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

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 24 17:56:51 UTC 2007

I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do here right now, but I
can't resist addressing a point Gordon makes here:

> Sent: Friday, June 22, 2007 3:23 PM

> As I see it, will is fundamental. I take will as primitive in a  
> Neitzschian/Shopenhauerish sort of way. When I speak of 'agency' I refer  
> to that faculty by which we act as the executors of our wills. Where there  
> are two wills, there are two agents and two identities.

A problem I see is that your will may change from hour to hour
(possibly depending on mood, or even caffeine and so forth),
as I go into more below.

> The wills of duplicates begin to diverge at the first moment after  
> duplication. As above, at that moment there exist two wills, two agents  
> and two identities.
> One day Lee and his duplicate will sit down for breakfast together. Lee  
> will will to have corn flakes; his duplicate will will to have wheaties.  
> At that moment Lee and his dupe will realize they are not the same person  
> after all.

I assure you that it has never occurred to me that my choice of breakfast
cereal has anything to do with my identity!   :-)

(This here is joke, is not evasion, is not straw man, ---is joke,
though with a teeny bit of a point.)

> In fact they never were the same person; it simply took a while  
> for their wills to diverge sufficiently to make the truth apparent.

You're right in that my duplicate and I might muse on how odd it
was. We would no doubt attribute it to a most interesting divergence
of our internal workings. Perhaps one of us had slept comparitively
poorly for some random reason, and the digestion had turned out

But I am all about my *memories*, and to a lesser extent my values
and beliefs.  The real raw essence of who I really am (scare quotes
elided) is impervious to my mood, or whether I have a headache,
or whether I might be getting strange signals from my stomach.
(I suggest that this is really the case for everyone, and that they are
mistaken if they think it's not like this.)

Your "will" interpretation of identity, as I was saying above, must
answer the criticism that it could change a lot back and forth over
a few hours or a few days, and yet during a month you act (and
I think believe) that you are the same person.  That is, although
you do change into someone else very gradually over years, the
change transpiring in a single month doesn't endanger your survival.


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