Re: Can I kill the original?

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Tue May 09 2000 - 12:34:51 MDT

Any "Dan Fabulich" <> wrote:

> > You haven't explained how my goals are acheived with your system. You
> > 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
> goal.

This is the problem that this discussion usually degrades into. You don't
really believe that deep down I believe what I say I do. You are therefore
not debating with me, but with a strawman viewpoint that you think will make
your point better. However, when I read your point, it doesn't directly
apply to my discussion, and we end up talking past each other. (It has been
interesting and thought-provocing anyway!)

> 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.)

You should be able to predict my answers, but you won't like them. I can
only answer from my belief system, not yours.

1. The old Harvey Newstrom would object, if he were still alive. He would
have object right up to the point of death (or "stunting") if he is no
longer alive.

2. The new Harvey Newstrom would be glad to be alive. He would feel sorry
that the old Harvey Newstrom was murdered. He would hope that a similar
fate doesn't befall him.

3. The fact that I can't prove a crime happened doesn't mean it never
happened or it wasn't a crime. Even if I can't prove that I am the
original, I still believe that all copies should live. Thus, it doesn't
matter if I am the original or a copy, my viewpoint is the same: Don't kill
this instance of me, it wants to live forever.

> 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?

In my view, the two copies (original and replacement) are separate
individuals. The new copy would not feel murdered just because you killed
the old copy. They are separate people. The new copy might even be glad
that it was that "other guy" who got killed instead of himself.

Harvey Newstrom <>
IBM Certified Senior Security Consultant,  Legal Hacker, Engineer, Research
Scientist, Author.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:10:55 MDT