Re: Sincere Questions on Identity

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Thu Dec 13 2001 - 11:24:10 MST

> > You're the one looking at the other guy. The other guy is looking at you.
> > Can't be that hard, can it?
> I agree. Just because the world can't detect the difference doesn't mean
> there isn't one.

I beg to differ: what cannot be measured /doesn't exist/. If it is,
in principle, impossible for anyone to determine which of two lumps
of matter is made from the same atoms as some earlier lump of matter
and which wasn't, then the difference cannot matter to anyone, and
anyone who cares which is which is being irrational.

It may well be that some aspects of our culture and law /will/ care,
when it comes to things like rights and legal identities. But if there
really is no way to tell, then the choice really is arbitrary, and
the social constuctions that care should be rethought. I suspect that
in practice, scientists will wimp out and install "tags" to identify
such things, just as they put dopants into lab-created gems so they
can be distinguished from mined gems, because irrational people care
about the difference.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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