Re: The copy paradox

Brent Allsop (
Wed, 5 Nov 1997 14:09:26 -0700


I enjoyed your "The Calculus of Identity" page, very
interesting. Within it you seem to consider the "self function" to be
a kind of "relative" thing based on opinions or whatever of whatever
the particular self thing is. But of course such opinions can be
mistaken can't they? You said:

> the self-function need not be universal, it is unique for each
> system (I identify myself with my actions, you might identify with
> your memes and somebody might identify with their body). So if we
> assume the existence of some kind of abstract "superself-function"
> which for any system gives us its sense of identity

For a moment let's assume that there is no such thing as an
immortal spiritual ghost inside our body that is ourselves. If a
person identifies himself as such a fictional "ghost" which he might
sincerely believe is inside his body, then his concept of self would
not exist right? Since his false ideas had no correspondence to
anything in reality.

You said you identify yourself with your actions. This is
only partially true isn't it? Wouldn't a very different body that
acted the same as you be different than you? To get an accurate
concept of self you must consider all things that make us what we are.
Though a virtual copy of ourselves running on silicone, might have
identical virtual actions, there are obvious differences which should
not be ignored, though some of the difference may not be to important.

So, shouldn't a self() function, rather than be something that
is relative to the particular system or person, be something that is
more absolute and universal? Shouldn't it consist of all true
attributes of the self and none that are false or not really existent

Of course everything else would still apply, such as "Identity
Horizons" beyond which one would cease to be themselves, but any place
you placed such "horizons" would seem somewhat arbitrarily placed
along the continuum that can be us. What does it really matter
whether I define myself to be different than I was when I was 2 or

Brent Allsop