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

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Fri Jun 22 15:20:03 UTC 2007

On 6/21/07, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 22/06/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> 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. For example, you could make yourself believe that
> after your death, you survive if the rest of humanity survives; 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. 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. If I can be rid of this
> feeling, then I would also be rid of my fear of death, apart from
> altruistic concerns about the effect my death would have on others.

Stathis has a point, but a stronger point is that social interaction,
to make sense to us, is modelable in terms of agents interacting in
terms of overlapping categories of association, trade, conflict,
cooperation, defection, etc. There's nothing wrong with your special
case of duplicates being exactly the same person -- as a special case
-- but such thinking rapidly becomes incoherent within a practical
social context.

- Jef

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