[extropy-chat] Probability of identity - solution?

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Sun Oct 15 23:46:31 UTC 2006

At 11:01 PM 10/13/2006, Lee Corbin wrote:
> > Confusion exists in the mind, not in reality.  All this mess has to be
> > generated by a bad question - certainly we have to be doing *something*
> > wrong.
>What is wrong in duplication (or forking) experiments is to suppose that
>there is only a probability that the bad outcome will occur. We *know*
>that both outcomes occur. Therefore probability is an atrocious way to
>approach the problem. Probability can be used, as I say, only for
>planning purposes in that one might have to do something awkward
>in the present circumstance while a lot of copies of one are being made.

You seem to be rejecting the concept of indexical uncertainty, which seems
to me to be valid and central to these situations.   Even when you know
all of the physical details of a universe, you can still be uncertain 
about which
creature you are in such a universe.  An agent who has forked but has not
yet found out which forked agent he is can sensibly have uncertainty about
his identity.

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323 

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