13 December 2011

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Making everybody like ourselves

Dear Friends,
Just in case I won't find a wifi connection from Holland, I am sending email for Sunday today.
This Sunday we are discussing: Making everybody like ourselves (in our own image).
We certainly, want others to do what we want, or to do things that benefit us. And the idea of
beings created in the image of another being is, of course, not new. But the case we are most
familiar with we associate the resulting beings as an inferior copy of the original being.
The question is whether we can really create or make others in our images. Now, whether by design,
chance or the way nature work, we find mythology, in the form of religion, claiming that we are made
in the image of god, but a rather imperfect image of god. And from cloning technology, and more
directly, from Dolly the sheep, we know that a clone of another animal would not be logically
equivalent to the original animal. Dolly, if you remember, inherited the aged conditions of its clone.
From an anthropological point of view, it would be interesting to know how the mythology is
confirmed by science: in the same way that science confirms those race/religious beliefs that
dependency travels via the female branch: biologically this would be the mitochondria.
The philosophical issues might include: Can we physically make someone who is logically equivalent
to us? And if we can, can we then distinguish the original us and the made up us? Would the Turing
test be enough?
Or could it be that what we really mean by making someone in our image, or like ourselves, is making
someone who can fulfil our wishes and desires. In other words we want someone to do those things for
us which we cannot do ourselves. In a round about way, this brings us to the same question about
mythology, but maybe in an inverted order (maybe think of a Möbius strip or a mirror image here
although they are not the same thing!). We want to create clones like us because they represent what
we cannot achieve, i.e. live longer than our biological capacity? And by the same token, we create
perfect gods because we recognise that we are the ultimate creatures of imperfection and devoid of
ethical consistently?
But then again, we know apriori that a biological clone wouldn't live that much longer in the scheme
of things, even if a clone manages to live longer than us. And the theological/anthropological
challenge would be whether our image of our gods is itself inherently flawed by virtue that it is
our conceptual creation and therefore it inherits our conceptual flaws; in the same that the genes
of a close would inherit the flaws in our genes.
Best, see you Sunday,

Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
In the meantime Ignacio has reminded me to let you know about the new arrangements for the Thursday
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Making everybody like ourselves

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