Re: Leslie's "The End of the World" (was Re: Does anybody know t

Nick Bostrom (
Fri, 14 Aug 1998 22:43:22 +0000

Mark wrote:

> Nick Bostrom [] wrote:
> >And under these assumptions you should also be more likely to inhabit
> >a later stage of the body of the person who will transcend. Given
> >that you inhabit an early body-segment, you are no more likely than
> >anybody else to become the Superbeing. (And this might even be
> >evidence against the hypothesis that there will be such a
> >Superbeing.)
> But this is where I think this argument is fundamentally wrong. I can't
> inhabit a later body-segment without having inhabited all earlier segments
> and having memories of it (or some problem which destroys those memories).

I don't see how that is relevant: the "assumptions" that my reply referred to included the assumption that the observer-moment version of the DA works. Given this assumption the reasoning goes as follows: You could have found that your present consciousness-moment was one of a late Superbeing (maybe remembering once having been a biological human). Instead you find that it is one of a biological human. What does this say about the relative number of the Superbeing observer-moments compared to the number of human observer-moments? If the time version of the DA is right, and all these observer-moments belong to the same reference class, then it says that the number of Superbeing observer-moments is very likely not very much greater than the number of human observer-moments. That the Superbeings might remember once having been human makes no difference.

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