[ExI] Next moment, everything around you will probably change

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Jun 22 14:38:12 UTC 2007

Stathis writes

> Lee wrote:
>> > You can be mistaken about a matter of fact or of logic, but
>> > you can't be mistaken about the way you feel.
>> Right.  But we all often lament, "darn it, I feel X about Y
>> even though that isn't rational or I don't want to, and I wish
>> that I could stop", or even, "I feel X about Y, and know
>> that it's illogical, but it's too much fun to stop, or I have
>> inner needs that require me to---I must!---continute to feel X".
> People might change things such as their desire to smoke if they
> could, but changing the normal feelings about personal identity might
> be too much like tampering with the desire to survive, or with the
> meaning of survival.

Yes.  I even go so far as to claim that they could deviate from
a factually correct view of survival to something bogus.

> For example, you could make yourself believe that
> after your death, you survive if the rest of humanity survives;

Exactly. Or they might believe that they'll become a particular
sun flower, or a particular river that they're fond of. And they'd
be just plain wrong, if not nuts.

> you can't anticipate this posthumous future in the same way you anticipate
> waking up tomorrow, but then neither can you anticipate having the
> experiences of your recently-differentiated copy in the room next
> door.

I actually think that you are wrong on both counts.  Some wacko might
indeed anticipate being the sun flower and look forward to all the
visits of his friends the bees. But if we examine the cranial capacity
of the sun flower, and measure its ability to see and know about bees,
then we must conclude that he is simply wrong.

Whereas if one anticipates having the experiences of a close duplicate,
science can hardly object. After all, the duplicate has the same equipment
your instance does, and differs in no significant way whatsoever. Now
whether one should go so far as to *anticipate* what will happen to 
him is, yes, so far as I have been able to see, rather up to the individual.
This is because I have never been able to avoid paradoxes when trying
to extend notions like "anticipation", "dread", "relish", "look forward to",
and so on into the brave new world.

> The reason having someone with my memories waking up in my bed
> tomorrow is important to me is in large part because I am able to
> anticipate "becoming" that person as a result.

I'm glad that you can do this. There are all sorts of reasons, especially
as extended by those who love you and those who like to administer
psychological and medical tests, to consider that you have survived
being replaced by an exact duplicate.

> If I can be rid of this feeling [of not surviving, of actually dying][?]
> then I would also be rid of my fear of death, apart from altruistic
> concerns about the effect my death would have on others.

Okay, say you fear death. But you said that you are able to 
anticipate "becoming" that person with your memories who
wakes up in your bed tomorrow. (In my view, you already
*are* anybody with your memories, of course, and no
"becoming" is necessary.)   If then, you can anticipate awakinging
tomorrow as your duplicate, then this surely does not translate
into a general feeling that if you are vaporized by an explosion
then you survive (sans duplicate).  Or perhaps I missed your


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