On 9/25/2013 7:34 PM, 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.

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 had the same initial reaction. But it's the same "illicit concept" as when I think I'm the same person as the one called Brent Meeker last month. It's just that when duplication is possible the "I" becomes an ostensive indicial, like "that".

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.

Suppose you'd traveled to Moscow and back half a dozen times this way, via teleportation? Would it really be any different than having an operation under anesthetic? ...just that it would change your location instead of some body part.


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.

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