[extropy-chat] The Undying [Threads on this List]

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Dec 3 03:18:30 UTC 2006

Jef writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> Well, the wikipedia definition plainly tries to cover too 
>> many bases for our purposes here. (I have no argument with it 
>> for a Wikipedia description, but we require a narrower usage.)
> Interesting.  I think that an obvious weakness of the Wikipedia article
> is not that it lacks a sufficiently narrow usage, but that it lacks a
> single elegant definition of the concept, broad in its applicability,
> from which one can then proceed to describe the many narrow variations.

Yes---but I contend that *rationality* is used by many kinds of people
for many kinds of purposes;  ours here is rather narrow.  I hold it not
against the big W for their even-handed characterizations.

<big snip>
>> I demur slightly; morality has never to me seemed to depend 
>> on the meaning of self.
> Then I have failed miserably over the last several years to communicate
> this crucial point.

Oh, don't take it so hard. Your explanatory skills are pretty good,
not that there isn't room for improvement of course. Maybe you're
just wrong.

But your evident goal of simply *convincing* everyone of your
point of view---rather than even ostensibly engaging as equals
in a search for the truth that may very well lie between us---
causes me to conclude that there is little openmindedness on
your part, and all my arguments against your points of view
are completely futile.

> Yes, I have certainly failed, not only to gain your agreement, but even
> to gain your understanding of my argument.

Ah, well, join the club.  I've railed on about notions on which
I too have a lot of confidence, and although I've met many
of the like-minded, all too often enormous debates end up
with no one's position having been altered in the slightest.

But then, I never expect them too!  Do you really think that
after a while in some long thread someone is going to suddenly
say, "Oh, I see!  I was wrong and you were right."  That is
NOT how it works, Jef.  Your arguments create small doubts
in their minds which when things go well for your arguments
gradually grow and eventually convince them---or at least 
cause their minds to change.  But not in real time.

I have said that before. Do you or do you not think that what I
have written just above is indeed how it works?

>> You should make it clear that this is only a conjecture on 
>> your part that such a form of collaborative social 
>> decision-making exists or will exist. Yes, it's probably tied 
>> up with identity, but I've taken a stand on what I mean by 
>> identity, and so long as I'm Lee Corbin, that view, which 
>> I've held since 1966, is not going to change. I'll turn into 
>> someone else the day it does.
> Lee, I appreciate the frankness and clarity of this last paragraph in
> which you have stated the main reason why such discussion tends
> not to proceed.

Again, just how the hell do you think that people are going to 
fall completely over to your views in real time?  It almost
*never* happens, and I will go so far to say that indeed it
does never happen on any deep issue at all. 

As for my words above, apparently you simply have failed
to understand--despite all my effort--what I mean by identity
and how unconnected with relatively peripheral issues such
as morality it is. All my examples of what ORDINARY 
people mean when they stare death in the face seem to
have utterly no effect on you. As I mentioned offlist, 
do you think that Nathan Hale believed that *he* was
going to survive when he said "I regret that I have but one
life to give for my country?".

You also have a distressing tendency not to answer direct
questions of the above kind.

With sincere respect, believe it or not, 

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