[ExI] Rights without selves (was: Nolopsism)

JOSHUA JOB nanite1018 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 00:10:24 UTC 2010

On Feb 10, 2010, at 4:07 PM, Spencer Campbell wrote:
> You speak as though these issues have long since been resolved! In
> reality, all you're giving me are opinions: facts which are currently
> in contention. Not to say I don't agree with you, but we can't brush
> the problem of potential consciousness under the table just because
> neither of us happens to consider it a major problem. It simply
> wouldn't be prudent.
A fetus (at least in the first 6 or 7 months) cannot be conscious (in the human meaning, not like ants), nor can a brain dead person, this has pretty much been proven. I don't see how anyone can contend that it is not the case. That's why I spoke as if it was fact.
> Well, I think we've taken this argument as far as it can go then.
> Clearly you refuse to even entertain the idea that rights could be
> anything other than personal rights. I suppose it's an issue of
> semantics. What if I say cars could have an explicitly-defined correct
> way to be treated, that is, could be covered by a system of
> "corrects"?
> Surely you would agree that, looking at a galaxy-spanning machine
> devoid of anything remotely resembling rational self-aware thought, we
> could arbitrarily suppose that it is "meant" to further some purpose
> and from that assumption determine how well it is operating -- that
> is, how correctly, or how rightly.
The problem with "corrects" or your machine is that you are referencing consciousness and entities when even discussing them. I agree fully that if we were to look at some huge machine without anything resembling rational self-aware thought, we could figure out what it seems to do and determine how well it is doing it. Not a problem at all.

The problem is that "we" have to determine how well it is doing it. "We" as in us rational, self-aware entities. Without that, anywhere along the line, I can't see how you can create the idea of a "correct" or a "right" or a "purpose" or a "meaning." You've got to have someone who can actually evaluate things, or else there is no meaning, value, or purpose to anything at all. In other words, you need rational self-aware entities, or there can be no idea of meaning or purpose, and thus no rights. Without assuming selves exist (as we perceive them), I don't see how you can get anywhere. I hope I've made my point more clear (I don't think I expressed my position in this paragraph very clearly before). If I refuse to entertain the thought, it is because the thought cuts itself off at the knees, as far as I can tell, haha.

Joshua Job
nanite1018 at gmail.com

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