Considering that I cannot feel my future self, why should I care for it more than I care about other people? In other words, from my present perspective, what differs future "me" from a different person?

  • If you chop your hand today, your future self will be crippled and a different person will have two hands. People care about their future self because they will experience in the future whatever that guy experiences. That doesn't happen with other people.
    – Trylks
    Aug 22, 2013 at 19:38
  • What you say is what each of us thinks instinctively, but I cannot see the link between me and my future self. Soul (which I assume to not exist) is exactly what people invented to fill in that gap. Aug 22, 2013 at 19:47
  • I can see many links, same DNA, same history (plus some increment), space-time continuum and most specially (for caring about that guy) whatever he experiences I'll experience that and I'll remember that.
    – Trylks
    Aug 22, 2013 at 19:55
  • I agree he is very similar to present you, but is that relevant? The only thing relevant is whether you FEEL what he feels. Here is an example: What if there was another person which was exactly future you (atom by atom). Why would you prefer future you over that guy? Aug 22, 2013 at 20:01
  • I don't want my clone nor that anonymous guy to be crippled but there are only a few people I can worry about (due to cognitive capabilities) and there are only a few people I'm responsible for (in a fairly straightforward way), starting by myself.
    – Trylks
    Aug 22, 2013 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


We can argue that we only exist in the present, our future-selves and past-selves are other people.

At the same time we can argue that our present self doesn't exist at all, because present is an instant, there is no such a thing as "present" me.

If I am typing now, that's because my brain (of my past-self) told the hands of his future-self (aka current present-me) to type a few milliseconds ago.

That works the other way around. You cannot feel your present-self either, all you feel is your past-self, if you feel pain in some part of your body that's because that part sent the message through the nerves a few milliseconds ago. If you feel sad or happy or anything, it's because of memories of your past-self.

Physics about space and time tell us that there is a continuum (or a quantum succession) of your past-selves. Relativity tells us that there simultaneity is relative at two distant points, so there is no objectively simultaneous you to call "present you".

So you don't really ever worry about your future self, but about how your future-past-past-self will make feel your future-past-present-self.

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