X-Message-Number: 16049
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 19:57:46 -0500
From: david pizer <>
Subject: Are you the same person you were yesterday?

Are you the same person you were yesterday?
A brief comment on why you are the same person and how philosophy will
defend you.
I am just beginning to read about this and thought the below comments would
be of interest to some immortalists.
Dave Pizer

Recently there was some discussion about whether a person is the same
person over time and therefore is it worth getting frozen, on Cryonet.  I
have just found the time to get my 2 cents worth in - in case there is
anyone out there that is still interested.  Sorry about the delay.

Do we persist through time, or do we change so much (in a day, a month, a
year) that we do not remain the same person over time?  

What changes?  We change our ideas from time to time and the physical
structure of our neurons change.  The atoms in our bodies change.

There are at least two thoughts in contempory metaphysics (fancy words for
the study that people who think about the things we cryonicists do, but are
not signed up) of how a person remains the same over time.  The
endurantists say that for a person to exist over time is to exist "wholly
and completely at different times."  The pendurantists say that a person
cannot exist at different times and so they define a person (and other
concrete particulars) as a "whole made up of different temporal parts."  So
on either view, you can exist as the same person over time.

Endurantists think that only what exists in the present time is real.

Pendurantists think time is just another dimension like the three
dimensions of space.  They think the dimension of time is just as real as
the dimensions of space.  (BTW: I have a hard time thinking of time as real
in the sense that space is.  I more think of time as a relational thing
between at least two things that do exist.)

Even though Pendurantism is not as common-sense friendly, it does have a
better explanation of a particular's change of its properties (some of
these can be abstract); and changes in its physical (not abstract) parts.

We humans seem to be time-bound;  We come into existence, we go out, we
change over time) and since we [at least I do] think we are the same person
over time in a  most profound way; these claims in metaphysics would be
classified as "diachronic sameness" and there is a mountain of information
written about them in any modern (philosophical)library for a doubter to
read through.  I am just beginning to study this and find it interesting as
it pertains to us immortalists.  If I come accross anything more revealing,
I will pass it on.

So contempory metaphysics has at least two well-developed views of how one
person can exist over a long time and still be considered the same person,
as opposed to those who think a person is not the same person from day to
day and therefore the reanimated person would not be the same person who
got frozen years before.


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