X-Message-Number: 23820
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2004 12:43:04 EDT
Subject: survival again

Dave Pizer's and Eric Morgen's and Thomas Donaldson's reflections on survival 
criteria review old ideas. Dave's views are somewhat similar to mine that 
focus on the "self circuit" which is related to qualia--perhaps some kind of 

standing wave in the brain that binds space and time.  Eric says correctly that
there is not only no current consensus, but no view that comes close to being 
fully satisfactory, and anyone who claims his "anwer" is the "correct" one is 
kidding himself. 

I tend to the quantitative approach. If two systems have different locations 
in space or time, they are the "same" in the ways, and to the extent, that 
they are the same, and that's all there is to it--from the standpoint of an 
outside observer. What is, is, and that's that.

The subjective view, how you feel about it, what one "ought" to regard as 
survival, is another story. 

There is no assurance that the universe is user-friendly, or that the correct 
view will bring comfort. But continuity in space and time offer at least some 
plausibility and hope.

If the essence of "you" is a subsystem of your brain with extent in space and 
time, then you overlap your predecessors and successors. "You" never remain 
completely yourself for long, but we always knew that. If you remain largely 

yourself for some duration, then it makes sense to have a value system based on
the welfare (feel-good) of your successors. The more remote versions (past or 
future) will have less in common, and in the limit almost nothing, but the 
overlap links you to all of them. 

Robert Ettinger

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