[ExI] Midazolam, Memory Erasure, and Identity

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Jul 16 15:25:47 UTC 2007

On 16/07/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> > I hope that some entity entity exists next month which considers
> > itself to be the continuation of me in much the same way as I consider
> > myself to be the continuation of last month's version of me.
> >
> > If that happens, then I would say that I have survived as a person.
> I will try to criticize that based upon a literal reading. Please forgive
> me if theapproach really isn't warranted here.
> It sounds as though that is a *sufficient* condition for your survival.
> One weakness clearly is that the opinion of the resulting creature
> is paramount. For example, whether you survive sounds as though
> it depends on whether or not the creature changes its mind about
> the nature of identity.
> Let A = you today, A' = you tomorrow, etc., and a copy of you
> is made on day three so that there exist A, A', A'', A'''..., B'', B'''...
> Under normal circumstances, and by your definition above, they
> all consider themselves to be a continuation of you. But if A'''''''
> for instance attends some heavy duty philosophy courses some
> where, or loses a key argument on some email list, then you no
> longer survive in the A-development.  Seems suspect to me.
> Because:  later on, A'''''''''''''''''''' may change his mind again and
> so now again you have to survived.  Or he may begin changing
> his mind every few hours.

I didn't mean it as literally as that. If I realised during the past
month that in some objective sense I was not really the same person
that would have no bearing whatsoever on my feeling that I was the
same person, which is based on deeply ingrained psychological criteria
such as memory and a sense of continuity. If my memory and my sense of
continuity both went, then even if it could be shown that in some
objective sense that I was the same person, I may as well have died.
When it comes to personhood, subjectivity is everything.

> Surely it's simpler to go with the common view, and suppose
> that all the A's and all the B's are "you" in the sense that you
> survive if any of them do, no matter what strange ideas they
> may begin to entertain (provided they don't go crazy, etc.,
> i.e., that they don't cease in an objective fashion to resemble
> you).

They have to resemble me in a certain special way. My past self from a
month ago resembles me about as much as my future self in a month's
time will resemble, and yet I consider that I will survive in my
future self, not in my past self, because the latter does not contain
my present experiences as a memory subset.

Stathis Papaioannou

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