Pete writes

<David Hume Quote>

> In other words -- no matter what you think about your 
> degree of identity to a person, or how many facts you
> know about the situation you're in, those facts alone
> can't tell you how you >should< act.

Okay.  I agree.  I too believe in the is/ought barrier,
if that's what you're saying.


> As to whether duplicates are the same "self", I think 
> this is, again, a place where "I" leads us astray.

Oh yes. Trying to extend what "I" means given all the
new possibilities is not easy!

> Take this situation:  I will create an exact duplicate
> of you.  For one 24-hour period you will, from a remote
> location, experience the duplicate living your life (via 
> some closed-circuit camera and virtual reality goggles, 
> or something).

Well, you mean one instance of me (who you refer to as
"you") will *watch* the other duplicate. The *experience*
you're referring to will be the copy's.

>  I will then give you the option of either (1) killing
> yourself (painlessly, instantly) and giving the duplicate
> 5 dollars, or (2) pushing a button that makes the
> duplicate vanish, and you go back to your old life
> as if nothing happened.  Lee would choose option 
> (1), I take it, because he sees this situation as "I get 
> 5 dollars".

That's right.  When all is said and done, tomorrow someone
exceedingly similar to me will get up (but with an extra
fiver).  But that happens anyway.  Tomorrow someone *just*
like me will get up in my bed anyway, even without strange
experiments.

> I think this interpretation, using "I", has an unnecessary
> complication to it.  What I think Lee is really saying
> (in third person terms) is, "Person A ought to terminate
> person A's life, because person A desires the existence
> of (person B + 5 dollars) more strongly than he desires
> the existence of (person A)." 

NOT AT ALL.  It is axiomatic in these discussions that the
subject is as *selfish* as can be imagined. I don't believe
that any "ought" has slipped in here (though thanks for the
warning from Hume). Perhaps I *ought* to sacrifice myself
to save 1000 Australians, but, if I am to act selfishly,
then I *ought* not in order to maximize my own benefit.

But my use of the word "ought" in this last sentence is not
the moral "ought". It means what one would expect, e.g.,
you ought to go outside if you want some sun.

Lee

Reply via email to