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Personhood and Crazy Neurosurgeons

WriterDave
Posts: 934
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3/28/2012 2:28:19 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Note that the word person is used here in a moral context; it refers to a living entity with a moral right to live.

Please consider your answer to each question before moving to the next one.

Scenario 1: At time t, person W, a male who calls himself William and who is driving down the highway with his wife, gets into a terrible accident. He is taken to the hospital; a short time later he is pronounced brain dead, beyond any hope of recovery.

That night, a team of crazy neurosurgeons enter W's room, where his body is being kept alive mechanically; they remove his dead brain and install a new, living one.

The next day, at time t+1, the body that belonged to W at time t wakes up and tells the surprised doctors and family that his name is Kayleigh, his last memory is of being in a car with his husband, and what happened to his breasts?

1) Does person W still exist at time t+1?

2) If not, at what point did W cease to exist?


Scenario 2: Meanwhile, also at time t, person K, who calls herself Kayleigh, is driving in a car with her husband when she is in a car accident; her injuries are not severe, but she does have to spend the night in the hospital for observation.

That night, a team of crazy neuroscientists enter K's room, extract her brain, destroy the rest of her body, take her brain to another room and implant it into the body of another person without a brain. The brain is kept alive mechanically all through the transfer.

The brain's next waking experiences are of waking up, seeing a number of very surprised people looking at its body, calling it William, saying it's incredible, we didn't think you would ever wake up, and what do you mean what happened to your breasts?

3) Does person K still exist at time t+1?

4) If not, at what point did person K cease to exist?


Scenario 3: Same as Scenarios 1 and 2, except that this does not take place on the planet Earth, but on the planet Qo'nos; and W and K are not William and Kayleigh, but Worf and K'Ehleyr.

5) Does that change any of your answers? Why or why not?
Writer. Liberal atheist. Official "Official of the FREEDO Bureaucracy" of the FREEDO Bureaucracy.

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WriterDave
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3/28/2012 5:56:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think I'm person D, a male who calls himself Dave, has never been hospitalized, has never been the subject of a brain transplant, and who is not Klingon. So I don't know which question that answers.
Writer. Liberal atheist. Official "Official of the FREEDO Bureaucracy" of the FREEDO Bureaucracy.

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"I said you are a fake, a phony, and a fraud, but that doesn't mean I think you're putting on an act." --Innomen
WriterDave
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3/28/2012 6:03:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I always thought you needed help, SS. Just not for that reason. :-) So what's your response to my questions?
Writer. Liberal atheist. Official "Official of the FREEDO Bureaucracy" of the FREEDO Bureaucracy.

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Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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3/28/2012 7:22:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It all depends on what parts of our body you rope the word "I" around.

You can define "I" as your corporeal body, your brain, your "mind," your forebrain, your incorporeal soul, the universe (talk to eastern philosophers bout that one), part of the mind (think of how addiction therapists couch their terms in "you versus your addiction" or other divisions of the self), etc.

Which among that arbitrary list you choose determines your answers. Problems answering those questions arise from conflating definitions of "self" (such as in one sentence defining "I" as corporeal self and in another "I" is the soul.)
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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3/28/2012 7:51:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/28/2012 7:22:00 PM, Wnope wrote:
It all depends on what parts of our body you rope the word "I" around.

You can define "I" as your corporeal body, your brain, your "mind," your forebrain, your incorporeal soul, the universe (talk to eastern philosophers bout that one), part of the mind (think of how addiction therapists couch their terms in "you versus your addiction" or other divisions of the self), etc.

Which among that arbitrary list you choose determines your answers. Problems answering those questions arise from conflating definitions of "self" (such as in one sentence defining "I" as corporeal self and in another "I" is the soul.)

This.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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3/28/2012 8:00:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
1. No.

2. Most likely at or shortly after the accident, this is an empirical question.

3. Yes

5. Why the hell would that matter?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
WriterDave
Posts: 934
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3/28/2012 11:35:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/28/2012 7:51:53 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 3/28/2012 7:22:00 PM, Wnope wrote:
It all depends on what parts of our body you rope the word "I" around.

You can define "I" as your corporeal body, your brain, your "mind," your forebrain, your incorporeal soul, the universe (talk to eastern philosophers bout that one), part of the mind (think of how addiction therapists couch their terms in "you versus your addiction" or other divisions of the self), etc.

Which among that arbitrary list you choose determines your answers. Problems answering those questions arise from conflating definitions of "self" (such as in one sentence defining "I" as corporeal self and in another "I" is the soul.)

This.

Cool.

So what are YOUR answers, guys?
Writer. Liberal atheist. Official "Official of the FREEDO Bureaucracy" of the FREEDO Bureaucracy.

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"I said you are a fake, a phony, and a fraud, but that doesn't mean I think you're putting on an act." --Innomen
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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3/29/2012 7:47:25 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/28/2012 7:22:00 PM, Wnope wrote:
It all depends on what parts of our body you rope the word "I" around.

You can define "I" as your corporeal body, your brain, your "mind," your forebrain, your incorporeal soul, the universe (talk to eastern philosophers bout that one), part of the mind (think of how addiction therapists couch their terms in "you versus your addiction" or other divisions of the self), etc.

Which among that arbitrary list you choose determines your answers. Problems answering those questions arise from conflating definitions of "self" (such as in one sentence defining "I" as corporeal self and in another "I" is the soul.)

You can define anything as anything. But the perpose is to define things that actually describe a reality. Or you are not defining anything but the what a set of physical symbols(words) another word refers to. I think your concsious mind is the best bet on what we are. An addiction Could be considered you unconscious motivations.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL