[extropy-chat] Probability of identity.

Russell Wallace russell.wallace at gmail.com
Wed Oct 11 13:47:50 UTC 2006

On 10/11/06, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> I mean to assert that probability is just not the right way to look
> at identity or anticipation. Yes, you cannot but feel that "your odds"
> are such-and-such in certain circumstances. But objectively, that's
> not really the case, because (as someone who has been a "patternist"
> longer than anyone else here, since 1966!), I claim that one must
> simply integrate benefit over the runtime you get in the multiverse,
> wherever and whenever you get it, and that negative or bad
> experience must be weighed against the good.

*nods* Everything you say in this post makes sense, and that would be how
I'd approach it too, at least as far as practical policy is concerned: if
the situation described were to occur, I'd behave as though I believed the
odds were 1:999 whatever my intuition told me.

But there's still a philosophical problem. In an infinite universe, there
will always be infinitely many instances that experience each possibility,
and infinities of the same cardinality at that. So mathematically the
integral is undefined; how then do you justify any conclusions? How do you
explain the fact that empirically we can make predictions, and they come out
the way intuitively reasonable theories of probability say they should?
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