Re: Is a Person One or Many?

From: Vladimir Nesov (
Date: Sat Mar 15 2008 - 10:01:01 MDT

On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 7:39 PM, John K Clark <> wrote:
> On Thu, 13 Mar 2008 21:09:55 +0300, "Vladimir Nesov"
> <> said:
> > Could you devise a betting strategy (and an
> > optimization target) in which using probability
> > of 1/2 is better then 100/101 when implemented
> > by possible clones?
> In this thought experiment there are only 2 conscious beings not 101,
> because 100 of them can be described by the same adjective. If one of
> those 100 happened to see a tail not a head then there would still be
> only two conscious beings because 99 could be described with one
> adjective and 2 could be described with another. It's still a 50-50
> chance.

I tried to do the math and it seems that you are right, although your
explanation is bad. It's the same 50-50 even if [100 copies observe
100 different movies or 1 original observes 1 movie drawn randomly
from the same collection of 100], to ensure that 100 copies are

Agent after possible copying doesn't have any additional information
about state of coin and hence state of the world, so it classifies its
world as 50% probable to be in a branch where coin turned tails and
50% to where coin turned heads. It just so happens that one of these
possible states of the world can be observed from one of 100 points,
but it's a fact about the map, not the territory, and we are
discussing a fact about the territory, namely which world is it, if
current body is a copy.

Vladimir Nesov

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:01:02 MDT