Abstract

In a recent paper in this journal, Ken Olum attempts to refute the doomsday argument by appealing to the self-indication assumption (SIA) that your very existence gives you reason to think that there are many observers. Unlike earlier users of this strategy, Olum tries to counter objections that have been made against (SIA). We argue that his defence of (SIA) is unsuccessful. This does not, however, mean that one has to accept the doomsday argument (or the other counter-intuitive results that flow from related thought-experiments). A developed theory of observation selection effects shows why the doomsday argument is inconclusive, and how one can consistently reject both it and (SIA).

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