Printed: 2020-01-17

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies





IEET Link: https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/bostrom200106

The Doomsday Argument Adam & Eve, UN++, and Quantum Joe

Nick Bostrom


Synthese


http://www.springerlink.com/content/t7up68421120162l/

June 30, 2001

Abstract  The Doomsday argument purports to show that the risk of the human species going extinct soon has been systematically underestimated. This argument has something in common with controversial forms of reasoning in other areas, including: game theoretic problems with imperfect recall, the methodology of cosmology, the epistemology of indexical belief, and the debate over so-called fine-tuning arguments for the design hypothesis. The common denominator is a certain premiss: the Self-Sampling Assumption. We present two strands of argument in favor of this assumption. Through a series of thought experiments we then investigate some bizarre prima facie consequences – backward causation, psychic powers, and an apparent conflict with the Principal Principle.


Nick Bostrom Ph.D. is Professor of Applied Ethics at Oxford University, the Director of the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, and co-founder and former Board Chair of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and co-founder and former Board Chair of the World Transhumanist Association (Humanity+).

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