humanity and the self, operational definitions

Anton Sherwood (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 06:16:53 -0700 (PDT)

Geoff Smith:
: > Obviously, your definition of a person is not useful
: > for an outside observer.

John Clark:
: I disagree, if a chunk of matter acts in a John Clark-ish way
: then it is John Clark.

Can any definition be more useful for an outside observer?

: > With this philosophy, I assume you judge a person by a clean-slate
: > policy? Do you think people are not responsible for past actions
: > because it doesn't matter how they got to be the way they are, it's
: > just the way they are now?
: No, if I'm a serial killer then so is my copy.
: I wish nothing had to suffer, ever, not even evil men, after all they
: suffer just as intently as a good man. Unfortunately that's not possible
: and evil men must be punished, but there are only 2 reason that I can find
: to justify that, to keep the person from committing more evil acts and as
: a deterrent for others. That is justice, more than that is vengeance.

You've given me an idea for a story. A multiple murderer, before being
caught, gets himself cured of whatever drove him to kill. But he owes
a fortune in wergild, far more than the present value of his expected
lifetime earnings. Failure to pay will make him an outlaw. So he
has himself copied, and the debt is distributed among the copies.
Plot complications ensue.

I wish Vinge had raised the question of assigning liability
for a Tines pack's debts and torts when the pack is split up.

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*