[ExI] Next moment, everything around you will probably change

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Jun 25 09:03:22 UTC 2007

On 25/06/07, gts <gts_2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> > If we had evolved in an environment
> > where copying was commonplace, our brains may well have developed
> > something akin to Lee's simpler theory of selfishly regarding all
> > copies as selves in proportion to their level of similarity.
> Possibly, but it would I think have to be a chaotic society without a
> coherent concept of individual rights, or even of individuality. My
> murder-or-suicide courthouse illustration was designed to show the
> absurdity of such a world.

But imagine that exact copying of an adult human had been available
for thousands of years. In such a society, people who tend to treat
their copies as selves and will eg. not think twice about sacrificing
one version of themselves so that two versions survive, will prosper
and become over-represented in the population compared to those who
treat copies as other and behave selfishly (in the present sense)
towards them. The adaptive effect of treating copies as selves will be
greater than the adaptive effect of caring for family members, because
in the case of the copies not only are they physically identical but
the entire meme complex is also identical: evolutionary psychology
becomes much more straightforward.

Therefore, if copying became commonplace, over time Lee's view would
come to prevail and the rest of us will become evolutionary relics.
However, that doesn't mean we should - for this reason - consider
copies as selves, any more than the existence of sperm banks should
inspire all men to devote maximum resources to donating sperm.

Stathis Papaioannou

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