Re: Separate Copies Contribute Separately to One's Runtime

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Sat Mar 08 2008 - 15:07:42 MST

Mikko writes

> Lee Corbin kirjoitti
> :
>> I claim that isomorphic copies separated enough in spacetime
>> to constitute separate physical processes are separate subjects.
> This is rather nonsensical to me.

The meanings of the word "subject" renders my sentence too
ambiguous to be retained, I admit.

>> Suppose that there is an absolutely identical you being held
>> in an Earth-like simulated city near Sirius. It ought to matter
>> to you that one of them is going to shortly die.
> You're using faulty terminology to gain psychological advantage
> for your faulty assertion. ("One of them is going to shortly die"
> implies death of a self in this context, which really isn't the case
> here; see further down.)

Surely we agree that there is a death of an instance at stake
in my scenario, and by that I mean that the normal idea of
one of the two physically running processes being destroyed.
That wording should have been clear, I claim.

> Anyway, certainly it matters in that there'd be one less instance
> of me (in this universe, anyway), and therefore less redundancy
> and fault-tolerance.

We quite agree there, though perhaps for different reasons.
My reason is that more "total benefit" per hour of life accrues
to the person I am, the more places and oftener I get to run.
Yours I only have a vague understanding of.

> (Were one to go more abstract, also some of my
> potential futures might be weeded out by that, but that happens all the
> time anyways without it being deadly.)
> An sich [As such] I see no reason to fret over one instance terminating.

Didn't you just say "certainly it matters in that there'd be one less
instance of me"?

>> Yes, right now you are "both", i.e., you can't tell whether you're
>> on Earth or near Sirius, (and I always claim that you actually are
>> in both places at the same time).
> Good, you're somewhat sane so far. However this puts at a rather odd
> light your previous statement about "one of them shortly dying". Rather,
> one would cease to be (instantiated) in one of the places one previously
> was. This does not sync up with "death" in any way or form...

Fine. As I said, by "one of them shortly dying", I meant the instance.

> One atom missing would presumably (chaos and all) diverge the copies
> given some time. I don't claim to know _exactly_ where the line goes as
> to when two similar processes have the same subjective existence and
> when they don't...

Doesn't it have to be entirely a matter of degree, a slow change?
Myself, I would claim that given enough time they'll probably become
separate people, just as you and a copy of you living in different
cities would eventually over perhaps many decades become
different people.

> Anyways, I generally suggest discussing digital error-resistant
> processes and going by rather direct mathematical comparisons of the
> instances; otherwise we just get into wanking over something we just
> don't know how to properly quantify (at this point, anyway), and that
> doesn't really lead anywhere productive.

Well, I think that some progress can be made before we have to
go that far :-)

> Incidentally and slightly relevantly...
> This is also relevant for the concept of "local death" used by Egan in
> at least Schild's Ladder; even a separate instance of you dying can be
> shrugged off as little if anything more than a slight case of amnesia,
> if you have a timely backup.

Fully agreed. More about the rest of your post later.


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