[ExI] Midazolam, Memory Erasure, and Identity

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 04:31:22 UTC 2007

On 17/07/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> Sorry to sound so arrogant and that "i've been there and done that"
> all the time, but for a while many years ago I did entertain the
> definition that I was "anything that was a superset of my memories".
> But how is it again that when you're under midazolam you don't
> consider yourself dead meat?   After all, tomorrow there will exist
> a Stathis that is *not* a memory superset of who you are now.
> Also, we forget things all the time.  (Especially as you get older,
> alas!)  But it doesn't bother most of us too much.
> Would you part with all of this and last week's memories you
> have for $10M?  I would.

I probably would, but when I think about the implications of this, I
think that *death is not such a big deal*. If I can agree to die so
that my copy of some time ago lives, I may as well agree to die so
that other people who bear no resemblance to me live, since in neither
case can I anticipate my "successor's" experiences.

Fear of death and the definition of survival cannot be derived a
priori: they have been programmed into us by evolution. If you start
adjusting the programming why stop at defining survival as survival of
a copy whose experiences you cannot anticipate, rather than some other
entity? There is an evolutionary argument - if copying becomes
commonplace, those who regard copies as selves will thrive - but this
is neither a logical argument nor a prescriptive argument. Evolution
would also favour those who have thousands of genetically identical
offspring, but that doesn't mean we should pursue that end if the
means became available.

Stathis Papaioannou

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