, but it's as much like me as any
> normal future collection of molecules that I change into moment-by-
> moment, then I believe that my identity "completely survived" the
> teleportation. (In the same sense that I "completely survive" an
> average day of my normal life.) If the collection of molecules that
> comes out the other end of the teleporter is a puddle of goo, I
> believe that my identity completely failed to survive the teleportation.
> My point is that "completely survived" and "completely failed to
> survive" cannot be the only two possible cases. If it was, we'd be
> left with the absurd conclusion that there's a single molecule of
> difference between cases in which I completely survive and cases in
> which I completely fail to survive.
> My further point was that this has a bearing on probability when
> creating multiple copies. If I make two copies of myself A and B, and
> A is an identical copy (or close enough, as above) while B is one of
> those weird intermediate cases, I must believe that subjectively I'm
> more likely to find myself at A. Otherwise, we'd again be left with
> the absurd conclusion that there's a molecule of difference between
> the cases when I fully survive both copyings, and the ones where I
> completely fail to survive the B copying and therefore am certain to
> find myself at A.
> -- Kory
I think this problem is misconceived as being about probability of
survival. I don't think there's some normalized measure that adds up to
one. Rather we should look at it as how much of "you" survives. If
it's a bad copy or mostly a copy of someone else then the fraction of
"you" that survives is small. It's not a probability of you surviving.
The mistake is in reifying "my identity". Your identity is not a thing;
it's a fuzzy, ill defined set of memories and dispositions that are tied
together by being associated with a certain physical structure.
If it's a copy that thinks it's you and has most of your memories and
dispositions then most of you survived. From this standpoint most of me
as a five-year old boy did not survive - we only say so conventionally
because of the causal, physical connection I have with that five-year
The person I was when I was 3 years old is dead. He died because
too much new information was added to his brain.
-- Saibal Mitra
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