On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 1:50 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 5/12/2013 10:33 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
> On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 12:05 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>>  On 5/12/2013 9:00 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
>>  If your mom ate something different while pregnant with you, such that
>> you developed with different atoms, does that mean someone else would have
>> been born in your place and you wouldn't be conscious?  Or if one
>> unexpressed gene was different, would it be someone other than you looking
>> through those eyes?  What if one gene were different, but it was of little
>> consequence, or what if multiple genes were different, etc.  How much of
>> the circumstances would have to change for you to never have been born?  If
>> you admit that different matter or different genes would not make it such
>> that you were never born, then are you not all your siblings as well?
>>  That doesn't follow.  The most common theory of why you are you is that
>> the structure of your brain and body encode computations that are peculiar
>> to you.
>  If we work from the theory that "you are a computation", there is still
> the question of why you are experiencing life as this particular
> computation vs. that other computation.
> But if "you" are a particular computation, the question has a tautological
> answer.  It would be a contradiction for you to be some other computation.
There is a tautological component of "why am I me", sure, but that isn't
quite what I am getting at:

It's 1900, before you exist.  Several billion people are born between 1900
and 2000.  What are the odds of experiencing life through any one of those
people's eyes?

>   This is one of the main goals of a theory of personal identity, to
> rightly delineate persons and define the scope of experiences that belong
> to them.  Theories of mind and theories of theories personal identity are
> related to each other but they are separate fields.
>>   You are determined by the structure that effects these computations.
>> This is independent of the particular atoms and molecules and even a lot of
>> the structure.  As Bruno puts it, it depends on the level of
>> substitution.  Just because there is a level, e.g. atoms, that makes no
>> difference, it doesn't follow that there is not a difference at another
>> level.
>  That was not what I was questioning.  My question is more like: if a
> different sperm (besides the one that led to you) had made it, what would
> you expect to be experiencing right now?  Would you expect to be
> experiencing nothing at all?
> The latter, in a metaphorical way, since I wouldn't be expecting or
> experiencing anything because this particular "I" wouldn't exist.  It's
> like asking, "If you died in your sleep would you wake up dead?"

By that logic though, if I highlighted *this text* as blue instead of green
then you wouldn't exist, and you owe your life to me.  But I think you
believe that even if I had highlighted it as blue, you would still be
conscious and alive right now (just conscious of something different).  So
how far can we stretch that difference without giving up the experience?


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