What do you think is you?
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19-05-2014, 08:44 AM
What do you think is you?
If a brilliant surgeon with an unusual sense of humour transplanted your brain to a different body, so that the new body behaved just like the old one but simply looked different, would that still be you?

In other words, what is it about you that makes you you? Your physical person? Your abstract persona? Neither? Both? Both and something else?

Cheers!
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19-05-2014, 09:04 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 08:44 AM)living thing Wrote:  If a brilliant surgeon with an unusual sense of humour transplanted your brain to a different body, so that the new body behaved just like the old one but simply looked different, would that still be you?

In other words, what is it about you that makes you you? Your physical person? Your abstract persona? Neither? Both? Both and something else?

Cheers!

I am my unique set of neurochemicals and electrical impulses that allow me to perceive the universe through various sensory input. In a different body, I would still be "me." People receive transplants, artificial limbs, facial reconstruction, etc. and remain the "same" person.

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19-05-2014, 09:24 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
I've got a surgical team like that already on retainer but we're having trouble locating a suitable body. The residents of living bodies can't be persuaded to leave, and all the reasonably fresh corpses have lethal damage. It's frustrating.

I don't think there's any question that the locus of identity is the mind. Anything that affects or alters the mind shifts personality, even if only temporarily. Phineas Gage is a classic case of a personality literally blown into a new state by a dynamite tamping rod.

To me a more interesting question is this: are you the same you that you were thirty years ago? That you were when you were born? To me the answers to both those questions is an obvious no, but when I asked a friend that question he emphatically declared that "who he was" hadn't changed at all in over 70 years.

If we sat down and drew up a list of the components we consider our identity, I wonder how much difference there'd be between lists: how much would be ineffable psychology and how much would be attributes of anatomy. How much would be the cast of culture?

Anyway, to answer your question, I'd say the essence of personality would be transferred intact, but within hours or days and extending across the remaining years of life the new anatomy would make itself felt and shift the personality accordingly. You couldn't take a 60 year old mind and put it into a 25 year old body without SOME changes to personality.
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19-05-2014, 09:38 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
I don't know enough biology to answer that.

I do know that our minds are heavily influenced by chemicals that our body produces, some continuously and some on special occasions.

There is a constant back and forth between the glands and the brain.

What if the new body has glands that function on different levels? Will that not affect my brain?

We do know that individuals produce different levels of these chemicals, hence we have drugs that stimulate/imitate some of these chemicals.

Consciousness is in the brain and that is all you need to be conscious, but whether you act like your old self is another story I think.

Someone with more knowledge may want to weigh in on this, like one of our docs...

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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19-05-2014, 10:22 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
Hello Jeffasaurus, how's that Jurassic going?

(19-05-2014 09:04 AM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  I am my unique set of neurochemicals and electrical impulses that allow me to perceive the universe through various sensory input. In a different body, I would still be "me." People receive transplants, artificial limbs, facial reconstruction, etc. and remain the "same" person.
I think I understand what you mean, and I view it pretty much the same way.

Of course, my perceptions might be slightly altered if the new body's sensitive capabilities were slightly different, and some of the physical traits that I may have attached to my personality might not be applicable in the new body; my personality would undoubtedly change if I underwent such an operation, but as long as my brain kept behaving in the same way as it behaves now, I think I would still be me.

Is that more or less what you mean by "the 'same' person"?

Thanks!
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19-05-2014, 10:27 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 09:24 AM)Airportkid Wrote:  I've got a surgical team like that already on retainer but we're having trouble locating a suitable body. The residents of living bodies can't be persuaded to leave, and all the reasonably fresh corpses have lethal damage. It's frustrating.
Hmmm, I can see where you might find problems. Now, where could you find suicidal people? Have you tried recruiting them from a minority cult? Then again, you might as well offer exchanges of bodies; that might be fun for a while and if you do provide an alternative destination for the residents, they may be more likely to accept the offer.

Back to the thread's topic, I think we view it similarly. Thanks for sharing your view.

Have a nice one!
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19-05-2014, 10:30 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 10:27 AM)living thing Wrote:  Then again, you might as well offer exchanges of bodies

Nice for trans-sexuals. Smile

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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19-05-2014, 10:53 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 09:38 AM)Dom Wrote:  I don't know enough biology to answer that.

(...)

Someone with more knowledge may want to weigh in on this, like one of our docs...
And I'm looking forward to their contributions. Meanwhile, I also find yours very interesting; I don't think anyone is better equipped than anyone else to say what they think is themselves.

Your caution is very appropriate. The premise (that a brilliant surgeon could transplant your brain to a different body in such a way that its behaviour remained unchanged) is quite far-fetched. I don't think anyone can extract a functioning brain from a body and insert it in a different body without changing its behaviour in multiple ways.

If I were to answer the question I originally posted, I would say I am both; I am my structure and my behaviours, but my behaviours stem from my structure. If you change my structure, my behaviours will most likely be changed too. That is why I have changed over the years, as my structure has changed.

But then again, if my brain woke up one morning in a different body and caused it to look at itself in the mirror, I think the lips and tongue would move to say "Wow! That face looks different" rather than "Wow! That brain feels different". So even despite my change, I am still me. Do you know what I mean?

I would say there is a real part of us (the arrangement of matter in our bodies) and an abstract part of us encompassed by our behaviours. When our lives (the processes through which we extract information from our surroundings and use it to prevent the decay of our real parts) reach an end, the real part of us may keep existing for a while because our disassembly can take a long time, but the virtual part ceases occurring; our dead bodies behave like any other lifeless structure and without any of the unique traits of our living personality.

Thanks for stopping by, Dom. Enjoy!
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19-05-2014, 10:56 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 10:30 AM)Dom Wrote:  
(19-05-2014 10:27 AM)living thing Wrote:  Then again, you might as well offer exchanges of bodies

Nice for trans-sexuals. Smile
Have you ever considered what our societies might be like if human beings had been hermaphrodites?
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19-05-2014, 11:21 AM
RE: What do you think is you?
(19-05-2014 10:53 AM)living thing Wrote:  But then again, if my brain woke up one morning in a different body and caused it to look at itself in the mirror, I think the lips and tongue would move to say "Wow! That face looks different" rather than "Wow! That brain feels different". So even despite my change, I am still me. Do you know what I mean?

I think that would be a horrific adjustment pahese. Your body will not respond to your brain in the same way.

When you change a fundamental part of what the brain is used to doing, it causes issues.

Like when you lose a long term life partner, your brain will want to keep going through the same processes it used to when your partner was alive, like putting out two knives and forks instead of one and a zillion other things.

Every time the brain runs into such an inconsistency, it triggers emotional responses. There is no way you can control this.

I imagine having to get used to a different body would send you through the same paces. A lot of the brain functions are ingrained, because you have done the same thing the same way of a very long time. Each time these "routine functions" fail or get a new, different response, you get some sort of a jolt and the brain needs to regroup and re-organize.

I do think consciousness resides in the brain. But much of the function of the brain is not conscious until it runs into an obstacle.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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