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

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sat Jun 23 16:50:56 UTC 2007

On 6/23/07, gts <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 03:08:21 -0400, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> >> Paradoxical if you insist that they **must be** the same person.
> >
> > What paradox?  As I mentioned to Stathis (I think), it hardly
> > rises to the "paradoxical".  Two identical chess programs can
> > also fight it out,  Fritz 9.1 vs. Fritz 9.1.  So what's new?
> Consider that if identity is a function of the will, as I maintain, and if
> such programs as Fritz may be said to have will, then during the game
> Fritz-White's identity is quite different from Fritz-Black's. Each of the
> two instances of Fritz has, at every step, a unique will and therefore a
> unique identity.

Gordon, in your statement above, your concept of "will" does appear to
perform exactly the same as my concept of agency.  So please consider
that to be agreement between us! :-)

[Note that I don't mean that the concept of agency is exclusively mine
since my usage is completely standard in the fields of social science,
moral philosophy, game theory, robotics, etc.  Only my particular
application of it to philosophy of personal identity may be somewhat

However, it appears that you took offense, rather thank taking my
point, in our last exchange when I tried to convey that your "will",
or my "agency" need not be an all or nothing affair.

Consider the utterances "I do as I will", "I do the King's will", and
"I do God's will", or to the same point but avoiding the possibly
obscurant first-person: "He does as he wills, "He does the King's
will, and "He does God's will."  Consider these spoken by the same
agent interleaved throughout the same day.  Clearly it's the same
agent throughout the day, but to the extent the agent is is
acting/exercising/implementing the will of another entity, who is the
entity behind the action?  What if the agent is not a biological
human, but a robotic machine?  How would you describe this set of
circumstances most meaningfully, coherently, and extensibly?

- Jef

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