X-Message-Number: 14161
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 10:59:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Badger <>
Subject: Re: Badger, Spoering, Survival

Despite Peter Merel's final word on the subject, I
compelled tocomment further. I hope I speak for some
others when I say that I do not view the preservation
of identity issue as an "ugly head" being raised yet
again, contaminating the list with needless noise.  A
final solution may not be feasible, but increased
clarity on some aspects of the issue is, I believe,

Bob Ettinger wrote

1. Scott Badger (#14143) writes, in part:

>> I argued that survival occurs when the current self
>> accurately "perceives" itself to be equivalent to 
>> or a very close approximation of a recent previous
>> self.
> First of all, what one "perceives" (or believes) is
> not necessarily relevant. As an extreme example, if
> the universe had been created one second ago, 
> complete with me and my memories, I would "perceive"
> no differently than I do  now, but I would not be a 
> survivor or continuer of any past self.

Similar examples crossed my mind.  I attempted to get
around them by including the term "accurately

> For the umpteenth time, I cannot emphasize too
> strongly that--as far as I know--there is NO current
> answer or solution to the question of correct 
> criteria of survival. No matter what anyone has
> proposed, someone else has provided a thought
> experiment that casts doubt on it.
Agreed.  I'm not claiming to have THE most correct
argument. I'm just trying to explore the idea in a
reasonable way.

> In arguing against survival only in the moment,
> writes in part:

>> what is meant by, "now" or "in the moment"?  There
>> is little meaning to be derived from a single time
>> frame without taking the context of the other
>> moments of the ball's flight into consideration. 
>> The meaning is in the movement, not in the moment.
>> Similarly, meaning does not exist in the moment for
>> us. It is the perception of the self over time
>> that gives us the context from which we construct
>> meaningfulness.
> I don't think this addresses the question. We
> sometimes apprehend meaning or connectedness over
> long time periods--remembering important events
> decades past, anticipating future goals far ahead
> --but this surely doesn't imply that we "exist" 
> only as a long term composite.

I was responding to Brook's statement that there was
nothing "meaningful" about a future self, that there
was only meaningfulness in the moment.  Clearly, we
"exist" in the moment, there's just not much meaning
to be derived from any particular moment (assuming
a moment is a very short period of time)

> It isn't about "meaning." It's about feeling.

I don't think I understand this position, Bob.  Are
you referring to Qualia, simply sensing the
environment, or emotions?

Scott further, in part:

>> Again, I don't think it's possible to live in the
>> moment.  No one really does that.  No one can.  The
>> moment is already past. Meaning is in the movement,
>> not in the moment. 

> I think this is misplaced confidence. Many bright
> people, for instance, think your life unfolds as a
> succession of quantum states, or roughly speaking as
> a succession of film frames, discrete and finite. If
> this is true, then you can--and in fact you must
> --live in the moment. 

I don't mean to sound confident on these issues.  As
you said, the correct argument has yet to be
satisfactorily formulated.  In my view, we're
obviously alive in each of the film frames.  We do
live in the sense that we exist, but so what?  When
reanimated, you'll prefer the whole reel of film, not
some isolated film frames because the meaning is in
the movie.

Peter Merel is right about the importance of drama to
the self. Some people persuasively suggest that we
tend to remember our past experiences in the form of
stories or narratives. And the self is essentially
defined as the main character in those stories.

Best regards,


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