[ExI] Rights without selves (was: Nolopsism)

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 02:53:16 UTC 2010

JOSHUA JOB <nanite1018 at gmail.com>:
> Without something which can say "this is good or bad for/to 'me,'" I'm not sure how you would build something that can say something is good or bad in a non-arbitrary fashion. I say in a non-arbitrary fashion, because while you can build something which says "it is wrong for jellyfish to vomit", it really makes no difference to anything that a jellyfish vomits.

We agree.

> But if you say "going and starting to kill people is bad because it hurts everyone's ability to live, including me," then you have an objective basis for that statement: your existence is threatened by people murdering each other. It actually makes a difference whether you live or die, because you can live or die, you can wink out of existence, even if the matter you are composed of is never destroyed.

We disagree.

If it does not make a difference when a jellyfish is made to vomit,
then it does not make a difference when you are made to die. I'm going
to take the materialist route here: both of these things are just
thermodynamical processes, at root, and thus equally important in
metaphysical terms.

It is arbitrary to say that death (or anything else) is bad, no matter
how rational your basis for saying so is. To a subjectivist, an
objective basis is just a more-easily-rationalized subjective basis.
Both are imposed on reality (by us self-aware folk, if you insist);
they are not in any way inherent to reality itself, no matter how
neatly they appear to fit.

All of this becomes overwhelmingly clear when you accept the premise
that (a) you can't wink out of existence because (b) "you" don't exist
to begin with.

I hinted at an embryonic theory in an earlier post to this list. I'm
now calling it the ontological plane. There's a real-imaginary axis,
which you could also call a physical-virtual axis, and there's an
existent-nonexistent axis. My computer is real and exists; if I made
my computer emulate itself or another computer then the virtual
computer would be imaginary, but it would still exist. Among the whole
field of things possible or impossible, the vast majority are both
imaginary and nonexistent.

According to this theory, I, in the sense of my quintessential self
and not my physical manifestation, am one of the very few things that
falls in the "real but nonexistent" quadrant. There is an imaginary
symbol, "I", and that exists whenever it's invoked in my brain; but it
points to a thing, me, which doesn't.

I am regaining hope in the potential for this argument to become
productive. What I've written here is far more clear and compelling to
me, at least, than the Napoleon problem ever was.

One of us may just experience a change of mind, one of these days!

Hint hint!

(I am implying that it will be you. That is the hint.)

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