Re: Can I kill the "original"?

From: J. Goard (
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 19:23:52 MDT

At 03:51 PM 5/19/00 -0700, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

>I don't think anyone in this debate is seriously arguing non-materialism;

I honestly don't see how you could have interpreted my comments as
non-materialist. Perhaps I wasn't sufficiently clear.

>it has been long conceded that if one reproduces atom-for-atom the mass of
>flesh that is me, each reproduction will behave and feel exactly as I do
>now--there is nothing "magical" about me that isn't contained wholly
>within my arrangement of atoms (and perhaps their quantum states, which
>are also theoretically reproducible).

I agree, with some reservation about quantum states, only because I don't
know enough about the subject.

>The conept of "original" in this scenario is only of interest to legal and
moral (and possibly religious) arguments.

You're right. I did not mean to suggest that one of the post-split selves
had some kind of metaphysically better claim to being the "original."
That's not my concern at all. My concern is a person's most reasonable
expectation pre-split, as it would factor into an economic calculation of
whether to undergo a split.

Here's what we have: TWO post-split selves, each of whom experiences full
continuity of self-awareness with the ONE pre-split self. Say you're the
pre-split self. Suppose that tomorrow, just after the split, one of the
post-split selves will be tortured, and the other will be given n dollars.
You're sitting here, pre-split, thinking, "What am I going to experience
tomorrow?" If you claimed that you'd experience both, *that* would be a
non-materialist position, since you'd be talking about a single
self-awareness spanning two seperate brains, each of which is materially
the same as the normal human brain that you started with. So, as a good
materialist, you'll expect to experience either the torture or the profit,
but not both. You won't know which one, though, because (as you pointed
out) we cannot distinguish between the two post-split selves on the basis
of their subjective relationship to the original. So given that, what do
you suggest as a more plausible pre-split expectation than what I suggested
earlier: equal odds of continuing into each of the post-split selves?

J. Goard
The Beyond outside us is indeed swept away, and the
great undertaking of the Enlightenment complete;
but the Beyond *inside* us has become a new heaven
and calls us to renewed heaven-storming.
                                      --Max Stirner

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