Extropian ethics (was: Re: sentient rights)

From: Damien Broderick (d.broderick@english.unimelb.edu.au)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 21:42:15 MST

At 04:34 PM 2/21/02 -0800, Hal wrote:

>But then for each of us there will come times when we are tested and
>tempted. You find someone's wallet with money in it... Then you have
>to decide whether your ethical system is just about you, or about the
>world as a whole.

Yeah, it's odd. I must be a crypto deontologist, via residual childhood
programming, although I tell myself I'm a rule utilitarian. A former
grrlfriend once informed me merrily about an acquaintance who, I dunno,
somehow activated an ATM withdrawal with the wrong PIN and got several
hundred dollars, which she kept; my friend made it clear she'd do the same
in a trice. I was taken aback.

`You mean some poor anonymous bugger lost some of their savings, and you'd
do the same thing?'

`Oh geddalife, the bank would compensate the original owner.'

`Of course they wouldn't, why would they believe it had been an error? I
mean, Jesus, if you found a *wallet* outside the bank and had the chance to
run off with several hundred bucks, would you do so?'

`Of course I would. Are you mad?'

It was the beginning of the end for a beautiful relationship, now that I
look back on that moment...

Damien Broderick

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