[ExI] Let's play What If.

John Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Thu Oct 28 14:10:10 UTC 2010

On Oct 27, 2010, at 2:05 PM, Damien Broderick wrote:

>  John Clark wrote:
>> there is a 100% chance you will never have that happy subjective
>> experience but instead will walk into the scanning station and find
>> yourself on the rack being prodded with red hot irons.
> You've changed the implied rules again. You *don't* find yourself on the rack, you find yourself being helped out of the compilation vat or off the receiving platform or whatever, and taken into the next room or the next county to be tortured.

So in your revision you don't find out you are to be tortured until a few minutes after your fait had already been sealed; I'll be damned if I see how that complication to the thought experiment adds one bit of additional enlightenment. My point was that after you're sure you are not going to be the one to get tortured is the time to breathe a sigh of relief and feel sorry for that other poor fellow, but that can only happen AFTER the scanning NEVER before; whether it is one nanosecond after or one year after is irrelevant. Good thought experiments should always be stripped down to their essentials, adding needless bells and whistles is counterproductive.   

> You recall settling down to be scanned, and curse the day your original was cruelly stupid enough to agree to such a barbaric deal

No, you curse yourself for agreeing to do this and for not understanding how these things work. And as most people believe there is some sort of mystical "something" that the mighty original has that the mere copy does not, they would almost certainly have managed to convince themselves with emotional "reasoning" that they must be the original and it's the counterfeit that gets to live the good life. 

> but you know for certain that you are not he because he was in the scanning room.

What are you talking about? You were in the scanning room too, you remember it every bit as clearly as he did.

  John K Clark

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