[extropy-chat] Probability of identity - solution?

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Mon Oct 16 02:49:38 UTC 2006

At 09:56 PM 10/15/2006, Lee Corbin wrote:
> > You seem to be rejecting the concept of indexical uncertainty, which seems
> > to me to be valid and central to these situations.   Even when you know
> > all of the physical details of a universe, you can still be uncertain
> > about which creature you are in such a universe.
>Yes, especially if you are addressing a case in which there are real 
>In some experiments, subjects remain identical over spatial distances. But in
>either case, one may wonder if he is A, the duplicate that was to be created
>near Alpha Centauri, or B, the duplicate that was to be created near
>Betelgeuse.  However!  That is not crucial to your identity:  your identity
>is independent of spatial location.

It seems to me that all aspects of my identity, not just my spatial 
location, can
be reasonable topics of uncertainty.   I can be uncertain about my 
space, my time,
my name, my personality, my memory, my goals, at so on.

>And are you defending a statement such as "with probability .6 I will be
>at A and with probability .4 I'll be at B"?  I have said that I will defend
>such a statement only for *planning* purposes---you need to be wearing
>a raincoat if you know it's raining at one of the places.  But the truth is
>that there is a 100% probability that you will be at A.

I can certainly say now that I am at A or B with some 
probabilities.   If I have
one or several descendants, I can anticipate now that they might then also
have such uncertainty.

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323 

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