Re: The Copy Paradox

Nick Bostrom (
Fri, 14 Nov 1997 21:01:00 +0000

Wesley Schwein wrote:

> On Thu, 13 Nov 1997, John K Clark wrote:
> > Absolutely, but "you" are not a few hundred pounds of protoplasm, you are the
> > way matter reacts when it is organized in a specific complex way. You are not
> > a noun, you are an adjective.
> I'd say I'm a verb.

You are both making category mistakes here. The sort of things that
are verbs or adjectives or nouns are words and perhaps concepts. But
human beings are not words or concepts, although there are words that
denote human beings and at least one concept of human being. To say
that you are a verb is to imply that you are not alive, because
neither words nor concepts are living things.

Also, note the interdefinability of nouns, adjectives and nouns, in
a natural (at least in the eyes of philosophers) extension of

Dog=that which "dogs"=that which is "doggish".

IMHO, if one is afraid of being mentally imprisoned by language
patterns, one is better advised to read Carnap and W. V. Quine than
to study this e-prime stuff.

Nick Bostrom
London School of Economics
Department of Philosphy, Logic and Scientifc Method