Here’s a question I made up (though I’m sure someone’s asked something like it before… nihil novum sub sole). I don’t know the answer to it, I’m still trying to puzzle it out:
Say you’re trapped in a science lab. The scientists there have invented a way to erase 24 hours worth of memory each night at midnight.
You have several choices on how to spend your day. You may either:
1. Commit suicide
2. Be tortured half the day then play for the other half
3. Be tortured the entire day, giving you the privilege to play all day the next day
Regardless of your choice, you will continue to be stuck in the lab and continue to have your memory erased each night until you die.
The question is not about what you would choose. The question is: does it matter?
UPDATE: Though one could come up with a bunch of variants, what about a guilt-based one? What if you were stuck in the same lab, had the same forgetting-at-midnight scenario going on, only this time the choices are:
1. Be tortured while another science lab prisoner does not suffer for that day
2. Do not suffer while another science lab prisoner is tortured all day
For #2, you might feel guilt, but is that better than the torture itself, especially considering you’ll both completely forget the experience the next day?
Gah, this problem is really annoying me…