Re: The Copy Paradox
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 13:55:01 +0000

> Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 12:05:27 -0500
> From: Harvey Newstrom <>

> 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.

I agree; neither would I.

> 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.

Here is something to think about. If this copying and killing of one
copy could be done, I think that the copy slated for death would
quickly see your point. :) *Before* the copying was done, the person
to be copied can anticipate being both copies, and so it seems
pointless to worry about which one dies. Since there is only one of
said person now, and since after the copying, there will still be one
left, it seems that (s)he has lost nothing.

BTW, there is a good fictional representation of this atitude in
_Permutation City_ by Greg Egan. The main character keeps trying to
perform experiments on uploads of himself, and can't understand why
the uploads won't cooperate, even though HE has every intention of
doing so.

> Maybe it is my own experience with my own copy (twin) that makes me
> skeptical of this approach?

Actually, I don't think that it's genetic information that people
really care about. Nobody ('cept maybe in China) argues that it's
okay to shoot every fifth or greater child by a given couple, even
though little genetic info is lost. What people care about is
personal identity, and you and your twin abviously aren't the same