[extropy-chat] The Urge for Self Preservation

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Dec 13 03:56:05 UTC 2006

Rafal writes

> On 12/11/06, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> ...
>> But my point 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.
> ### But what if somebody changes his definition of self to include not
> only reasonably similar copies but also copies that diverged
> significantly? What if this leads to a situation where you can't
> anymore tell who is a copy and who is just another guy, even in
> principle, so you are willing to blow your brains out to save anybody?

People are still free  :-)  to have whatever notion of self they would
like. In many cases I believe they are objectively wrong.

> If your operational concept of self (i.e. all that you treat as self)
> is sufficiently modified, bystanders who do not share your concept of
> self may say you no longer have the urge for self-preservation, and
> that you are perhaps crazy, or worse, an altruist :)

If a person is crazy enough to seriously suppose that he is other, quite
distinct people, and he has no objective evidence whatsoever for the
striking claim, then yes, people---including you and me and scientific
apparatuses---will deem that he appears no longer to have the urge
for self preservation.  But on *his* terms, he may argue that this is
simply not true.  Because he believes that he is also President Bush,
then taking his own life in California doesn't affect his other instance
in Texas or Washington.

Thus, again, the urge for self-preservation still seems to be there
---all that we can dispute a fact of the matter as to whether or not he 
himself actually survives various transformations. Quite a few of us
on this list maintain that unless similarity of structure is maintained
somewhere or other in the solar system, then the person has died.

And though he go out to the end maintaining that he was surviving
in other people, and that his instinct for self-preservation was in full
force, we conclude that he did not survive.  But maybe his instinct
did, and was undone only by his faulty notion of what he was.


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