Re: physical pain is bad (was Re: Dynamic ethics)

From: Philip Goetz (
Date: Tue Jan 24 2006 - 10:53:58 MST

On 1/23/06, Jeff Medina <> wrote:

> The second reply is a variation on the first, but requires more
> comment. Specifically, it holds up the *current* level of autonomy,
> intelligence, or rationality most humans exhibit as sacrosanct, an
> in-practice binary distinction between our level and that of "lesser"
> beings. But one of the key realizations leading to transhumanism is
> that there is nothing special or sacred about humans-as-they-are-now
> in and of itself. To claim the current level of rationality found in
> humans is the delineator for when we or any other higher beings should
> respect another being's choices/autonomy is to place yourself squarely
> in the Fukuyama/Kass camp of error.

Obviously I don't hold up the current human level of those things as
sacrosanct, since I said that the lion must have rights in a way
analagous to the way humans do.

If you don't give lower organisms autonomy, and if you micromanage the
entire environment, then you are going to end up organizing everything
towards your ends. It would make no sense to preserve any lower
species at all. Whatever they were naturally, you could redesign them
in a way that would be more directed towards your goals. None of this
"we're going to keep lions in a simulation!" crap. Either lower
organisms have some autonomy, some rights to resources, or we vaporize
them and turn Earth into a Jupiter brain, and There Can Be Only One.

- Phil

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