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4ll4n0
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I would have thought the main significance of twinning would be that it shows that any simplistic definition of when human personal/moral identity (life) begins is deeply problematic, if it occurs any time after the moment of conception whether a second or two week (or after whatever point someone might specify such as the production of a gamete that goes on to contribute DNA to a fertilized egg etc.). Those who believe life (meaning a human identity) always begins at conception full stop (what I take to be the more usual simple view), must either revise that premise or take on some compensatory set of beliefs that seem inevitably doomed to be odd by conventional standards. They might rather than deny that life begins at conception conclude that twins are the same person, or that twinning results in the death of the life that began at conception, or that some single zygotes are two distinct beings or some other alternative. I think the alternatives that I listed and all others that can be suggested while permissible by the terms of deductive logic (personal identity has never been a logical property since we are never logically identical to ourselves at different moments in time) are all deeply unattractive to most people. So even if continue to believe that an identity is established at conception they are forced to complicate there view to accommodate the existence of twinning (that does not occur concurrently with conception), at least for the case of twins (even if no new consequences manifests for non-twin related situations). Forced to so complicate their view it seems holders of naive views may be more psychologically, rhetorically and rationally receptive or otherwise liable to arguments for other ways to define personal identity than a simple biological continuity. How much any of this matters depends on what background assumptions the audience of the argument holds about personal identity, twinning only matters given certain assumptions. Even when it matters it may be more illustrative that more nuanced principles of identity are required than simply that one's life begins at conception. It need not be logically sufficient to compel that conclusion.
Of course this is an old idea, for example in 1979 Saturday Night Live did a sketch taking on this very premise (although the Sketch occurs within the frame of a TV show where scenarios to answer what if questions are dramatized and commented upon by experts, a double fiction) with Superman or "Uberman" (Klaus Kent) played by Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi as Jor-el, Bill Murray as German pa Kent and Michael Palin as Hitler. Klaus Kent has a crisis of conscious when he comes upon a plot to kill Hitler, but after considering the advice of both Jor-El (urging him not to interfere in mankind's destiny) and his German adopted father (reminding him of various ultra-nationalist sentiments), he concludes he must fight for untruth, injustice and the Nazi way, with horrendous results for Nazi Germans enemies. The panel speculates that the Americans would have developed a Kryptonite bomb in time to dispatch Uberman. This was done in January of 1979 and so Jor-el is imagined in the Brando manner of the 1978 film. I am not sure if SNL did it first. They might have done it best though?
I read the sample chapter and thanks to Amazon's preview the Intro. It looks fun. Checking the index I'm disappointed that my favourite (honorary) Avenger, Rick Jones, is only mentioned twice. I look forward to the all Squirrel Girl volume 2. ;)
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Mar 2, 2012