[ExI] The Anticipation Dilemma (Personal Identity Paradox)

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Sat Jul 21 14:05:51 UTC 2007

On 21/07/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> > The problem arises because it *was* this aspect of death or quasi-death
> > (specifically, any process which would lead to my present instance
> > anticipating no future experiences) which I was worried about. So if
> > this fear is now seen as inconsistent, my main reason for worrying
> > about death is gone.
> In that last sentence, do you mean "quasi-death"?

If it was mainly the inability to anticipate future experiences I was
worried about, a necessary effect of quasi-death and death, and I can
convince myself that I should not be worried about it any more
(because, for example, I would not be worried about the quasi-death of
partial memory loss), then I should no longer be worried about either
quasi-death or death.

Not fearing death or quasi-death at all would be one consistent
position. But perhaps I could revise what it is that I fear so that I
no longer fear quasi-death but only fear death; quasi-death being when
there are near copies remaining or to be created later, death being
when there aren't and never will be.

But if I am to accept that definition of death, it would seem that I
should be as happy for past versions of myself to survive as future
versions. Having past versions of myself eliminated isn't normally an
option, but the thought experiment in another post in which I consider
a model of a block universe in parallel computers provides just such
an opportunity, and I would selfishly sacrifice all my past selves to
gain any extra runtime for my future selves.

I can't really arrive at a fully consistent position. It appears that
not only are my feelings about death and survival not rationally
justified, but they cannot be rationally justified, however I look at
it. The only position free from contradictions is to say that death
and quasi-death don't matter at all, and I'm really prepared to say
that. So it appears that I am bound to be inconsistent, and my only
choice is in the type of inconsistency.

Stathis Papaioannou

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