2009/2/11 Jack Mallah <jackmal...@yahoo.com>:
> --- On Tue, 2/10/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> It seems that the disagreement may be one about personal identity. It is not 
>> clear to me from your paper whether you accept what Derek Parfit calls the 
>> "reductionist" theory of personal identity. Consider the following 
>> experiment:
>> There are two consecutive periods of consciousness, A and B, in which you 
>> are an observer in a virtual reality program. A is your experiences between 
>> 5:00 PM and 5:01 PM while B is your experiences between 5:01 PM and 5:02 PM, 
>> subjective time. A is being implemented in parallel on two computers MA1 and 
>> MA2, so that there are actually two qualitatively identical streams of 
>> consciousness which we can call A1 and A2. At the end of the subjective 
>> minute, data is saved to disk and both MA1 and MA2 are switched off. An 
>> external operator picks up a copy of the saved data, walks over to a third 
>> computer MB, loads the data and starts up the program. After another 
>> subjective minute MB is switched off and the experiment ends.
>> As the observer you know all this information, and you look at the clock and 
>> see that it is 5:00 PM. What can you conclude from this and what should you 
>> expect? To me, it seems that you must conclude that you are currently either 
>> A1 or A2, and that in one minute you will be B, with 100% certainty. Would 
>> you say something else?
> I'd say it's a matter of definition, and there are three basic ones:
> 1)  If I am A1 and will become B, then A2 has an equal right to say that he 
> will become B.  Thus, one could say that I am the same person as A2.  This is 
> personal fusion.


> 2)  If the data saved to the disk is only based on A1 (e.g. discarding any 
> errors that A2 might have made) then one could say that A1 is the same person 
> as B, while A2 is not.  This is causal differentiation.

Yes, but I'm assuming A1 and A2 have identical content.

> 3)  If I am defined as an observer-moment, then I am part of either A1 or A2, 
> not even the whole thing - just my current experience.  This is the most 
> conservative definition and thus may be the least misleading.

This is the way I think of it, at least provisionally.

> Regardless of definitions, what will be true is that the measure of A will be 
> twice that of B.  For example, if have not yet looked at the clock, and I 
> want to place a bet on what it currently reads, and my internal time sense 
> tells me only that about a minute has passed (so it is near 5:01, but I don't 
> know which side of it), then I should bet that it is before 5:01 with 
> effective probability 2/3.  This Reflection Argument is equivalent to the 
> famous "Sleeping Beauty" thought experiment.

But the point is, I do look at the clock and I do know that I am A,
with probability 1, and therefore that I will soon be B with
probability 1. This would still be the case even if the ratio of A:B
were 10^100:1. There is no option for me to feel myself suspended at
5:01 PM, or other weird experiences, because the measure of A is so
much greater.

Stathis Papaioannou

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