From: Stuart Armstrong (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Feb 09 2009 - 03:38:08 MST
> If your theory of personal identity is so delicate that quantum
> uncertainties will disrupt it then you should never drink a cup of
> coffee because it will turn you into another person; it will certainly
> change you far more than quantum uncertainties will.
> It's interesting that in all these discussions everybody insists there
> is a huge difference between the sacred high holy ORIGINAL and a copy,
> even though the scientific method can detect no difference and the
> parties in question can't even tell subjectively if they've switched
> positions or not.
Aha! Here it looks like we're getting close to the nub of the problem
(sorry, missed this post earlier). I finally see where you're coming
I do not see any difference between the original and the copy, just
through the fact that one is the original and the other is the copy (I
definetly see no reason to prefer one over the other).
But first, I note that you've changed your definition: you initially
said that the two copies were the idistinguishable, so they are both
the same person. But chaos (you don't even need quantum) means that
the two copies are distinguishable, so now you seem to have shifted
the identity criteria to "you could easily have ended up as either one
Fine then. When I drink coffee, I am slightly different. This doesn't
normally matter, as there isn't someone else around to take over my
But now there are two copies of Stuart Armstrong, both of them subtely
differrent people, and this difference will only grow with time. Two
possible branches of my future co-exist together. I see no reason to
decree that one of them is original, and the other is not; I similarly
see no reason to decree that two diverging entities that don't share
emotions or sensations are the same person. Instead, we will call
ourselves Suart Armstrong Alpha and Stuart Armstrong One, and go on
our merry ways (first fighting each other over our wife).
Stuart Armstrong Alpha One
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