>>Not quite!  It turns out that everyone who knows them regards 
>>twins as different persons. And so regards them, I am pretty 
>certain as 
>>different people in a way that they were *NOT* so regard you and your 
>>duplicate.  You and your duplicate---created yesterday, 
>say---would be 
>>SO SIMILAR I claim, that people would regard you as the same person.  
>>It seems that identical twins always do have slightly different 
>>personalities, and that a lot of the differences they exhibit were 
>>created during the nine months before birth.
>> > > Of course, if you can't affect it, that's a reason for 
>> > > non-concern.
>> > > But if you could, then, I contend, one intervenes to 
>prevent one's 
>> > > duplicate from suffering for entirely *selfish* reasons.
>It seems that we are just defining the term "me" differently. 
>My definition is that if you stick a pin in a person and I 
>feel it, then that person is me. If you stick a pin in the guy 
>across the room who looks, talks, behaves etc. like me, *I* 
>don't feel anything. Isn't this a rather basic, scientifically 
>verifiable difference?
>You may also have something different in mind to me when using 
>the term "selfish". In evolutionary biology, animals sometimes 
>engage in apparently self-sacrificing behaviour to help their 
>kin, but in reality the behaviour is "selfish", because in so 
>acting the animal is propagating its own genes (which is 
>basically all nature cares about). In this sense, you could 
>argue that we should behave altruistically towards those who 
>share our genes, and call this "selfish". I don't accept this, 
>generally, as an argument: just because it is nature's way 
>doesn't mean it is right. But even if i did accept it, it 
>*still* isn't the same when my copy gets stuck with a pin as 
>when I get stuck with a pin. I might feel guilty about it, but 
>I would prefer that he get stuck ten times rather than that I 
>get stuck once.

That raises an interesting question. *Should* we (whether reasoned on an
ethical basis or a purely selfish one) care more about a copy of ourselves
getting hurt than a complete stranger? 

I have little doubt that I *would* rather a stranger get stuck than my copy,
but only, I think, because I would have more empathy for my copy than for a
stranger, in the same way that I would have more empathy for my mother
getting stuck than I would for someone I don't know.

Beyond the empathetic rationale, I don't see any convincing argument for
favoring the copy over a stranger. The copy is not, after all, *me*
(although it once was). We ceased being the same person the moment we were
copied and started diverging.

Jonathan Colvin

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