On 14 Mar 2012, at 07:57, Quentin Anciaux wrote:


2012/3/14 John Clark <johnkcl...@gmail.com>

> I define the guy in Helsinki by whoever he believes he is, in Helsinki. I don't need to "define" who he is,

Yes you do! You are asking me for probabilities but before I can do that I need to know what you're talking about, I need to know whose probability you want. That's the problem with all your thought experiments, you set up these elaborate one act plays and then ask what "I" will experience after numerous duplications and complications as if we can throw around that pronoun with the same ease we do in normal conversations that do not involve exotic duplicating chambers. You've got to be far more careful in philosophical conversations involving the nature of identity, but if your question is well stated and you are clear about who "I" is then the probabilities always reduce to 0% or 100% in all your first person determinacy stuff, plus regular old indeterminacy of course. For example, you asked me what the probability is that the Helsinki guy, that's the guy who gets no tea, will get tea, and I can say without fear of contradiction that the probability the guy who gets no tea will get tea is zero. I know this isn't very deep but at least it's true.

>So, if I throw a dice, the probability that I will see a six is zero, because the guy who threw the dice is not the same as the guy who looked on which face it landed up?

It has nothing to do with who threw the dice, the problem is that before probability can be used it must be clear who "I" is, If you define "I" in a way similar with what you did with the tea business and "I" is the guy who did NOT get a 6 when the dice was rolled then the probability this person named "I" will get a 6 is indeed zero. And there is not a speck of indeterminacy in that.

John K Clark

Well so it's clear you're dead by now while I'm reading this email... it's sad. If you want to absolutely be right, that's what it means. What you're telling is that a question like "what is the probabilty that events happens to me in one second ?" is not a legitimate question, because me does not exists... ok, but that position is "don't ask" and it's quite not interresting and useful.

Don't worry too much, Quentin, I thing John Clark will survive. I think he is just inconsistent, which indeed is practically equivalent with death, for the self-referentially correct machine.

And I agree with you, he is telling us that we die at each instant (which I think is comp-true, but irrelevant for the probability which abstract from the cul-de-sac, and that is what "Bp & Dt" will capture later).

But we can bet he is just not self-referentially correct.

What is the problem?

For some reason, he does not put himself at the place of the other John Clarks. The "I" notion he want a definition of, is that "I". It is the other "I" you grasp by not just attributing a mind to someone else, but the one that you try to imagine by putting yourself at his place.

John Clark has already acknowledged the difficulty he has to do that for a bat, like Nagel is asking, and I can understand that, but here, the effort should not be that big, given that it concerns other John Clarks, with the same past memories and character and personality.

If he does that effort, he should understand, son or later, that the guy in Moscow will understand that he could not have been sure, in Helsinki, to become the guy in Washington, and vice versa. And so he might be more cautious about 0 and 100% in the next try.

He clearly seems able to do that thinking, but for unknown reason feels manifestly bad to acknowledge the step. He might be anxious for the future of Aristotle metaphysics, I dunno. He uses also bad rhetorical tricks by attributing me intention, and seems even aggressive sometimes, or is it an impression?



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