[ExI] Problems with Platonia again

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 13:37:02 UTC 2008

2008/9/26 Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com>:

> Must personal identity get dragged into this? Personal Identity
> is very controversial in ways that I think have nothing to do
> with physical law---yet I do see below that perhaps Platonia
> is to you like Personal Identity is to me.

It's not personal identity per se but the role of the observer that
must be taken into account. Suppose there is some rule that determines
that for every one world in which physical laws continue as they have
always appeared to do, there are a million worlds in which these laws
completely break down in the next moment, as a result of which human
brains cease to function. Then due to anthropic considerations we will
only observe reality as orderly, even though it is anything but.

> But on my concept of identity, "I" is a pattern, and it happens
> to be present in both places equally. So it's simply not the case
> that "my" experiences are one of L1 or L2 but not the other.

I think you're pushing a semantic point here. We can agree that there
is only "one" you, but there are still two separate physical processes
manifesting the two components making up the whole, and I could in
theory shake the hand of each of these two components separately,
altering the experience of one component but not the other.

>> But we might be able to say
>> that you are twice as likely to experience L1'/L2' (which we said have
>> identical subjective content) rather than L3' as successor to L1/2,
>> since there are twice as many versions of L1'/L2' as of L3'.
> I only object to the form of the language here, not necessarily
> to what you are saying. To me, it is not true that "I am twice
> as likely to experience" one of these options rather than the
> other, since I must experience both (i.e., the LC pattern is
> executing in both spacetime locations).

This makes it difficult to talk about probability. If you buy a
lottery ticket, don't you say you are far more likely to lose than
win, rather than insisting that, in reality, you will certainly both
win and lose?

>> The upshot of all this is that in a multiverse, your consciousness can
>> flit about passing through all physical copies with the right sort of
>> subjective content.
> You guys (the everything crowd), when you talk about about consciousness
> flitting here and there, seem to me to be talking as you would of a soul.

On the contrary, I've deliberately put everything in very concrete
terms. Consciousness is due to activity in one, and only one,
collection of matter, as evidenced by the fact that if you give it a
kick, you will change its experience but not those of the other
similar collections of matter. The flitting about is due to the fact
that where there are multiple identical collections of matter it isn't
possible to know which one you are.

Stathis Papaioannou

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