Re: Why qualia might matter

From: Emlyn (
Date: Tue Mar 27 2001 - 22:34:05 MST

Dan Fabulich wrote:
> Emlyn wrote:
> > OK, try this...
> >
> > I probably would give up one minute. But the motivation is *not* self
> > preservation. It's altruism, empathy for another being.
> Right, yes, of course. That was my point. Answering the qualia
> question only changes your answer to the question of *why* you'd
> undergo destructive uploading, not *whether* you'd do so. Some people
> think that they'd be able to preserve themselves that way, but even
> those who don't should (and would!) undergo the process anyway, if
> only for altruism's sake.
> > > I wouldn't, for one second, believe that I was in any way getting a
> > to live on however, in this scenario. He's not me, he's someone else who
> > resembles me quite strongly, excepting that when he's alive, I'll be
> > which I feel, personally, is a significant difference.
> Fine, fine. But (and this was my point) what does it *matter*, since
> you're making the same choice as someone who *did* think that they
>were preserving themselves?
> It seems to me that this philosophical distinction changes nothing
> more than what we *call* this scenario (self-preservation/altruism)
> and how we'll feel about it.
> Now, with that said, maybe that's reason enough to say that it
> matters. But *that* question feels pretty trivial, at least to me.

I think these points of view are not equivalent. Particularly, I think there
are more moderate scenarios (give up the rest of your life even though you
are healthy, to let an upload live instead), in which behaviour is not
equivalent. If I though it would be *me* going into the machine, I'd go for
it (selfish), but if I thought it would be someone like me who is not me;
they can bite me (altruism, or lack of). So it is not clear that we would
choose destructive upload whether identically, given different motives.

For example, if I thought there was a way to reliably get into silicon right
now, which involved destruction of my body, I'd do it.

Emlyn James O'Regan - Managing Director
Wizards of AU
"Australian IT Wizards - US Technology Leaders
Pure International Teleworking in the Global Economy"

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