Elga+-+Defeating+Dr+Evil

Elga+-+Defeating+Dr+Evil - Defeating Dr. Evil with...

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Unformatted text preview: Defeating Dr. Evil with self-locating belief Adam Elga Penultimate draft Forthcoming, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Abstract Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate of Dr. Evil has been created. Upon learning this, how seriously should he take the hypothesis that he himself is that duplicate? I answer: very seriously. I defend a prin- ciple of indifference for self-locating belief which entails that after Dr. Evil learns that a duplicate has been created, he ought to have exactly the same degree of belief that he is Dr. Evil as that he is the duplicate. More generally, the principle shows that there is a sharp distinction between ordinary skeptical hypotheses, and self-locating skeptical hypotheses. 1 1 Safe in an impregnable battlestation on the moon, Dr. Evil had planned to launch a bomb that would destroy the Earth. In response, the Philosophy Defense Force (PDF) sent Dr. Evil the following message: Dear Sir, (Forgive the impersonal nature of this communicationour purpose prevents us from addressing you by name.) We have just created a duplicate of Dr. Evil. The duplicatecall him Dupis inhabiting a replica of Dr. Evils battlestation that we have installed in our skep- ticism lab. At each moment Dup has experiences indistinguishable from those of Dr. Evil. For example, at this moment both Dr. Evil and Dup are reading this message. We are in control of Dups environment. If in the next ten minutes Dup performs actions that correspond to deactivating the battlestation and surrendering, we will treat him well. Otherwise we will torture him. Best regards, The PDF Dr. Evil knows that the PDF never issues false or misleading messages. Should he surrender? Whether Dr. Evil ought to surrender depends on whether he ought to remain certain that he is Dr. Evil once he reads the message. He might reason in this way: Im sure that Dr. Evil and Dup are in the same subjective state 2 namely, the state I am in right now. So I ought to be unsure whether I am Dr. Evil or Dup. If Im Dup and I dont surrender, Ill be tortured. And Dr. Evils evil plans are not worth the risk of torture. So I ought to surrender. Alternatively, before receiving the message Dr. Evil might have reasoned in this way: Im sure that Im Dr. Evil and that my battlestation is impreg- nable. True, the PDF can create duplicates of me. So what? I dont care what happens to any duplicates that those pointy- heads should be fool enough to create. If they do make a du- plicate of me, I ought to remain certain that Im Dr. Evil. Of course, the duplicate also ought to be certain that hes Dr. Evil. Tough luck for him, but hes in no worse shape than various other deluded inhabitants of the skepticism lab....
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This note was uploaded on 01/03/2012 for the course PHILOSOPHY 01:730:103 taught by Professor Prestongreene during the Spring '12 term at Rutgers.

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Elga+-+Defeating+Dr+Evil - Defeating Dr. Evil with...

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