Re: Identity

Void where inhibited (
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 11:05:00 -0500 (EST)

On Sun, 22 Nov 1998, E. Shaun Russell wrote:

> Whoa there. Your post was great until this point. As you say, the
> two identical twins are indeed *two different humans* with the same genetic
> makeup. However, as soon as awareness (in any capacity) occurs, the
> cognitive processes become --as John Clark said in his initial post--
> slightly different than each other. Therefore, to kill one would mean
> killing a being that is not *identical* to the other. However, the level
> of consciousness of each twin *would* be almost identical to each other and
> would ultimately mean killing a being that is conscious. So truly, the
> question of ethics surpasses the genetic becomes a
> question of killing something that is conscious. True, the level of
> consciousness of a newborn (or two...four is right out!) would be nowhere
> near as complex as a mature human, but it would be conscious nonetheless.
> So the next question is this: how developed must the consciousness be
> before the killing would be considered murder?

I think you misunderstood me there. I was speaking at that point in the post from the point of view of someone (Clark, perhaps?) who thinks that killing one copy is perfectly fine during that instant where the two copies are the same.

I disagree with this evaluation. If the copy doesn't want to die, then it doesn't matter that it's perfectly identical to the other copy. It doesn't want to die, so killing it is bad. If it DOES want to die, as we might expect under some circumstances, then killing it is fine.