Re: relativism vs equivalidity

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Tue Nov 13 2001 - 11:15:34 MST

Anders Sandberg <> wrote:

I still can't come to grips with your view that it is OK to destroy
entities that disregard the life-wish of others even when they are no
threats to you.

### The main reason I have for adopting this position is that minds who do
not abhor destruction of innocent minds are a murder waiting to happen - in
contrast to those who have strong inner prohibitions against killing, such
minds will not hesitate to kill whenever the situation is right, there is
something to be gained from murder and the police (or other external
controlling agencies) are busy elsewhere.


It seems somewhat inconsistent: you respect the life-wish of everyone - regardless of their mental states - except a certain subset defined by their ethics.

### Certain mental states put you beyond the pale - I do regard mental states as the basic characteristic worthy or unworthy of respect. The elements of the mental state referred to as ethics are the most important ones.

---- But that is a limited respect of the life-wish (after all, even those ignoring it in others have it themselves),

### Don't forget your respect for the lives of others is also limited - you feel justified in killing a person trying to slash your throat. If you had an unlimited respect for life-wish, you would not be able to rationally decide whether the attacker's life is more or less important than yours. The limits that I choose to observe are, in my opinion, the most compatible with my long-term survival, because if implemented, they would limit aggression against non-aggressors, probably even better than the more pacifistic position you espouse.


if it was extended further you would yourself fall into the category of people whose life-wish should not be respected. In fact, it is not obvious that you are already in that category.

#### Since I would under no circumstances willingly kill an innocent person, I am by definition innocent myself, and my life-wish should be respected.

----- Would you respect the life-wish of someone who respected the life-wish of everybody, except the life-wish of some small ethical subset like (say) scientologists?

### As I said before, the rule I recognize is "Innocent life-wish must not be thwarted" - no less, no more. This rule should not be subject to "conceptual creep", the slow deformation to fit another agenda. If I define "innocent = respecting innocent life-wish", which is a largely self-referential definition, I cannot start redefining this concept using arbitrary external data, like being a scientologist, or else the construction will unravel. Denying rights to those who would not respect my rights does not reduce my chances of survival - I cannot expect mercy from those who by their very nature can have none, and I need not be merciful to them. On the other hand, denying rights to those who would respect my rights is likely to diminish my chances - an honest scientologist will not kill me, except if he thinks I would kill him.

A scientologist is likely to be confused, likely brainwashed or nuts, possibly evil. The first traits are not a reason to be killed (at most committed for treatment, if there is a risk that innocent persons might be inadvertently harmed), the other trait, being evil (evil= willing to disregard the life-wishes of innocent minds) is covered in the basic Life Rule. There is no need to distort the basic moral axiom to cover all that is wrong with scientologists, and it is wrong to harm innocent people, even if they happen to be environmentalists, or worse.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:19 MDT