[ExI] [tt] Identity thread again

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 17:43:22 UTC 2015

On Mon, Apr 6, 2015  Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

> > You think the other guy should slave away to accomplish some task and
>> then kill himself, but if the other guy's mind is identical to yours then
>> he thinks exactly the same thing and obviously that could lead to conflict.
>> Science can find no difference between the original and the copy but
>> whenever thought experiments of this sort come up people ALWAYS put
>> themselves in the place of the original. ALWAYS. Just once as a mental
>> exercise try putting yourself in the position of the copy. Would you even
>> believe me if I told you that you were the copy? Even if you did believe me
>> would you happily jump into a volcano if the original told you to? Why
>> doesn't the original jump into the volcano, the two of you are identical so
>> what makes him better than you?
> > Of course I would.

Maybe, but you know what, I really doubt it. People have been known to
change their minds and for far less dramatic reasons than looking down into
a molten sea of red hot lava. You really don't think you might have second
thoughts about jumping in?

> > I would remember the decision to make a copy,

The 2 are identical, so why did the original decide that the copy should
jump into the volcano and not the original?

> > and I would know where the copy ends up.

Not necessarily, not if the duplication were made in a symmetrical room,
then one would remember that somebody that looked just like them suddenly
appeared on their left, and the other would remember that somebody that
looked just like them suddenly appeared on their right; and unless they had
access to an objective video recording of the entire duplicating procedure
which they're subjective memories could be compared with there would be no
way for either of them to know which one was the original and which one was
the copy. And given that they are identical there would be no reason to
care. Would you then agree to flip a coin to decide which one jumps into
the volcano and which one lives a long happy life?

> I would pursue the course of action I decided to follow before I made the
> copy, the decision being incorporated into copy.

Suppose that  before the copy was made you knew that it was the original
that would have to make the long climb up the mountain and jump into the
volcano while the copy with a pretty girl at his side would watch your
every step with binoculars, and then after you jumped in the copy would
continues to live a long and happy life. Would that in anyway effect your
decision to be duplicated?

> > There would be no possibility of conflict.

Both believe that the other guy should jump into the volcano, and I see the
possibility of conflict in that.

> > I might make the decision to make a backup copy in a safe place, and
> then I, the original, would jump into the volcano.

Under those circumstances I'd be willing to jump into the volcano too, but
only if the backup was made so close to the time I hit the lava that I had
no time to have a last thought. How long is that? A second or two. Having a
last thought is the part of death that I personally don't like much, but
there's no disputing matters of taste.

  John K Clark
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