comment by turchin ·
2016-08-12T21:41:01.332Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
I agree that only future copies are paradoxical. And most paradoxes are about are decisions. So we could try to solve them as decision theory problems.
If identity is something real, it should have properties, like transitivness, and copy paradoxes should have definite solutions.
But is identity is only illusion or social agreement we could redefine it according our needs.
One of the possible approaches to identity problem is to ask why identity exist at all? What are its roots?
One of its roots is in evolutionary psychology. In early human societies each person should be able to know what will be consequences of his actions (pain, paternity, meal) and who knows what in his tribe. It required very strong feeling of personal identity and ability to distinguish it. It gave rise to names and ability to distinguish individuality of other tribe members as well as idea that they are the same tribe members everyday. (Some people change their identity during initiation rituals by the way).
But for different living beings identity could evolve differently - for viruses it include all viruses with the same code for example.
It resulted that our culture and our brain have very strong built-in instruments to distinguish identity - of me and my family members. Unfortunately, than we come to the age of uploading, these old built-in structures start to protest our new ways of breeding and survival. And here appear most paradoxes.
But this doesn't solve identity problem, as evolution may be able to harness some kind of natural process, which provide physical basis for identity, like qualia, causality, continuity, you name it. It had harnessed many other physical effects before for its goals, like light, sound, chemistry etc.
(Another solution to identity origins is that God created souls as basis of identity and controls their identity every moment, but we could not take such idea seriously in rationalist forum).