X-Message-Number: 14241
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 2000 09:25:00 -0400
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: happiness and "quantitative identity"

A further comment on the "quantitative view of identity":

It's clear that some levels of identity are those we wish to actively
preserve, and others are not. Assuming that identity is quantitative
does help some thoughts about that side of identity.

However I doubt that many people are interested at all in preserving
ALL those levels. Whether that makes it a useful concept remains to
be seen.

However one central point I will make here is that happiness is NOT
a good criterion for just what we want preserved and what not. If
that's all we want, then getting drunk permanently on a happiness
drug would satisfy us fine. Some painful things we WANT to preserve.
Some happy memories, too, but happiness itself is not a condition
anyone really wants to aim for, for the simple reason that it 
means nothing at all OBJECTIVE. We have many aims for how we want
to change our world, our personal world and the world in general.
Yes, we may feel happy for a time when we achieve a big step toward
one of those aims. That is the biological purpose of happiness. But
it is the aims, and both our failures and successes in achieving 
them, that really matter. Talking about happiness as if it too
is an aim is not only biologically wrong, but papers on the real
problem of thinking out just what to aim for and what not, as
an individual.

As for a "quantitative view of identity" Dave Pizer brought up the
central problem. The notion may be accurate, but how does it apply
to OUR situation?

		Best wishes and long long life to all,

			Thomas Donaldson

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