Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Is this different from your idea that "experiencing Friday" only comes
after "experinicing Thursday" because "Friday" contains some memory of
"Thursday"? You seem to be assuming an extrinsic order in the above.
The ASSA/RSSA distinction on this list came, as I understand it, from
debate on the validity of the idea of "quantum immortality". This is
the theory that in a multiverse you can never die, because at every
juncture where you could die there is always a version of you that
continues living. The ASSA proponents say that even though there are
thousand year old versions of you in the multiverse they are of very
low measure and you are therefore very unlikely to find yourself one
of them, as unlikely as you are to end up living to a thousand through
pure good luck in a single universe. This paper by Jacques Mallah
outlines the position: http://arxiv.org/abs/0902.0187. A point of
disagreement when we discussed this paper on the list about a year ago
is that Jacques thinks it would be a bad thing if there were many
copies of a person in lockstep and some of the copies were destroyed,
whereas if I were one of the copies it wouldn't worry me at all.
The problem with the ASSA is that it assumes that each OM is sampled
randomly from the set of all OM's. In fact, this is not how life
works. Today is Wednesday. I'm pretty sure that when I wake up
tomorrow morning it will be Thursday, and not Friday, even though
(absent some disaster) the measure of my Friday OM's in the multiverse
is about the same as the measure of my Thursday OM's. Even if there
were a billion copies of me on Friday and only one copy on Thursday, I
can still expect to go through the Thursday copy before ending up a
Friday copy. Once embedded in the multiverse, it puts constraints on
my possible successor OM.
If I'm not already embedded in the multiverse then I could be anyone,
and I am therefore more likely to be someone from a high probability
group or era. So I am more likely to be a modern human than an early
human, for example, because there are more modern humans. I think
that's what Russell means by the ASSA being aplicable in birth order.
This is a tricky concept to get your mind around and leads to
semi-weirdness such as the Doomsday Argument. But that I'll experience
Thursday before Friday even if there are lots of me on Friday is, I
think, relatively straightforward.
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