X-Message-Number: 14188
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 14:29:46 EDT
Subject: Norton, Grigg questions

Brook Norton (#14177) wonders what problems I find with the Quantitative view 
of identity. He also writes, in part:

>If the "quantitative" view is correct, the primary objective still remains 
to maximize the happiness of the experiencer.


>To say I share identity with another human because of our similarities would 
be incorrect because there is no such thing as "identity".  There is no 
SPECIAL, identity-linking commonality between me and other humans.

I attempt to clarify:

The Quantitative view (or one version of it) holds that it is a mistake to 
think of "identity" as some abstraction, or as some all-important particular 
type of commonality between different systems. All we have are different 
physical systems at different locations in time or space, which are similar 
to each other in certain ways and to a certain degree in each of those ways. 

So, are duplicates the "same" people? To a degree. Are successors the "same" 
people? To a degree-and some schools of thought assign importance to 
continuity as well, but that is not a purely Quantitative notion. Are you and 
a cockroach the "same"? To a (small) degree.

What the (pure) Quantitative view does not tell us readily is how much 
importance to assign to which kinds of similarity, and how much similarity is 
enough to justify concern. 

As an old example, if many near-duplicates of you exist, ought you to be 
concerned with their collective benefit or satisfaction? Ought "you" to be 
willing to undergo torture and death in order to assure that most of the 
others benefit, if that choice should somehow arise? In the case of the 
roaches, the similarities are weak, but their numbers are enormous, and you 
may feel that should count for something. There are countless other puzzles 
as well. I don't say these problems can't be solved, but I don't know how to 
do it.
John Grigg (#14184) wrote in part:

>Dan Klemencic wrote:

>As an alternative to cutting, how about drilling a pattern of fine holes in 
the skull such that needles inserted into the holes would form an even 
pattern. The needles should be as fine as possible, given that they are 
hollow to carry a cooling agent. Perhaps if the tips of the needles are 
rounded and the insertion is slow enough the brain cells could be 'gentled' 
aside without rupturing. Has anyone tried this on an animal brain?

In THE PROSPECT OF IMMORTALITY (1962 & 1964) I made these suggestions, among 
others, for introducing cryoprotectant or/and for more rapid cooling. As far 
as I know, they have not been tried. Some of them are on our agenda at CI.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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