Re: Can I kill the original?

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 23:01:30 MDT

Harvey Newstrom charged:

> Another "Dan Fabulich" <> wrote:
> > Yes, I see that you want full access to all parts of your consciousness,
> > and that one consciousness stream does not have full access to the other.
> >
> > The problem here is that you're not quite playing my game. Under my
> > definition, you DO have access to every part of yourself, and you DO think
> > to yourself that "I think therefore I am." "You," under my definition, DO
> > have access to every consciousness stream that is you, DESPITE the fact
> > that some of your parts aren't aware of the others, because "you" are the
> > set containing ALL of the consciousness streams.
> You are now redefining the word self to mean multiple, disconnected
> entities. This does not preserve my concept of self. This merely requires
> me to restate my goals using the new terms. Instead of making my "self"
> immortal, I now need to state that I want to make those portions of my
> "self" that I can access immortal, and ignore those portions of my "self"
> that I cannot access. Any system that deletes the portions of the "self"
> that I can access and only saves those portions of the "self" that I cannot
> access deprives me access to my "self" which is exactly what I want to
> avoid.

Actually, this translation isn't very good, since you made use of the word
"I" in a way that my definition wouldn't endorse, since, under my
definition, "self" and "I" to refer to the copy set, not to any particular
consciousness stream. But nonetheless, I see how such a translation would
go, so I won't nitpick the point further.

> You haven't explained how my goals are acheived with your system. You have
> merely relabelled your system to use the terms that I use. (Freedom is
> slavery!) My goals are still incompatible with your system. If you
> redefine the terms, I will just have to restate my goals using different
> terms again.

True. As I have suggested in a variety of disclaimers, if you're
committed to this goal intrinsically, then there's no convincing you.
However, I'd expected that you DIDN'T hold this goal intrinsically, but
only extrinsically, that is, you hold it in light of some other beliefs
that you have, so if those beliefs turned out to be false, you'd drop the

If preserving control over this consciousness stream is your totally
intrinsic goal, then nothing I can say will dissuade you. However, it IS
worth pointing out that, if your beliefs about what constitutes "death"
and the "self" are wrong, then, as far as I can tell, your goal is totally
unmotivated; there is no reason whatsoever to follow it. Granted, this is
a perfectly fine property for an intrinsic goal to have; intrinsic goals
don't NEED external motivations. But it makes me wary, personally. It
makes me wonder if there isn't some sleight of mind at work.

> That is my definition of death. But let me try to be clear: I do not want
> to avoid death. I want to avoid having my current consciousness stream end.
> If that is not death, than I don't mind death. For example, I don't mind
> dying, being cryogenically frozen, and then reanimated. Maybe I died, but
> my consciousness stream still continued.

So, taking a cue from John Clark, just how upset would you be if you found
out that your consciousness stream had already been stunted? In
particular, suppose I told you that in the middle of the night last night,
someone replaced your regular brand Newstrom with a copy brewed from
Harvey freeze-dried crystals. (By assumption, if nobody told you that
this had gone on, you'd never know.)

As you can guess, I wouldn't mind this a bit if it happened to me. And
while I think most of us would certainly find this state to be a little
odd, it seems to me that, if this goal is all that important to you, you'd
probably be pretty upset to find out that this had happened. Would you?

Would you feel any more or less upset if I instead told you that someone
had made a copy of you and then killed him?


      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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