RichardW

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Abnormal Cryonics

I've just read this article by Ben Best (President of CI): http://www.benbest.com/philo/doubles.html

He admits that the possibility of duplicating a person raises a serious question about the nature of personal identity, that continuity is no solution to this problem, and that he can find no other solution. But he doesn't seem to consider that the absence of any solution points to his concept of personal identity being fundamentally flawed.

Abnormal Cryonics

Hi Blueberry. How is that a rational reason for me to care what I will experience tomorrow? If I don't care what I will experience tomorrow, then I have no reason to care that my future self will have my memories or that he will have experienced a continuous flow of perception up to that time.

We have to have some motivation (a goal, desire, care, etc) before we can have a rational reason to do anything. Our most basic motivations cannot themselves be rationally justified. They just are what they are.

Of course, they can be rationally explained. My care for my future welfare can be explained as an evolved adaptive trait. But that only tells me why I do care for my future welfare, not why I rationally should care for my future welfare.

Abnormal Cryonics

Hi Jennifer. Perhaps I seem irrational because you haven't understood me. In fact I find it difficult to see much of your post as a response to anything I actually wrote.

No doubt I explained myself poorly on the subject of the continuity of the self. I won't dwell on that. The main question for me is whether I have a rational reason to be concerned about what tomorrow-Richard will experience. And I say there is no such rational reason. It is simply a matter of brute fact that I am concerned about what he will experience. (Vladimir and Byrnema are making similar points above.) If I have no rational reason to be concerned, then it cannot be irrational for me not to be concerned. If you think I have a rational reason to be concerned, please tell me what it is.

Abnormal Cryonics

I share the position that Kaj_Sotala outlined here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/1mc/normal_cryonics/1hah

In the relevant sense there is no difference between the Richard that wakes up in my bed tomorrow and the Richard that might be revived after cryonic preservation. Neither of them is a continuation of my self in the relevant sense because no such entity exists. However, evolution has given me the illusion that tomorrow-Richard is a continuation of my self, and no matter how much I might want to shake off that illusion I can't. On the other hand, I have no equivalent illusion that cryonics-Richard is a continuation of my self. If you have that illusion you will probably be motivated to have yourself preserved.

Ultimately this is not a matter of fact but a matter of personal preference. Our preferences cannot be reduced to mere matters of rational fact. As David Hume famously wrote: "'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger." I prefer the well-being of tomorrow-Richard to his suffering. I have little or no preference regarding the fate of cryonics-Richard.