[extropy-chat] The Urge for Self Preservation (was Criticizing One's Own Goals---Rational?)

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Dec 12 02:52:31 UTC 2006

I had written

> > The remainder here seems unproblematical, except for the
> > remark about "many-worlds".  I would demur from the claim
> > that the *urge* for self-preservation is in any way itself
> > affected.  What is changed for one is the realization that self-
> > preservation may be achieved in non-obvious or non-customary
> > ways.

and Rafal responds

> ### Well, there are some changes to the real-world meaning of
> self-preservation as soon as you start messing with your definition of
> self. If you decide that your copy is still self, the behavioral
> correlates of self-preservation may change dramatically. In certain
> hypothetical situations you may use your .45 to destroy the
> instantiation of self that is directly controlling the movements of
> the arm holding the gun, that is, you may blow your brains out, if
> necessary to preserve yourself, instantiated in your copies. You and I
> would do it, but people with other definitions of self would not.

Thank you for the cogent description:  yes indeed, the raw behavioral
correlates, as you call them, indeed do change just as you say. An instance
of someone who has suddenly become convinced that copies are selves 
may blow its brains out for suitable reward to himself in the other instances.

But my point above was that the *urge* to self-preservation does not
seem to be affected by whether there are copies or not, or whether MWI
is considered true.  It might only appear to the uninitiated that a person
seemed to value his life less;  that bystander would simply be failing to
realize that the instance itself---in the view of that person---was hardly
all there was to that person.


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