[ExI] The Anticipation Dilemma (Personal Identity Paradox)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Jul 18 13:57:10 UTC 2007

On 18/07/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> I believe to the core of my innermost being that duplicates are selves.
> It may be that to you this is nothing more than a severe self-brainwashing,
> but as you know there are substantial arguments to back up this view.
> In fact, Max More wrote a very nice article in my current issue of
> Cryonet.  While he did not quite get into the existence of multiple
> copies of one, he did embrace the information theory of death.

I've changed my view on survival through copies which are not up to
date, mostly through discussions with you. I originally thought that
it was obviously false, but now I see it as presenting a conundrum:

(a) Death is bad because if I die, I can anticipate no further experiences.

(b) However, partial memory loss through drugs like midazolam also
results in a state of mind from which I can anticipate no further
experiences, and that doesn't seem so bad.

(c) Therefore *either* death is not so bad *or* there is something
else about death, not present in the memory loss example, which makes
it bad.

(d) The difference between what we normally think of as death and the
memory loss example is that in the latter someone with some of my past
experiences will be able to anticipate future experiences, even though
I-now won't.

(e) Therefore, maybe death is not bad if someone with some of my past
experiences is left behind.

(f) But to change my original view to the above seems hardly easier
than deciding that death with no copies left behind is not bad.

You see, there are several consistent positions possible, and which
one I choose depends on psychological factors, not on science or

> (And I know from his "Luckiest Man in the Universe" scenario, in which
> Francis Bacon by sheer luck is brought back to life by a random
> collision of molecules---and argued by Max to be just as legitimate
> a copy of Bacon as was the original---is bolstered by quite a few
> arguments in his thesis.  Anyway, while it may be less than a self-
> inflicted brainwashing, it is more than just my opinion.
> However, in the same article Ben Goetzel defends what I call the
> "path conception of identity", in which the final *state* is not
> what is important, and is not evaluation, but the *path* by which
> the state is reached.  A good friend of mine endorses this path-
> view of identity.  Perhaps you'd find it appealing too.

I think Bacon would still be the Bacon he was at the time of which the
copy is a representation, but not the Bacon he became after that (that
is, even if the copy was made aeons after all original Bacons were
gone, and regardless of how the copy was made). That's the
straightforward case, and I'd go as far as saying that I don't see how
it could logically be otherwise, without allowing that Bacon might
have been a different person from day to day even before his death in
1626. (Well, he was strictly speaking changing from moment to moment,
but he *felt* he was the same person, and that's what matters in this

Could you explain the path identity concept further, or give me a
reference I can look up?

Stathis Papaioannou

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