X-Message-Number: 27590
Date: Mon,  6 Feb 2006 13:28:55 -0500
Subject: Everyone Wants a Piece
From: <>

>> Discussions of the nature of Identity have resumed for a while 
and I have had some new thoughts on the subject. I think the 
problem we are facing here is that we are arguing about two 
different things which we are confusing with each other. <<

No, this is not actually the problem. There is a true disagreement, 
as I will explain below.

>> I think Robert's mathematical definition of identity is probably 
perfectly valid, although I do not have the mathematical training 
to fully understand it. <<

It looks like you have merged the identities of Robert and me.

>> Individual A dies, individual B comes into existence, but the 
person  that calls himself Sam lives on. Sam's opinion is the only 
one that matters, and a person calling itself Sam clearly exists in 
Individual B just like it existed in individual A. Sam did escape 
the spaceship. <<

This is proof by assertion. Before I lay out the facts, let me 
define some terms to make this conversation more precise.

When I say, 'individual B survives individual A', I mean, 
individual A did not have a last experience; i.e. from the 
subjective perspective of individual A, B surviving A is 
qualitatively different than A dying.

Now, we can both trivially agree that 'individual B survives 
individual A' in the case that B is the same as A, using the 
definition of identity you are calling 'objective identity', 
because then the statement reduces to a mere tautology: 'individual 
A [at some time t + d] survives individual A [at some time t]'. The 
me of now survives the me of a second ago.

Where we disagree is when A has a different identity ('objective 
identity', if you like) than B; e.g. is a different hunk of matter, 
as in the case of your starship example.

In this case, you say we know that individual B survives individual 
A because individual B says so, and, well, 'his is the only opinion 
that matters.' Let me say, this is plainly one of the most 
ridiculous arguments for patternism that I see (but also one of the 
most common).

In this case, Sam-on-the-ground will make numerous claims about his 
past: viz., who he married, what he did a week ago, what the names 
of his parents are, etc., that are demonstrably false, because we 
know for a fact that Sam-on-the-ground was synthesized from 
scratch, and never had a wife nor parents, and he didn't exist a 
week ago. So we know for a fact that 99.99999% of the claims Sam-on-
the-ground makes about himself are false, because he was created 
mere moments ago. So when he says, 'I'm the same Sam, I really did 
survive!' you honestly want us to take him seriously?!?

Of course he thinks he's the same Sam. But he's objectively not. He 
did not survive Sam-on-the-starship. Sam-on-the-starship is dead 
and gone forever. The survival of Sam-on-the-ground is therefore 
irrelevant to the survival of Sam-on-the-starship (you would agree 
this is the case if Sam-on-the-starship somehow miraculously 
survives the crash, unknown to Sam-on-the-ground; why do you think 
it's any different if he dies? Your mind is confused).

That's the real difference between a patternist such as you, and a 
materialist such as me. We really do disagree.

Richard B. R.

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