2010/1/15 Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com>:

>> There's no clear answer. This is where the idea that we live only
>> transiently is helpful: there is no fact-of-the-matter about who is me
>> and who isn't since none of them are me, but we can talk about under
>> what circumstances the illusion of continuity of identity would be
>> preserved.
>
> If you don't believe they are you, that would imply when you put a pot of
> coffee on the stove, you do so out of altruism.  Since it only benefits
> those future observers who have memory of being you but are not.  It's not a
> useful philosophy for building anything on top of such as decision making as
> according to that theory, observers cannot make changes affecting what they
> will experience (since they only are that one moment).  Perhaps things
> really are that way, but evolution has created a useful illusion of
> continuity which leads to the overall betterment of OM's on average.  Rather
> than sit around never making coffee because it will be someone else who
> experiences it, you decide to make it knowing someone else will be better
> off for it.  As you said, there would be no observational distinction
> between whether you are one OM, one track of OMs, or all OMs, but they lead
> to different philosophies, the first being perhaps something like nihilism,
> nothing you do matters to your.  The second leads to egocentrism and
> selfishness.  The last leads to a golden rule, sacrifice for others type of
> ethic.  I think the middle one is the most complex, because it has the
> hardest definition as to what OMs to group together.  Of the first and last,
> the last is perhaps simpler too, since it could be thought to attach one
> observer to all OMs rather than an observer for each OM.

There is no real distinction between the different possibilities you
mention, but evolution has programmed me to think that I am a single
individual travelling in the forward direction through time. It's
possible to go through life not questioning this until we consider
duplication thought experiments, which evolution had not taken into
account. But having this insight does not make the illusion any less
real, nor do I have any desire to be free of it, since that would go
against my evolutionary programming. I do try to be altruistic, but
being selfish (caring for the needs of my future selves) comes more
easily.


-- 
Stathis Papaioannou
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