John Weidner brings it again!

John Weidner brings it again! He writes:

Okay, It seems like you are rejecting all arguments based on future developements. (Seems a bit extreme, most legal or moral prohibitions are somewhat like that. One dose of heroin won’t hurt you at all. )

SO. just Wilk and mini-wilk. Hmmm.

1. Not good for Wilk morally and spiritually. The essence of being a parent is a sort of sacrifice of health, wealth and probably sanity (You think I’m kiddin’, wait until YOU have 3 kids !!) in favor of future generations. By trying to preserve the you of here-and-now, you are rejecting an important human responsibility, to your spiritual detriment. (You probably have some argument why “morally and spiritually” don’t really exist, but that’s what gives philosophers a bad name.
Lke Dr Johnson, “I refute it thus!” Oooch, ouch, I think I broke my toe.)

2. Not good psychologically for mini-wilk. Part of the process of growth for chiildren is rebelling against parents, and rejecting their ideas to try one’s own. Poor mini–you the “parent” will know his thought processes like they are your own, and he will never quite be his own person.

I’m certainly not rejecting all arguments based on future developments. I remain unmoved, however, by arguments based on extremely improbable future developments.

As to the Will/mini-Will arguments….

1. I don’t really understand the argument (probably because I have yet to sire a brood.) Anyway, my intention in cloning myself is not self-preservation. I wish to conduct a fascinating experiment. I’d love to see just how much being me has to do with having my genes, and how much has to do with the totally unrepeatable particulars of my history and experience. And I promise to love mini-Will for his own sake. I certainly do not discount the moral and spiritual. No need to hurt your toe! Morality is about doing what you have to do to have a nice life, and I want a nice life! Spirituality has to do with the needs of a complex human consciousness. I like to tend to these needs through the satisfactions of art, love and intellection. (Religion and mysticism leave me spiritually cold, though.) I think raising mini-Will could be a spiritual experience.

2. Individuation is certainly key to maturation. But will I really know so much about mini-Will’s internal world? From day one, he will inhabit a radically different developmental environment from mine, and so he will develop in response to a very different set of experiences. In the right circumstances, a Hitler clone could grow up to be a rabbi! In any case, the “too similar psychologically” argument could go either way. Perhaps I will be able to empathize with mini-Will in an unusually close way, and be able to offer him a kind of understanding and support that most parents can never manage with the aliens that are their children.

Thanks, John, for your thoughtful replies.

Author: Will Wilkinson

Vice President for Research at the Niskanen Center