Re: IDENTITY-What it means to be 'me'

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 07:18:40 MST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Max More" <>
To: <>
Nice summary of the various philosophical positions!
> Parfitians (myself included) tend to agree with some functionalists and
> disagree with John, saying that an identical copy of me is not me.
> we are actually closer to John in that we don't think that identity is
> matters. What matters is psychological connectedness and continuity. So,
> practice, we are pretty close to John's view. I would not be happy about
> being destroyed while my life was taken over by a copy made weeks before I
> was destroyed, but I would far prefer than to destruction and no copying.
> The more you cut down the overlap, the less disturbed I would be. If you
> don't activate the copy until after I'm gone, I find it hard to see what's
> missing.
It is interesting to see how far a healthy pragmatism would allow us to
close the gap here on various positions. For example, as a Parfitian which
would you prefer: a) To live another say 50 years (a "normal" life span), or
b) die tomorrow and be replaced by an identical copy that will 1000 years?
(Obviously, for some functionalist at least the choice is simply whether to
live 50 or 1000 years. I have phrased the question so as not to beg the
question against Parfitians et. al). I think most of us, no matter where we
fall on the continuum you outline would take b, although I would be curious
to hear from those that would take a. (I think the protagonist in John
Perry's _A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality_ might take a,
however, I would be interested in hearing good reasons.:)) In any event,
this may suggest that identity might be over-rated in some cases.

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