--- On Fri, 3/6/09, Wei Dai <wei...@weidai.com> wrote:
> > No.  First, I don't agree that the real question is what the utility 
> > function is or should be.  The real question is whether the measure, M, is 
> > conserved or whether it decreases.  It's just that a lot of people don't 
> > understand what that means.
> I agree that a lot of people don't understand what that means, and I 
> certainly appreciate your effort to educate them. But it seems to me that 
> once someone does understand that issue, it's not assured that they'll fall 
> into the U=M*Q camp automatically.

They might not, but I'm sure most would; maybe not exactly that U, but a lot 
closer to it.

> U=Q would be generalized to (Sum_i M_i Q_i) / (Sum_i M_i).
> This seems just  as well defined as Sum_i M_i Q_i. You objected that 
> "personal identity is not well-defined" but don't you need to define personal 
> identity to compute Sum_i M_i Q_i as well, in order to determine which i to 
> sum over?

No.  In U = Sum_i M_i Q_i, you sum over all the i's, not just the ones that are 
similar to you.  Of course your Q_i (which is _your_ utility per unit measure 
for the observer i) might be highly peaked around those that are similar to 
you, but there's no need for a precise cutoff in similarity.  And it's even 
very likely that it will have even higher peaks around people that are not very 
much like you at all (these are the people that you would sacrifice yourself 

By contrast, in your proposal for U, you do need a precise cutoff, for which 
there is no justification.

-- On Fri, 3/6/09, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > It's not the addition of the other copy that's the problem; it's the loss 
> > of it.  Losing people is bad.
> How would the addition then loss of the extra copy be bad for the original, 
> or for that matter for the disappearing extra copy, given that neither copy 
> has any greater claim to being resurrected in the morning as B?

It's not the addition then loss that's bad (since you end up with the same 
measure you started with); it's the loss.

In the culling teleportation, both people are lost, which is doubly bad.  
Elsewhere, one new person appears, which is good, but not as good as there 
being two people.  So it's not a wash; it's a loss.

> I don't agree with the way you calculate utility at all.

It's easy to say you don't agree but you haven't given an alternative.  
Precisely how would you calculate it?  U = ...


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