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Heidi Savage

So maybe I should say something about what I am looking for. At least one of the the problems with the piece is the way the paper is currently framed, I spend A LOT of time on set up before I get to the positive view, and there's also some repetitiveness involved. BUT, I do need to answer the questions that get answered in that set up somehow. So if you have suggestions about how to frame it, I would really appreciate it. Of course, any comments on any aspect are appreciated, but I am really frustrated with the organization of it right now.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Heidi: Very interesting paper! A couple of quick questions while giving it a first read this morning (I haven't thought about them very carefully, but thought I'd see what you think).

(1) On p. 6, you suggest that we can reject fission by supposing that genuine psychological continuity occurs in the single case but not the fission case--even though in both cases the psychological relations that exist are otherwise *identical*, indeed as you note fully qualitatively and introspectively the same (in the single case, a future person stage bears psychological relations R to a single previous stage, whereas in the fission case *both* post-fission individuals bear R to a previous person).

I worry that this move looks arbitrary--as motivated not my any metaphysical facts, but instead only by a motivation to solve the fission problem. Since the continuity relations are otherwise the same in both cases, there seems to be no non-arbitrary metaphysical reason for thinking continuity is "genuine" in the single case but not in the fission case.

(2) On p. 11, you suggest that most of us would recoil in horror at entering Nozick's experience machine, and that this is because the person we would be in the machine would be a mere simulacrum of the person we are before entering the machine.

I'm intrigued by your idea that psychological continuity is partly an external/environmental matter, and think the idea is very much worth pursuing. However, I have several concerns.

First, it's not at all clear to me that most people would recoil in this way. Virtual immersion (viz. online RPGs) is becoming increasingly common/normalized, and I don't think people tend to react in the ways you suggest--but instead view their avatar as a kind of *persona* they have adopted as a continuing person.

My second concern is that if psychological continuity is truly preserved when entering the machine, it is not at all clear to me that entering the machine is "a fate in many ways like death." Consider the Matrix film series. We do not doubt that 'Neo' and the other characters in the movies are the same people inside of the Matrix simulation and outside of it. We are entirely comfortable with the idea that they *are* the same person, in part because we recognize their psychological continuity.

Finally, I worry that the case only has some pull if we suppose (as I think Nozick supposes, if I recall) that one does not *remember* any of one's previous life before entering the Experience Machine. Yet, this does not seem to me to suggest that psychological continuity theory is false--but perhaps that memory plays a more important role in continuity than currently recognized.

Anyway, these are just some off-the-cuff questions. I'm really enjoying the paper so far!

Heidi Savage

Great comments. As you'll see, I do make room for a kind of virtual immersion, and I point out that I can actually distinguish types that are and are not threatening, unlike a strict continuity theorist. Not sure I got the first comment about q-continuity -- that part is playing the role of simply revealing a logical possibility: that you might reject fission, but yet, still Parfitian about identity (perhaps because of skepticism about treating personhood as a natural kind).

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