Re: Is a Person One or Many?

From: Lee Corbin (
Date: Wed Mar 12 2008 - 17:05:55 MDT

John Clark writes

>> This means that if there are 101 identical copies,
>> you are definitely only one of those copies
> If they are identical then I am all those copies. If they started having
> different experiences they would still remember being me but they would
> not remember being one of there fellow copies, they would diverge. Now
> there would be 101 distinct individuals but they would all be John K
> Clark.

I agree with that, even though I get the same answers as almost everyone
here did to Eliezer's puzzle, namely odds of 100:1 for seeing heads.

>> If this next moment involves opening the envelope,
>> you will end up finding that you are one (and only one)
>> of the 100 copies that reads "no torture" or the
>> single copy that reads "torture". So you are 100
>> times as likely to read "no torture".
> Your arithmetic is wrong. There are 2 versions of me, one gets tortured
> and one does not, you figure out the odds.

And after 1 millisecond, how many of you do you see, Winston?
And how many after ten seconds, in those slightly diverging environments?

> It's interesting that all the confusion and paradoxes about this topic
> vanishes if you just make one small change in viewpoint. Try thinking of
> yourself as an adjective not a noun.

What about this: I no longer think of Lee Corbin as a thing, but
just refer to the "Lee Corbin process"? That makes "Lee Corbin"
technically an adjective. Now "process" is still a noun, but you've
used nouns throughout this whole discussion to refer to yourself
and to others. Does that help?


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