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

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Mon Jun 25 15:10:39 UTC 2007

On 6/25/07, Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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, I agree with you that ubiquitous copying would lead to
changes in the evolved psychology of self, but suggest that this would
not strengthen acceptance of Lee's view that duplicates are the same
individual, but rather, that duplicates are members of the hive
identity and that it would be silly to consider the personal identity
of individuals.

Supporting your point, there is no essence of personal identity, but
only perceived identity assigned by any observer in terms of features
salient due to their utility with regard to the dynamics of social

- Jef

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