> >> Pete:
> >> 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)."
> I was using ought in the same sense too (rationally consistent with a
> given desire). Given that person A has the desires that he does, he
> ought to accept choice (1). I'm not saying whether person A ought
> (in the ethical sense) to have those desires or not,
Okay, and so to avoid further confusion, let's avoid use
of the word "ought".
> but given that
> he prefers (person B + 5 dollars) to (person A), and believes that by
> accepting choice (1) his preference will be realized, it is rational
> for him to behave by accepting choice (1).
> You think that person A ought (in the ethical sense) to have a strong
> desire for the future existence of person B - no less, in fact, than
> for the future existence of person A. You imply this when you say
> the subject is selfish. I see your point, that normally we have a
> strong desire for the future existence of -- the person who will wake
> up in our bed tomorrow.
Hmm? You are still seeing that I'm making an *ethical* statement
here somehow? Well, I suppose that in some sense highly selfish
behavior could conceivably be described as ethical in some sense,
but it's sure confusing.
> But I don't think it's clear whether you can
> extend the common notion of "acting selfishly" into the situation
> with duplicates, and whether you should or not is something the Hume
> quote is relevant to. In other words, it is a fact that there are
> two identical people - or, to be even clearer, two identical
> organisms (A and B). Does this fact impinge on A's behavior with
> respect to B, and if so, why? If A hesitates to accept death or
> torture to the benefit of B, isn't that a good case for re-evaluating
> A's desires for B?
A may indeed have desires for B. A may have desires (or preferences)
for anything, especially if A is a philosopher and has worked out a
lot of things.
The ordinary view we have almost from birth is that a system
such as A that by its nature collects information about the
outside world, has clear system boundaries, and has instincts
forged by evolution, will come to *identify* only with himself.
Some exceptions: a meme invasion can bring some people to
identify so strongly with causes (e.g. "The Revolution") that
we might conceivably suppose that the boundary of self has
been shifted. I don't know. But what I am saying here is
that definitely in the case of very close copies, to be
consistent one should to the greatest degree he can
extend the boundary to include close duplicates.
> (Interestingly, clones in the animal kingdom sacrifice themselves for
> each other all the time - some worker bees and fire ants, for
> instance. At the gene's-eye view, a gene is sacrificing some copies
> of itself in order that a greater number of copies may get made down
> the line. Even without clones, there is kin selection, in which
> organisms behave altruistically towards close relatives, and this has
> a similar gene's-eye view explanation. Genes certainly cause
> behavior consistent with Lee's approach to personal identity, and it
> is in a strong sense selfish behavior.)