[extropy-chat] Indexical Uncertainty

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Mon Oct 16 22:35:52 UTC 2006

At 05:42 PM 10/16/2006, Chris Hibbert wrote:
> > If Lee could also have had a dream that confused him about whether he
> > was Lee or Robin, then when he asks "Am I Robin?" the "I" in his
> > question must refer to something different than the "I" when I ask
> > the question.   So if we are to be able to represent the uncertainty
> > in both of these questions, I can't see how to escape having things
> > like "Soul #29230041608" in our language.
>This seems like a confusing way to think about it, but maybe I'm
>misunderstanding the referents.  As a third party, describing the two
>situations, I would have said that the question was about which BODY was
>Robin Hanson, not which SOUL was. ...
>Was your use of "Soul #2923..." metaphorical?  Or is the question deeper
>than it looks to me?  Have you already assumed that consciousnesses
>might be transplanted or something?

I was just following Lee's notation.   A better name might be "Index#2923".
But it is more about minds than bodies.   You know you are a mind, but you
might not know which body that corresponds to.

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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