[ExI] Let's play What If.

Richard Loosemore rpwl at lightlink.com
Fri Oct 29 17:31:53 UTC 2010

John Clark wrote:
> On Oct 29, 2010, at 11:10 AM, Richard Loosemore wrote:
>> John Clark wrote:
>>> Damien let me ask you something, suppose you were imprisoned in a 
>>> deep dark dungeon and were told that like it or not tomorrow you 
>>> would be thrown into the scanning chamber and duplicated and the copy 
>>> would be horribly tortured, but immediately after the copying the 
>>> original would receive a full pardon and get to go home. Leaving 
>>> aside the question of empathy would you be nervous knowing what was 
>>> going to happen tomorrow or happy at going free? I'd be nervous as 
>>> hell! I'd rather just stay in the dungeon.
>> You can only get over the problem when you understand that your 
>> nervousness is caused by the fact that your concept of "you" and 
>> "continuity of self" is broken. 
> I don't see anything in my thought experiment that gets broken, except 
> perhaps for the kneecaps of one of them; and I don't understand this 
> obsession with continuity so many around here have, and I don't even 
> know what "continuity of self" is supposed to mean or why I should give 
> a damn about it.

No, of course you don't.  There is an *implicit* assumption about 
continuity contained in your suggestion that the source person should be 

>> That is why you find this situation so frightening.
> My question was do YOU find it frightening, I did not receive an answer.

I answered you:  the question is meaningless.  There is no reason to be 
either afraid or not afraid.  Two people will be created where there was 
one before.  One of them will experience something horrible.  One of 
them will say "Phew, after all that worry, I turned out to be the one 
who didn't get tortured!"  and one of them will say "Godammit, I *knew* 
I would end up being the one who go the rough end of the deal!" ..... 
and both statements will actually mean nothing in the context of your 

You are asking a "Have you stopped beating your wife?" question.

>> If you tried the experiment, one of you would wake up and say "phew!" 
>> and the other would wake up and say "uh oh!". 
> Yes.
>>  The question "But which one of those would *I* be?" is strictly 
>> meaningless.
> No, it is not meaningless and the answer is obvious; both of the two 
> would be you but neither of the two would be each other. There would be 
> a branching, both would have an identical past but a very different 
> future.  

Of course!  That is what *I* am saying!

The fact that both of them would be "me" has got no bearing on your 
question, which (as I explained) is a meaningless question.

One of the two future people should be afraid, and one should not.  But 
that is a stupid statement because before the duplication NEITHER of 
those future entities exist.

Richard Loosemore

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