Re: Identity

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 14:11:21 -0500

John Clark wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Eliezer S. Yudkowsky Wrote:
> >How would you define "identity"?
> I think we'd need to start with the word "identical". It two things can be
> exchanged and no change can be detected by the outside world then the two
> things are identical. An unproved and unprovable but nevertheless reasonable
> corollary is that it doesn't matter internally either.
> If everything you know I know, and everything I see feel and hear you see and
> feel and hear then our brains (or consciousness) could be exchanged and the
> external would could not tell the difference in our behavior, and neither
> could the Clark/Yudkowsky composite being. We would share the same identity.
> There is no reason to think this is an all or nothing concept. If the John
> Clark of 5 minutes ago were exchanged with the John Clark of right now the
> world would see almost no difference so we're almost the same person, but the
> very act of writing this post has changed me a little.

So, John, lets say you have a set of identical twins or triplets. By your reasoning, since the siblings are all the same, then it should be alright to kill all but one of any set of such natural clones at some point during or after birth. Agree or disagree?

Mike Lorrey