Re: Is the fourth time is the charm?

Date: Sat May 20 2000 - 12:36:40 MDT

> That's a great question about economic rationality. Suppose you're faced
> with the decision of whether to go through a transporter. For whatever
> reason, you've gone through similar transporters 10 times, and each time
> successfully experienced coming out the other end. Should this increase
> your confidence in going into the transporter this time? I believe Nozick
> posed a similar problem. I'll try to dig it up.

>From the philosophical perspective, I don't think it does. After all,
we are already assuming that transporters have the property that the guy
coming out will remember going in. So there is no surprise in the idea
that someone would remember doing it ten times. We can already predict
that this is exactly what will happen in this circumstance.

Those who define their identity not to be transferred by copying agree
about the facts, but they differ in the interpretation. They say
that each person who goes into the transporter dies, and a new person
comes out. It's just a matter of definitions.

Now, if you want to look at things economically rather than
philosophically, it may well be that people who refuse to use transporters
(or other forms of copying) are at an economic disadvantage to the
people (or series of people, in one view) who use them. I imagine that
in practice, people will come to use these technologies eventually.
All these philosophical quibblings will be viewed with the same amusement
that we feel today towards the medieval theologians who squabbled over
how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.


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