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

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Jun 24 18:37:53 UTC 2007

Gordon writes

> On Fri, 22 Jun 2007 03:08:21 -0400, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
>> [I believe] it is inherantly selfish for an instance of me to kill itself
>> immediately so that its duplicate gets $10M, given that one of
>> them has to die and if the instance protects itself, then it does
>> not get the $10M.  That may seem an unsual way to use the
>> word "selfish", but I mean it most literally.  Were "I" and my
>> duplicate in such a situation, "this instance" would gladly kill
>> itself because it would (rightly, I claim) anticipate awakening
>> the next morning $10M richer.
> I'm pretty sure that if you kill "this instance" of yourself today, you  
> will never again have to worry about money, because you will never wake up.
> The best you can hope is that your now wealthy duplicate will remember you  
> fondly while you're pushing up daisies.

Yet if you are detached from our cultural notions of having souls,
then from a physicist's perspective you have to ask "Just how
exactly is this version who awakes today not the same person
who would have awakened today instead, had it not died?"

Every day when we awake we are somewhat different than we
were during the middle, say, of the preceding day. Don't you
suppose that from the physicist's point of view there has to be
quite a bit of "tolerance" for how much change can happen
and yet the same person remain?

And what is "change", except, in the final analysis, the placement
of all the molecules?  The intuition may rebel, but whichever 
duplicate survives, it's clear (at least to me) that you survive to
live another day.

Thanks for the epitaph!    :-)   Hopefully, it won't be just a
"body" that lies here, but a "dewar", ---and that there's still
a chance for me!


> Here lies the body of Lee Corbin,
> Who thought he could die and return again.
> But his dupe was not him,
> Such was only his whim,
> For Lee now it's as though he had not been.
> :)
> -gts

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