Jack, welcome back. I no longer read every post here, but I read this post 
and found your positions pretty close to my own. This one, especially, I 
totally agree with:

> The important thing to realize is that _definitions don't matter_! 
> Predictions, decisions, appropriate emotions to a situation - these are 
> completely independent of definitions of personal identity.

This one is more problematic:

> So if our utility function is U = M Q, where M is the guy's measure (which 
> is constant here) and Q is his quality of life factor (which we can assume 
> to be constant), [...]

The ASSA/RSSA and QTI debates can be rephrased as whether U should equal 
M*Q, or just Q, but that is an "ought" question. If we accept the standard 
view in decision theory that the utility function is completely subjective, 
then that means the ASSA/RSSA debate can't be resolved by objective 

We can get around this a bit by asking what most people's utility functions 
actually are, instead of what they ought to be. Are they closer to M*Q, or 
Q? I'm afraid that for most people, it's closer to Q than M*Q. One might 
have expected that evolution would have programmed us to have U=M*Q, but 
that doesn't seem to have been the case. I have a couple of speculations as 
to why:

1. M cannot be perceived directly. It can be inferred, but that takes a lot 
of work.

2. In our EEA, M couldn't increase, only decrease. (Because there were no 
mind-copying machines.) So evolution could essentially simulate the effect 
of U=M*Q with U=Q plus fear of pain and fear of dying, and that's what it 
did because it's a lot easier than getting the brain to compute M. (For a 
similar reason, we value sex instead of number of offspring.)

Initially I was also an advocate of ASSA until I realized that it's 
ultimately a subjective question of values. I think once mind-copying 
machines are invented, there will be a much greater selection pressure 
towards U=M*Q. But given that U=Q is closer to the reality today, I'm not 
sure what good it would do to "taking a stand against QS/QI".

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