Re: relativism vs equivalidity

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 05:17:59 MST

Wei Dai offered some comments on the differences between "moral
relativism" and "moral equivalidity", concluding with:

> There are many ways to break the apparent symmetry between
> moralities. My personal favorite is to use the indexical
> fact that I am me, and simply accept my own moral system as
> privileged above all others.

I think it may also be argued that one may also distinguish based
on the "purpose" for which the system was created. This goes back
to the Burch-Bradbury debate on whether or not you can eliminate
the substrate on which your copies run.

I suspect that the Sandberg-Burch camp would argue that conscious
entitites that are moral actors have an inherent set of rights
which extend up to the point where actions infringe on the rights
of other moral actors.

However for me to "hold" the logical contradiction that I consider
it to be "moral" to create and use laboratory mice for medical
research purposes but "immoral" to allow ones cat outside where
its raison-d'etre is to non-painlessly kill mice that do not
normally interfere with my rights I have to look at the "purpose"
for which the mice were created. (Others might argue that mice
are not conscious moral actors and so they have no rights, but
I suspect that the range of rights that specific actors *should*
have is much more continuous spectrum than we currently grant
because of our currently limited understanding of consciousness).

The fact that I may construct simulation hardware, create copies
that run on it and terminate the simulation when I've obtained
the desired results of the experiment seems moral to me. I
suspect that to Anders & Greg this is immoral because my
equivalent selves obtain equivalent moral actor status the
second I've started them running.

It seems that the only logical way out of this is that once
you discover you are running in a simulation you accept the
fact that your moral actor rights are subject to the rights
of the simulation creator. I.e. the simulation creator's
moral system supercedes your own.


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