- This pseudo-Paper is intended as the mechanism to record time spent on the Note 'Psychological Continuity - Forward1' during my Thesis research, as from 2011.
- For the actual time recorded, click on "Paper Statistics" above.
Write-up2 (as at 15/06/2020 18:28:48): Psychological Continuity - Forward
- I think there’s a conceptual difference between:-
- Forward psychological continuity, and
- Backward psychological continuity.
- Imagine the case where (on an endurantist4 account of persistence5; see later for the distinction – and it’s relevance to this case – between endurantism and perdurantism6), I’m put into a duplicating machine7, but something goes wrong and my body is destroyed by the duplication process, though my duplicate wakes up perfectly happily. Then, it seems to me, I8 would never wake up, and would have no experience beyond entry to the duplicating machine. I would have no forward psychological continuity.
- However, my duplicate9 does have backward psychological continuity. Any duplicate of me, looking backward, would consider himself to be “me”, having my memories10, abilities, plans and so forth, and a body looking just like mine. But, would I11 ever wake up as the duplicate? My intuition on the endurantist account, as I have said, is that I would not, though I suspect that on the perdurantist12 account, this might be seen as a case of intended fission13 in which I was intended to wake up twice, provided we consider that the right sort of causality14 is in place.
- The above considerations raise issues similar to those in closest continuer15 accounts of personal identity, and the Only 'X' and 'Y' Principle16. How can what happens to someone else affect whether (so to speak) I am me? How could the “right sort of causality” have anything to do with how I experience things?
- Fission is, in any case, hard to imagine happening to oneself. Just what does it mean to “wake up twice”? I dare say one could get one’s head(s) around it. The two selves would then be distinct individuals, with distinct consciousnesses, but with a shared past. On the perdurantist account, we were always distinct, but co-located with everything in common.
- Let’s consider forward psychological continuity in everyday life. What ensures forward continuity of consciousness17 in the normal case of sleep and temporary unconsciousness? I cannot know “from the inside” that when I awake I’m the same human being as the one that went to sleep in my bed. The reason I believe this is for external reasons: duplication is not physically possible (or at least practical), and in any case I have no reason to believe it happened to me last night. Other people assure me that there was nothing out of the ordinary going on.
- This seems a very important issue to me, and I need to make more of it. For example, in teletransportation18 thought experiment19, it seems to me20 that a new person wakes up, but I don’t, nor do I experience anything, though the new person claims to be me. Incidentally, it’s not just a new person21, but a new human being22 who wakes up.
- This is the sort of question that the Logical Positivists would denounce as meaningless, as no empirical evidence can decide it.
- Andy Clark, in "Clark (Andy) & Kuhn (Robert Lawrence) - Aeon: Video - Andy Clark - Virtual immortality", raises the question about what ensures psychological continuity – more or less than in the case of Teletransportation – in the case of dreamless sleep, or (hypothetically) being frozen and then thawed out. We might ask what it is in the normal waking case. Maybe the whole thing is related to the arrow of time23 or in the distinctions between forward-looking psychological properties – desires and intentions yet to be satisfied or acted upon, and memories of what has already taken place.
- Producing a reading list on this topic is difficult as the distinction – to my knowledge – isn’t usually made. There’s a huge overlap with the general literature of psychological continuity and connectedness and that on Teletransportation. For these, see:-
→ Psychological Continuity24,
- So, the above caveats aside, works on this topic that I’ve actually read26, include the following:-
- "Blackburn (Simon) - Has Kant Refuted Parfit?", Blackburn
- "Clark (Andy) & Kuhn (Robert Lawrence) - Aeon: Video - Andy Clark - Virtual immortality", Clark & Kuhn
- "Dainton (Barry) - Self: Philosophy In Transit: Prologue", Dainton
- "Ehring (Douglas) - Personal Identity and Time Travel", Ehring
- "Lockwood (Michael) - When Does a Life Begin?", Lockwood
- "Olson (Eric) - Immanent Causation and Life After Death", Olson
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity and Immortality", Shoemaker
- "Shoemaker (David) - Personal Identity, Rational Anticipation, and Self-Concern", Shoemaker
- "Smith (Barry C.), Broks (Paul), Kennedy (A.L.) & Evans (Jules) - What Does It Mean to Be Me?", Smith
- A further reading list might start with:-
- TBA: I’ll add items to the list as they arise.
- This is mostly a place-holder27.
Footnote 7: Footnote 20:
- This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (15/06/2020 18:28:48).
- Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
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