X-Message-Number: 14141
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 11:32:21 -0700
From: Mike Perry <>
Subject: Survival through Future Selves

Brook Norton, #14136, writes

>But again, we only really exist at the present moment and to say
> that our future selves are somehow a survival of our current self
> seems without meaning.

This isn't the way I view it. Though it would be complicated to specify just
exactly what it does "mean" to say that future versions of myself are a
survival of my present self, I think a meaning can be assigned and this is
something I find very important. As a rough approximation, I will say that
my present self survives in a future self if that self has memories of
having been the present self and feels a sense of identification with the
present self. This is not an utterly meaningless idea. It means, for
instance, that the future self, some sort of information processing system,
must have stored information corresponding to certain past events. The past
events themselves must be of a special sort (or delineated in a special way)
to be seen as something it (the future self) has actually experienced, and
not just general historical data. And so on.

Mike Perry

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