Re: The Copy Paradox

Harvey Newstrom (
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 12:05:27 -0500

Leevi Marttila wrote:
> Exactly: It doesn't matter, only thing that matters is that person that
> is jumping to volcano know that original knows that he is jumping into
> volcano. Essential thing is that he is convinced that original/copy of
> him is continuing living.

This is where my opinion diverges. I already have a genetic copy. He
is not a clone, but a twin. If someone wanted to shoot me in the head,
I would violently oppose this plan. The continued existance of my
"copy" does not make me feel comfortable with my death.

Even if my twin could be modified by a plastic surgeon to look exactly
like me, I still wouldn't want to die. Even if you recorded my exact
brain state, and reset his brain to that exact configuration, I would
still not want to die.

Note that I am not saying that he is not me, or that he is not another
instantiation of "me". These are semantic word games which don't really
matter. I just still desire to continue experiencing life. Knowledge
that another person very similar to me or exactly like me will continue
to experience life does not change my opinion. My twin has not directly
affected my subjective experience of life up till now. Even modifying
him to be exactly like me does not change my subjective experience of
life. In fact, you could modify him without my knowledge. I still would
oppose my personal death. I don't know how making my twin brother more
like me makes it any more acceptable for me to die. If you told me that
you had modified my brother to be exactly like me, I still don't see why
I would change my mind and let you shoot me. Even if I really believed
that you actually accomplished what you claimed, I still wouldn't change
my mind.

Does anyone know what is different between my understanding and that of
those who would be willing to die if there was a copy made of them? I
am curious to find out why I am not thinking the way other people are.
Maybe it is my own experience with my own copy (twin) that makes me
skeptical of this approach?

Harvey Newstrom  (