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

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sun Jun 24 02:04:37 UTC 2007

On 24/06/07, gts <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Your will is your essence at any given moment. It is not a "model", nor is
> it an "abstract entity". Your will is perhaps the only concrete,
> non-abstract thing in all the world. You know nothing more intimately than
> you know your own will. When you want to eat, you want to eat; when you
> want to sleep, you want to sleep! Nothing abstract about it! This is what
> I meant when I wrote that the will is primitive in the sense meant by
> Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

Will, essence, agency, identity: what you are looking for is a term
that explains why two near-identical copies might yet regard each
other as "other". But how should they regard their future selves?

If I am separated from a near-identical copy by metres, my selfish
concerns might put me in direct conflict with him, whereas if I am
separated from him by minutes, my selfish concerns are the same as his
selfish concerns. For example, I might pay a certain amount so that my
future self avoids an unpleasant experience, but not pay that amount
so that my copy in the next room is spared the same experience.

The difference is due to the fact that I anticipate the experiences of
the future copy, or equivalently expect to "become" the future copy,
but not the present copy. If there are several candidate future copies
(in the MWI of QM or in duplication experiements) then I anticipate
their experiences weighted according to their relative numbers. Once I
have "become" one of them, I no longer (selfishly) care what happens
to the rest even though a moment ago I considered that all of them had
an equal claim to be "me".

This may seem like a convoluted way to look at personal identity, but
it is the way our brains work. If we had evolved in an environment
where copying was commonplace, our brains may well have developed
something akin to Lee's simpler theory of selfishly regarding all
copies as selves in proportion to their level of similarity.

Stathis Papaioannou

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