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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>
wrote:

>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.

--
Jer
"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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