Pete writes

> >> 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.

Lee

> (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.)

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