[extropy-chat] Personal Identity Bis

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Apr 11 03:25:29 UTC 2007

Heartland writes

> There are two extreme views regarding survival being represented on this list. 

Not in my coordinate system!

> There is my "life is an instance" view and Jef Albright's "agency" view which is 
> nothing more than "life is a type" view extrapolated to its logical conclusion. 
> IMO, only these two positions are logically consistent, yet mutually exclusive and 
> impossible to reconcile. It's quite apparent that you fall somewhere in between, 
> meaning that, to some extent, you've adopted both positions.

I'm not sure, but you're possibly right.  I could very well fall in-between
two other positions. I don't remember how Jef answers this key question:
I *think* that he said that you could kill him and replace him by an
exact duplicate that you made last night, and it would be no skin off
his nose because the resulting entity would be just as good for future
progress as he is.  And maybe he said that whether it was him didn't
really matter at all, even if that concept could be rescued.  If I'm right,
then maybe he'd like to answer whether it would matter to him if he
were to be killed and replaced by a brand spanking new (and
improved IQ) version of Max More who suddenly becomes enamored
of all Jef Albright's points of view, and is slated to do a fantastically
better job of promulgating those ideas into the future than Jef himself
is. Again, *if* I recall correctly, Jef is noble and selfless enough to find
the act of being so replaced to be quite desirable on the whole (save,
I suppose for the effects on his family, etc.)

> Even though you acknowledge that a copy containing your memories
> would be you, you still see a problem with this if the original brain was
> "revealed to not have been destroyed at all."

Ah, no, you misunderstand.  I think that you just misremember. To me
that is no *problem* at all.  It's all the better!  I'm much happier to see
that there are now two of me than only one of me.  Whether you unveil
to me a duplicate you made of me 5 minutes ago changes not a whit
the fact (to me) that I am 99.9999999999% the same Lee Corbin that
I was 5 minutes ago.

> Either there can be at most one "the same" person or many "same" persons. 
> Either life is essentially an instance or a type. Either life is a process or just 
> data. One excludes the other and you can't have it both ways.

I definitely agree with you that it is *process*.  Static data is useless if
it doesn't get runtime.

> Unless you commit to either Jef's view or mine, you are guaranteed to be
> puzzled by certain scenarios about personal identity.

So say you.  Bring one on! (I am indeed puzzled by one that since 1986
I have called "the anticipation paradox", but it's pretty elaborate and I
don't think I've ever reached the point on this list where anyone so totally
agreed with me that I have brought it up.  Besides, the upshot is just---
so far as I've been able to work it out---our inborn instinct to *anticipate*
what is about to happen to us from moment to moment cannot be made
into any consistent urge or activity.)


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