[extropy-chat] The Anticipation Dilemma (Personal Identity Paradox)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Apr 14 04:58:02 UTC 2007

Stathis writes

> Let's summarise. You feel that the sort of  anticipation which tells the
> average human that he won't have the experiences of his copy in the
> next room cannot be rationally justified and should be expunged.

Yes, since if one is going to anticipate *any* future experience, then
as a person and his recent duplicate are physically identical in all 
important respects, one should anticipate being *both* of the future

> On the other hand, you feel that the sort of anticipation which makes
> the average human worry more about the future than the past cannot
> be rationally justified but should be left alone. Is there an inconsistency here?

Well, thanks for pointing this out.  Yes, there is an inconsistency, but I'll
try to minimize it. As much as *logically* these extreme thought experiments
show that one should anticipate what has already happened to one as much
as anticipate what is going to happen to one, perhaps there just isn't any
payoff for doing so?  That is, my anticipation module makes me drool over
a pleasant even upcoming tomorrow night, but I only have fond memories
of the same kind of event that happened to me last week, and they're not
the same thing.  Moreover, so far as *choices* are concerned, I can
very, very seldomly do anything about the past.  But determining whether
my duplicate will get $10M and deposit in our account is important.

(To those of a very practical bent, such choices are not important today,
but after people upload, and copies are cheap, they'll need to come to
decisions about these questions.)

So let me admit the inconsistency, but of the two memes

     A:   try as hard as you can to identify with all future instances
     B:   try to anticipate things that happened to you in the past

only A seems valuable.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list