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machine brains

Jerry Hull ZZZghull at stny.lrun.com
Wed Feb 17 10:38:01 EST 1999

On Wed, 17 Feb 1999 12:50:32 +0000, The Walrus <the_walrus at BLOCK.bigfoot.com>

>Ray Scanlon wrote:
>> In other words, all the organisms on the face of
>> the earth are survivalists. The DNA that wasn't able to construct an
>> organism that would fight to survive is just not with us anymore.
>I get a feeling you'll have a hard time explaining Mohatma Ghandi, here ;)

The fallacious conclusion you criticize is a consequence of not distinguishing
between the factors involved in causing a desire to come into existence
(survival of the fittest, &c.), and the content of specific desires (e.g.,
sympathy for others, fairness, &c.).  This will be the inevitable consequence
of views which fail to separate teleology (however you wish to name it) and
purposiveness.  The surprising-but-true fact is that there IS a selfish
advantage to non-selfishness.  See P. Kitcher's VAULTING AMBITION for some
helpful clarity on the subject.

"However far you may travel in this world, you will still occupy 
the same volume of space".  Traditional Ur-Bororo saying.

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