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

gts gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 24 15:00:38 UTC 2007

On Sat, 23 Jun 2007 22:04:37 -0400, Stathis Papaioannou  
<stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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?

I think continuity of self is a convenient and necessary fiction, an  
illusion of sorts that we probably cannot live without (except while doing  

Philosophically, I'm quite certain I'm not the same person I was at age  
five and in my view it follows logically that neither am I the same person  
I was five minutes ago.

> 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.

Yes, also your future selves will want to keep the promises of your past  

> This may seem like a convoluted way to look at personal identity, but
> it is the way our brains work.

We're in a grey area somewhere between psychology and philosophy. :)

> 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.

Possibly, but it would I think have to be a chaotic society without a  
coherent concept of individual rights, or even of individuality. My  
murder-or-suicide courthouse illustration was designed to show the  
absurdity of such a world.

Seems to me copies will have individual rights in any reasonable world.  
Murder is always murder, assault is always assault, theft is always theft,  
etc. In reasonable worlds each copy must be considered a unique legal  
person, no matter what the philosophers say.


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