Re: Objection to the Doomsday Argument?

Nick Bostrom (
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 00:35:20 +0000

Hal Finney wrote:

> For one thing, I have memories of 20th century events, so I cannot have
> been born earlier than the 20th century.

We have to distinguish two "cannots" here. (1) Given the validity of these memories then I was in fact not born <1900.[true] (2) I could not exist without these memories.[much more doubtful]

> I am a product of
> my times in a very fundamental way. I would be a very different person
> if I were born in the 17th or 23rd centuries.

In one way this is true, but I'm not sure it's true in the relevant way. This view seems to create problems for those of us who want to personally become posthumans?

Nick Bostrom
Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method London School of Economics