On Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 02:34:10AM +0000, chris peck wrote:
> I'll have a pop at this because I have a problem too.
> I get stuck on Bruno's 'proof' at the point where the comp practitioner, 
> about to be duplicated and sent to Washington and Moscow, is asked to 
> estimate his chances of arriving at Moscow. Allegedly I should feel it to be 
> 50/50 and this establishes 1st person indeterminacy.
> Trouble is, as far as I have been able, I can only arrive at the 50/50 result 
> if I deny 'comp'. That is, if I feel that there is something over and above 
> the description of me at the required substitution level, that is 
> nevertheless a vital part of me, that follows one or the other path. But that 
> breaks the rules of the game. It contradicts comp. 
> If I follow the rules of the game , if I genuinely believe comp, then I must 
> also believe (and feel) that a later diary/memory containing the entry 'I am 
> in Moscow not Washington' and a diary containing the entry 'I am in 
> Washington not Moscow' both have equal claim on being my diary now. If I 
> believe comp then I have to say that whilst there will be no diary with both 
> entries, each one is genuinely mine. Given that, the chances of this diary 
> now containing either entry later is 1, not 50/50. No indeterminacy.

The diary is the one that you have with you. You will not have two
diaries, since you cannot experience being in Moscow and Wsahington at
the same time with contradicting the "survivability" axiom of
COMP. Therefore the probability of the diary containing 'I am in
Washington not Moscow' is decidedly less than 1. That it is precisely
0.5 is a little more debatable, however, particularly in the later steps.

> I've read some responses to similar quibbles alleging that the
> quibblers have confused 1-p and 3-p perspectives. Alternatively, you
> can argue that you can only buy into Bruno's conclusion if you
> covertly smuggle in to the game an illicit concept of 'I' over and
> above comp.

I disagree that the 'I' concept is illicit in this argument. It is
upfront with the "folk" concept of surviving an artificial brain
transplant. The 'I' is what survives.

> Interestingly, Derek Parfit in 'Reasons and Persons' uses the very same 
> thought experiments to tease out of the reader that they do not in fact 
> believe anything like comp. He asks what you would feel if the teleportation 
> goes wrong and there is a minute delay in the annihilation step. Would you be 
> comforted by someone explaining that the 'read' went ahead well and that you 
> will be reconstructed in Moscow, so not to worry about the impending 
> annihilation? I think intuitively that would be of no comfort though if I 
> really believed comp it should be.

That's one of the troubles with intuition pumps. To be quite honest,
that intuition pump fails me, as do some other ones that Parfit
raises: I don't know whether to be worried or not, although as you
rightly point out, COMP implies there is no problem, I will
survive. But also COMP also implies you cannot prove COMP is true -
hence there will always be room for doubt before setting foot in the
teleporter chamber.

> I think this illicit intuition creeps into Bruno's step and gives the 
> impression one ought to feel indeterminacy, when by the rules of the game one 
> should not.
> All the best.


Prof Russell Standish                  Phone 0425 253119 (mobile)
Principal, High Performance Coders
Visiting Professor of Mathematics      hpco...@hpcoders.com.au
University of New South Wales          http://www.hpcoders.com.au

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