X-Message-Number: 2821
From:  (Thomas Donaldson)
Subject: CRYONICS:more.on.values
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 09:15:37 -0700 (PDT)

Hi again!

This note is written in response to further discussion of values es on 
Cryonet by both Robert Ettinger and others.

As I pointed out in my last messages, the real issue (to me) behind this
discussion --- certainly the reason why I wrote a reply to Ettinger's
first message --- was not because of my objections to theories of how 
people come to have their values, but instead to the problem of whether
or not it's ever possible to argue that someone should or ought to have
one set of values rather than another.

It seems to me that no amount of theory concerning the ORIGIN of values
can bear on this question, whether or not the theory is valid. Just 
because everyone else in the universe has one set of basic values it
simply doesn't follow that someone should concur. Perhaps his or her
values are superior, and the rest of the universe should listen. And
if values come from our basic physiology, and that from our genetics,
without testing the results of those values we have no way of deciding
(even) whether or not this deviant individual has values which give
him/her a superior survival ability.

I will also point out that such an argument seems in conflict with 
our ideas about immortalism, since after all we remain in a very small 

I'm not making  these comments out of a desire that  Ettinger and 
the others in this discussion should fail. On the contrary, it is a
major problem in libertarian philosophy as I see it: if we believe
that every adult has a right to act however they wish so long as they
do not harm others, we have to deal with many cases of people who
quite clearly act as they do because of injuries to their brain, or
chemical disfunctions of their brain cells --- things that can be
shown to be PROVABLY the consequence of physical conditions---
which lead such people to act (as we would see it) so as to injure
or even kill themselves. Ssasz of course would claim that we should
simply let such people do as they wish, but that isn't really a
satisfying suggestion, especially when the person is someone whom
we care about for other  reasons. And even politically, it suggests
that anyone who could PRODUCE such conditions in others has not
acted to their detriment and should be allowed to continue his/her

In practical terms, of course, this problem may vanish so long as we
allow only LOGICALLY CONSISTENT value systems as those an individual
may follow. But I would like to see Ettinger succeed --- though my
own understanding of the problem makes me think that he has not 
succeeded at all.

Long long life,

		Thomas Donaldson

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